Looking at the Martian Races of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Just a little “heads up” for those interested: I have a non-fiction piece in the 3rd issue of Dark Worlds Quarterly, the (free) e-zine about science fiction and fantasy. I wrote about the publication earlier here when I was just a reader. But now I have a piece in it — a bit of whatcha might call “literary analysis” if’n yer hifalutin. I’ve written plenty about film, TV, and comics on-line, and I’ve had book reviews published from time to time, but this may be my first published attempt at this kind of analysis.

The topic? Looking at the John Carter Martian novels of American pulp writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and considering whether the racial dynamics of Burroughs’ fictional Barsoom (ie: Mars) had a more earthly interpretation. Even though Burroughs’ books were written in the early 20th Century, the stories and characters are still kicking around in things like the 2012 Hollywood movie, John Carter, and current comic book series (from, I believe, Dynamite Entertainment) under titles like Warlord of Mars and Dejah Thoris. And I ask: have readers been missing the obvious interpretation over the last nearly 100 years? I say “missing” but it’s possible, even probable, that others have expounded upon the same idea as me — but I just haven’t come upon it, or seen much indication it has influenced how filmmakers, comic books, and paperback cover artists have visualized Mars. Namely: did ERB intend the Red Martians to be North American Indians?

I explore the idea in my piece in Dark Worlds Quarterly #3.

Also in the issue you get the usual nice grab bag of pieces spanning books and films and more, from an essay on the costume designs in the 1975 movie, Logan’s Run, to a rundown of the 1930s pulp adventure stories of one Dr. Bird to an interview with writer Marc Scott Zicree to pieces covering everything from the Christmas tales of Charles Dickens and the influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and more.

A little something for everyone 🙂

(But, y’know, read my piece first and then tell/tweet your friends — Dark Worlds Quarterly #3)

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