The Martian Tales Trilogy is, as described, actually three books, now combined into a single volume. Comprised of A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars, all written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs is responsible for other classics such as Tarzan of the Apes.
Since the books in The Martian Tales Trilogy were published nearly a century ago, there’s nothing I could write that most likely hasn’t already been said. It is my intention therefore, to put my own thoughts down, for the purpose of this review.
Though written long ago, I was impressed by the language within. Other novels written in older timeframes are often fairly hard to read, since the language often is quite different from modern publications and style. During the course of the novels, the prose does seem to affect some type unusual phrasing, but it’s still immensely readable.
The story of John Carter is nothing if impossible, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story, as it sweeps from pole to pole of Mars, known as Barsoom to its inhabitants. Once you put aside what we currently know about our red neighbor, the story captures the imagination of the reader. When the story was first published, back in 1914, one can only imagine what readers were capable of believing. Very little was known about Mars at that time in history.
Throughout the three novels of the Trilogy, John Carter’s heroics are chronicled, as he strives to rescue his Martian wife from the evil clutches of numerous creatures. Written in first-person, from John Carter’s view, it does grow a tad tiresome to hear his boasts of swordsmanship and courage, when his story describes no such skills while he’s on Earth. Of course, the facts of his magical appearances on Mars, and his seemingly immortal character is also so fantastical that one can only accept it as part of the story.
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, and was mildly disappointed to reach the end. Certainly, Burroughs could have written much more about the events surrounding John Carter, and continued those marvelous adventures, but alas he did not.
The Martian Tales Trilogy can be described as one of the first science-fiction novels, in a new and upcoming genre of that area. Though I had my doubts about the story before beginning, I quickly cast aside my preconceptions and enjoyed the work.
It’s a marvel that this was never turned into a movie or series of films. I highly recommend it for fans of all literature–not just science-fiction. It’s more of a fantasy than science-fiction and it does not disappoint.
– Reviewed by Bradley K. Brown