Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for John Carter (the book series)

by Chad Morris

"So, what are you reading?" I asked the man at the bus stop. I'm a naturally curious guy, and I'm always looking out for a good book. He was turning the page on his kindle ap on his Ipad.

He smiled for a moment before answering, "I'm reading the third John Carter book."

"Like the movie?"I had no idea the movie was even based on a book. From the previews, the whole thing looked like an 11-year-old boy's dream on steroids--a dream that happened to have millions of dollars behind it. In fact, I pictured the guy who did Prince of Persia pitching the idea "What if we did Prince of Persia again . . . BUT ON MARS! I'll even give the lead the same haircut." Don't get me wrong. I wanted to see it (my inner-11-year-old can be pretty persuasive sometimes), but it didn't seem like a story that had been a book to me.

"Yeah," he said. "I downloaded them the series for free a little while ago, and I've really enjoyed them."

Free? Really? It isn't often you can get the book of a current movie for free. At least that is what I thought. (Yeah. Yeah. I'm a little slow on the uptake.) "And why were they free?" I asked. "Some promotion with the movie?"

"No. They were written a long time ago. They are in the public domain."

I had no idea.  Turns out (and I realize you probably knew this a long time ago) the John Carter series was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs--yep, the same guy who wrote Tarzan. He wrote them in 1911. It was actually a series in a magazine and wasn't published as a book until after Burroughs had such good success with the man among the apes.

Here's the book:

And here's a comic book based on the original book:

(Full points for covers. When exactly would the no shirt/cape combo come in handy?)

Since my conversation (that revealed my true ignorance) with a nice guy at the bus stop, I too have downloaded my free copy of the first John Carter book. I'm not that far, but I have to admit, I'm enjoying it.

So, did you know John Carter was a book, or am I the only one?

Did you see the movie? What did the you think?


  1. no i did not know this--i had heard of john carter---my daughter says she knew---very interesting!

  2. Chad, I am soooooo disappointed. You didn't know about John Carter of Mars?

    Okay, I imagine most people didn't. I've been a huge fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and especially the John Carter series since I was eleven. (No that wasn't in the day of the dinosaurs.)

    Burroughs wrote over 50 books that encompassed fantasy, westerns, and some medival stories. He gave us Tarzan and even sent him to the earth's core in the Pellucidar series.

    Hope you have fun with "A Princess of Mars."

    1. Yeah. You'd think I would have known this one, but no. I was definitely blindsided.

  3. Had no idea. None. I've heard the movie is a lot of fun, though!

    1. I still haven't seen it, but I'm looking forward to it.

  4. Hubby really wants to see the film, though as a fan of the books I'm worried. I don't know what happened to our paper books of them. They had much more titillating covers than the ones you show though. The guys look a lot like the people in the paperback BoM drawings where even the kids look like they're on steroids. But that's because John is so much more powerful on Mars due to its lighter gravity. This is another case of deceptive covers because they aren't really dressed like that in the books.

  5. Your post just made my day. I got into the Carter books a couple years ago. Great, great stuff here, man. :)

  6. I'm kinda diggin' the cape/no shirt thing. Maybe he can be a hot guy in no doublet.

  7. I didn't even know it was a movie! haha

    I thinl in that last book, the guy on the cover (with no shirt) has makeup on.

  8. I read the whole series in 6th grade, I won't tell you what year. A friend's father had them, he guarded them like gold bars, they had to be smuggled to me on the school bus one at a time. And there were about 50 of them. I know they've combined them into bigger novels now (Beth is reading them.)but back then they were only 100 or so pages long each. I loved them. Even then I realized that I was never going to look like the ladies on the cover.

    There have been so many crappy attempts at movies that I don't actually hold out much hope for this new attempt, although Beth really liked it. KJ


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