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Sunday 18 December 2011

A 50-Year Wait-01

Way back in 1962, I happened upon Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel Warlord of Mars. I’d already devoured several Tarzan novels, published by Four-Square at 2/6d. I read this, the third in the original Martian trilogy and was hooked. Then I bought the first in the series, A Princess of Mars and like many boys of my age, fell in love with Dejah Thoris. I still have this book in my collection:

At the time I used to draw bookmarks for my favourite books. Here’s the bookmark for A Princess of Mars, drawn in 1962.

The story of John Carter’s first visit to Mars was serialised in the February to July 1912 issues of All-Story Magazine, then entitled Under the Moons of Mars, as written by Norman Bean. Bean was the early penname of Burroughs, though he’d used Normal, rather than Norman, but it got screwed somehow. The full novel was first published in book form in 1917, after Burroughs’ phenomenal success with Tarzan.

Burroughs’ Martian adventures – all eleven of them – inspired the scientists Carl Sagan and Arthur C Clarke and novelists Ray Bradbury, Robert A Heinlein among many others.

At last, in 2012, an epic film entitled John Carter is being released – 100 years after the publication of the original story, and 100 years after the publication of Tarzan of the Apes. Indeed, 2012 could be Burroughs’ year, and deservedly so. Burroughs was born in 1875 and died in 1950. A crater on Mars is named in his honour.

John Carter trailer

John Carter fan site

Official ERB John Carter site


Thomas McNulty said...

Nice post - and I love the original bookmark. Brings back some fine memories when I discovered Burroughs in the late 1960s. Have a great Holiday!

Nik Morton said...

Thanks, Rob and the same to you too. Yes, Tom, you can't beat that thrill of discovery when an author new to you transports your imagination.
Holiday? What's that?

Nancy Curteman said...

I've always been a fan of Clarke, Sagan and Bradbury. Interesting to know Burroughs was their inspiration.

Nik Morton said...

Yes, indeed, Nancy. I'd recommend the monumental 2-volume biography of ERB by Irwin Porges, if you can get hold of it. It's crammed with photos, covers and many interesting facts.

Duane Spurlock said...

Nice bookmark, Nik!

Nik Morton said...

Thanks, Duane! Those were the days when I had time on hand to draw...!