Wednesday, April 6, 2016


                        late 1800’s – mid 1950’s

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875 – 1950) was an American writer best known for his creations of the jungle hero Tarzan, in the Tarzan series (24 novels), and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, in the Barsoom , in the Barsoom series, although he produced works in many genres.  Wikipedia

Tarzan is the story of John Clayton, born in the western coastal jungles of equatorial Africa to a marooned couple from England. Adopted as an infant by the she-ape Kala after his parents died, Clayton is named "Tarzan" ("White Skin" in the ape language and raised in ignorance of his human heritage.
Feeling alienated from the apes because of their physical differences, he discovers his true parents' cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books, with which he eventually teaches himself to read. On his return from one visit to the cabin, he is attacked by a huge gorilla which he manages to kill with his father's knife, although he is terribly wounded in the struggle. As he grows up, Tarzan becomes a skilled hunter, exciting the jealousy of Kerchak, the ape leader, who finally attacks him. Tarzan kills Kerchak and takes his place as "king" of the apes.

A Princess of Mars, a science fantasy, is the first of Burrough's Barsoom series. It was first serialized in the Pulp magazine, All-Story Magazine. February - July 1912.Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century Pulp FictionWikipedia

Barsoom is a fictional representation of the planet Mars where John Carter in the late 19th century is mysteriously transported from Earth to a Mars suffering from dwindling resources. 
The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, Rober A. Heinlein, and John Norman. The series was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan. who read A Princess of Mars when he was a child. Wikipedia


During a slow time of his working career, Burroughs  began reading many Pulp Fiction magazines. In 1929 he recalled thinking that...if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazine.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

His Barsoom series is by far my favorite.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This post sure brings back memories. My brother used to read ERB avidly and dragged me to all the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller.eIt's interesting to learn he influenced Ray Bradbury and Carl Sagan. Ray Bradbury was one of my favorite authors.

Timothy Brannan said...

I LOVED The John Carter Mars/Barsoom books. Such great fun.

The Disney movie didn't really do it justice, but the books can stand well enough on their own.

Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
2015 A to Z of Adventure!