Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Princess of Mars Is A Little Weird

I have been highly entertained by “A Princess of Mars”.

The story is pulpy, of course. Confederate War Hero(!) somehow ends up on Mars rather than getting slaughtered by Indians in Arizona, and because he can jump, he’s befriended by a warlike race that ordinarily kills just about everything else they encounter, including their own kind. He’s chummy with them until a humanoid female (see yesterday’s entry) shows up as a prisoner, and now, as you can see, he’s leaping to her defense.

Given the direction he’s taking in this drawing and the state of readiness of his opponent – sword up and dagger drawn – you’d be certain Our Hero John Carter would be batted out of the air with that sword and then gored several times with the dagger, while the Barely-Clad Damsel looks on and his blood gushes out of his many fatal wounds.

Not so. He conquers, of course. And his warlike hosts applaud, probably because they want to kill the BCD at a ritual event I haven’t gotten to yet in the book.

And it you ask me, it’s pretty cruel of Our Hero to jump on this guy as he looks like he’s trying to pop a squat out there in the desert. Of course, it’s also pretty cruel of this guy to be doing that given the BCD’s location in the Squat Zone, but you know, I guess they have to fit everyone in the picture.

Our Hero is also prone to high and mighty speeches, viz:

“As you know I am not of Barsoom; your ways are not my ways, and I can only act in the future as I have in the past, in accordance with the dictates of my conscience and guided by the standards of mine own people.”

In other words, as a guy who fought for the preservation of slavery. But, you know, nobility and such. Also, he’s pretty flowery with the Martian, considering he’s only been studying the language for a few days.

And that comic, puzzled beast in yesterday’s entry? Our Hero has already bent it to its will so it will be willing to help him escape his benefactors when the time is right, with the BCD in tow. And will probably be the beast dropped from the narrative as soon as it’s inconvenient to continue having it in the story.

The beast is named Woola. I kinda like that.

I don’t remember the BCD’s name, but she’s from some place called Helium.

Also: One of the Martians in this tale is named Tars Tarkas. From whence, no doubt, Harry Harrison got the name of the slobby sergeant Tars Tuckus in “The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted.” So there is clear antecedent for reading pulp if you want to write good fiction.

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