New Tales From Barsoom

By Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edited by John Joseph Adams
Simon & Schuster, 352 pages, $16.99

100 or so years old this year, Barsoom remains a fascinating fantastic creation which was both fantasy and science fiction. Most remember the four armed Thark warriors and princesses, but there were also the inventors, mad scientists, wild creatures, and ancient societies. It is hard to read Edgar Rice Burrough’s predecessors without evoking the memory of canals, alien societies, and dead seas which have dried up. For those who have read the old stories there are now more by a talented group of authors assembled by John Joseph Adams in the new anthology Under the Moons of Mars. Contained is the mystery and lure of Barsoom, maybe a planet farther out there that we once mistakenly confused with the Mars of our solar system.

“What man is a hero without another warrior or ally at his back?”

These stories are a welcome addition and are written with a modern sensibility. People may forget that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote his tales with sociological and political concerns. He is judged by authors who do the like with stories written from forgotten perspectives. The great stories written from the point of view of the Tharks stand out here. The collection also does not always glorify war. John Carter as a hero is debunked in a few tales, but in the end, he is a hero of distinction again.

Reviewed by Ryder Miller