A Forgotten Legacy

Cover Art by Frank Frazetta for "A Princess of Mars"
Cover Art by Frank Frazetta for "A Princess of Mars"

A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was the very first full-length non-children’s book I ever read as a child – I was 8 years old. The story drew me in from the introduction, and kept me enthralled until the last page. I was so happy that there was a series of sequels because I kept wanting to revisit the world of Barsoom* that ERB wove so masterfully in those pages.

To me it’s such a tragedy that this literary work is all but forgotten. Even with the John Carter movie, most people I talk to didn’t even know that it was based on a book. Over the years I always ask people when the subject of books and literature come up, if they’d ever read any of the books about Barsoom, and I’ve always gotten blank stares. I patiently explain that it’s the Martian series, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. More blank stares. I explain that he was famous for writing Tarzan. Finally a glimmer of recognition!

It’s amazing that as famous as the story of Tarzan is, most people don’t even know the author’s name of even that series of literary fiction. In his lifetime, ERB published over 85 fiction novels (most were science-fiction, with the exception of Tarzan and some other works). With that large body of work, you’d think more people would know who he was.

I had high hopes that with this new movie, there would be a resurgence in the interest in these marvelous tales. Unfortunately I fear the name Edgar Rice Burroughs and Barsoom may remain an obscure footnote in the history of great science-fiction.

Which is truly a shame. Personally I thought the movie was really good. *sigh*

*Barsoom is the Martian name for Mars. :)

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