What Modern Fantasy Writers Could Learn from ‘A Princess of Mars’

Amazingly true this here; but I think there is a lack of acceptance of how much people love to relate. Creating ‘cool’ characters sometimes leaves people feeling that the character is cold. People need to see dysfunction, emotional distress and inner turmoil. Yes, we do need more story; yes, we could populate world with less stuff, but how much more involved do you feel at being able to recognize elements of the world when you see the or hear them discribed? I love a lot of what is being said but not all of it is strictly true: balance is imperative… So is the reader’s frustration and attachment.


There’s a reason that most, if not all, of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s oeuvre is described as “action-adventure.”  You’d be hard-pressed to find a single chapter of A Princess of Mars, the first book in his famous Barsoom series, that doesn’t have at least one sword fight or battle.  It’s no accident that Disney decided to mine the novel (now in the public domain) for its forthcoming CGI blockbuster John Carter.  The story begs to be adapted into a movie.  A Princess of Mars, first published in 1912, begat and still typifies the “Sword and Planet” subgenre of Science Fantasy (according to Wikipedia’s taxonomy).  Wikipedia describes Sword and Planet as being classified by stories in which

the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, and while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used…

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