December 18, 2008
A Princess of Mars
I just re-read all eleven books of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ Mars series. I saved the first (and best) for last: A Princess of Mars. I have no idea how many times I have read these books, since I first came across them in my early teens.
If you have read it, you know that this is some of the best pulp adventure fiction ever written. If you haven’t read it, go get it — the Amazon link above is to the Dover paperback, a good deal at four and a half bucks.
So what exactly defines “pulp adventure fiction”?
Pulp fiction is the sort of stuff printed in the inexpensive magazine of the 1920s through 1950s, including the Golden Age of science fiction. It came in lots of genres — western, SF, horror, etc. Burroughs’ Barsoom is not neatly categorizable, so I just referred to it as general “adventure”.
In this case, the books are filled with thrilling swordplay, naked barbarians (who are perfectly chaste), mad scientists, damsels in distress, improbable coincidences, perfect heroes, dastardly villains, and a variety of ferocious beasts.