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The final adventures of ERB's hero, John Carter of Mars,
This review is from: John Carter of Mars (A Del Rey book) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the 11th and final volume in the celebrated Martian series by Edgar Rice Burroughs has a couple of shorter stories featuring John Carter. “John Carter and the Giant of Mars” first appeared in the January 1941 issue of “Amazing Stories,” and was written by Burroughs and his youngest son John Coleman Burroughs. The story was originally intended for a Whitman Big Little Book, which meant the story had to be 15,000 words long and have facing pages illustrating the action. The younger Burroughs was also the illustrator. At some point 6,000 words were added to the story and it was published in “Amazing,” with no one ever knowing for sure how much ERB actually wrote of this story, which was the final complete John Carter tale. As you would expect when ERB was writing for children, he goes back to his standard formula. John Carter and Dejah Thoris are having a nice ride of a thoat when they are attacked and his beloved princess is once again captured. Carter is off to the rescue with help from his old friend Tars Tarkas. Along the way they encounter Joog, a 130-foot tall giant, and a city of rats; just the sort of fantastic characters kids would be looking for in a story. Beyond sticking to the standard Burroughs formula, there is not much here of interest.
“Skeleton Men of Jupiter” was originally published in “Amazing Stories,” and was intended to be the first of a four-part story, but ERB died before it could be completed. Since then it has been, by several pastiche writers. John Carter is called away from his beloved princess Dejah Thoris to meet with Tardox Mors in the Hall of Jeddaks, when he is captured by men that look like human skeletons speaking a strange language. It turns out the Morgors are from Sasoom, the Barsoomian name for Jupiter, which is where our hero ends up. ERB has to play fast and loose with science, arguing that Jupiter rotates fast enough that Carter is not crushed by the gravity. Still, he has lost the advantage he had on Barsoom with its lower-than-Earth gravity. Anyway, it would not be a Burroughs Martian novel if the hero did not have to rescue his beloved, and it turns out Dejah Thoris has been captured as well. Consequently, Carter has to escape and tracked down his princess. Slightly better than “The Giant of Mars,” the story is hurt by the fact it ends just as it is getting intresting. Fans will read these stories out of a sense of completeness, but clearly ERB’s Barsoom series went out with a whimper.