On March 9, 2012, Walt Disney Pictures unleashed the sci-fi fantasy action adventure film John Carter onto the world. Before the weekend was over, the world collectively shrugged and went back to their coffees and not reading.
When the movie premiered I was wholly unaware of John Carter. I knew he was a character from a book that took place on Mars and that was about it. Thanks to Disney’s genius marketing machine, the general public didn’t even seem to know that. Similarly, the only thing I really knew about Edgar Rice Burroughs was that he created Tarzan and was a largely influential in the world of science fiction.
I saw the movie and I liked it. It wasn’t great but it was watchable. What intrigued me most was the Martian world and society created by Burroughs. Who’s got two thumbs and loves modern mythologies? This guy! (I’m pointing to myself with my thumbs.)
Unbeknownst to me, there are 11 books in the Barsoom series! (Barsoom is the Martian word for Mars.) The first book was serialized in 1912 and published as a standalone novel in 1917. Ten serials followed in similar fashion. The last being published in the February edition of Amazing Stories in 1943. Nine of the books are novels, one is a collection of four short stories, and the final book consists of two novellas. That’s 2004 pages of high Martian plains action and adventure.
This is an unacceptably large gap in my pop culture knowledge; therefore, here begins the quest to read all the books in what I am creatively calling The Complete John Carter Project!
So as John Carter would say, “To Mars, adventurers!” (He never says that.)