Fiction Friday – Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fiction Friday


With the upcoming John Carter of Mars movie, I have been hearkening back to my formative days of voraciously devouring sci fi when I was a whelp. I recall going to a used bookstore in Manhattan with my father and uncle and having them both tell me all about Barsoom, Pellucidar, The Land That Time Forgot and The Lost Continent.

It wasn’t till I was much older that I understood the position Edgar Rice Burroughs  held in the company of authors; and the multitude of books, series and articles he wrote in his lifetime. Even the incredibly accurate Wikipedia lists ERB under 6 different writing categories. Prolific doesn’t begin to describe his work. The city of Tarzana in California is named after…umm..guess who? He built and maintained a ranch there, which eventually became the city. He is also one of the very few to have a crater on Mars named after him.

For your enjoyment, and in honor of ERB, and complements of Project Gutenberg, Here is the beginning of Thuvia, Maid of Mars.



 Upon a massive bench of polished ersite beneath the gorgeous blooms of a giant pimalia a woman sat. Her shapely, sandalled foot tapped impatiently upon the jewel-strewn walk that wound beneath the stately sorapus trees across the scarlet sward of the royal gardens of Thuvan Dihn, Jeddak of Ptarth, as a dark-haired, red-skinned warrior bent low toward her, whispering heated words close to her ear.

 “Ah, Thuvia of Ptarth,” he cried, “you are cold even before the fiery blasts of my consuming love! No harder than your heart, nor colder is the hard, cold ersite of this thrice happy bench which supports your divine and fadeless form! Tell me, O Thuvia of Ptarth, that I may still hope—that though you do not love me now, yet some day, some day, my princess, I—”

 The girl sprang to her feet with an exclamation of surprise and displeasure. Her queenly head was poised haughtily upon her smooth red shoulders. Her dark eyes looked angrily into those of the man.

 “You forget yourself, and the customs of Barsoom, Astok,” she said. “I have given you no right thus to address the daughter of Thuvan Dihn, nor have you won such a right.”

 The man reached suddenly forth and grasped her by the arm.

 “You shall be my princess!” he cried. “By the breast of Issus, thou shalt, nor shall any other come between Astok, Prince of Dusar, and his heart’s desire. Tell me that there is another, and I shall cut out his foul heart and fling it to the wild calots of the dead sea-bottoms!”

 At touch of the man’s hand upon her flesh the girl went pallid beneath her coppery skin, for the persons of the royal women of the courts of Mars are held but little less than sacred. The act of Astok, Prince of Dusar, was profanation. There was no terror in the eyes of Thuvia of Ptarth—only horror for the thing the man had done and for its possible consequences.

 “Release me.” Her voice was level—frigid.

 The man muttered incoherently and drew her roughly toward him.

 “Release me!” she repeated sharply, “or I call the guard, and the Prince of Dusar knows what that will mean.”

 Quickly he threw his right arm about her shoulders and strove to draw her face to his lips. With a little cry she struck him full in the mouth with the massive bracelets that circled her free arm.

 “Calot!” she exclaimed, and then: “The guard! The guard! Hasten in protection of the Princess of Ptarth!”

The rest of this book can be found here.

This is Dome sayin’: It’s a book, you know that thing made outta paper. You read it.

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