Thursday, March 12, 2009

Llana of Gathol (1948)

I think that by publicly admitting that I've read a book named Llana of Gathol, I have officially become a science fiction mega-nerd. But, since it was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, published serially in 1941 (and published as a novel in 1948, the last of the Mars books to be published during Burroughs' lifetime), and most importantly since it was loaned to me 10,000 years ago by the lovely Choo (sorry about the late return!), I believe my nerdiness has been vindicated.

This book is composed of four inter-related stories in which our immortal hero, John Carter, travels all over the red planet alternately rescuing and losing his beautiful granddaughter, Llana of Gathol. Along the way, Carter and his friends awaken a city's-worth of ancient nobles who were boxed up underground in a state of suspended animation; foil the plans of a despot who keeps everyone in line using a powerful machine that can kill any of the citizens with the touch of a button; discover a million-man army that is kept frozen in the Martian arctic until called on by its leader; and are captured by a group of invisible warriors who can only be seen under certain special lights. In each story Carter has, then loses Llana; becomes trapped in a place from which no one can possibly escape; successfully hides his identity (even though he is the only white guy on Mars and the only person who has super powers of strength and can jump thirty feet in the air); fights at least one duel in which he completely destroys his opponent (who was invariably hailed as the best swordsman on Barsoom); and then manages to escape and save Llana and a few other friends and acquaintances.

It, my friends, is an action-packed book. And that is exactly why I love Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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