Saturday, October 08, 2005

Science Fiction Book Review: The Gods Of Mars

The Gods Of Mars



One of the most enduring authors ever, and a name most any reader recognizes immediately.

This book , "The Gods Of Mars’, is the second (of eleven) in his Mars series, published back in 1913. And it is certainly quite the book. Fast paced, break neck speed, unending action, fast paced and - oh, and then there is the pace of the book which is - fast - crazy fast - where are my socks fast.

This novel takes buckle swashing to the extreme, and not one chapter is a rest from the action. It’s one hundred and ninety pages of continuous battles, escapes, escapades and derring-do. John Carter, the protagonist, catapults from one extreme action situation to the next and a lot of the time wearing only a smile and a sword.

Yes, the cover art is accurate. The four armed insectoid dude is Tars Tarkas - Carters almost equal in battle and friend from Book one - which means double the downed enemies and double action. I felt like, while reading this book, that I was on a roller coaster that only ever went down the steepest drop. Hard to hang onto my hair and read at the same time.

After half of the book this gets, at least to me, a bit tedious. No enemy is too vast in numbers, but John Carter is there to tear through them until the bodies must be piled hundreds high.

But, despite the overuse of action and adventure, the novel somehow captures your imagination and makes you read on to the end which, I found to my surprise, was pretty darn good. The plot twisted in the final chapter, and after I had been lulled into a secure sense of what was to come.

I have all the rest of the series, but will need a rest before tackling the third. For nostalgia it is definitely worth the read to find out what all the buzz about Burroughs is about, but if you are looking for a modern style adventure novel with appropriate down time - forget it.

It’s like one huge James Bond action sequence.

Carter, James Carter . . . Err, I mean John.

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