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Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom
edited by John Joseph Adams
Simon & Schuster, 368 pages

Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom
John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams is the editor of such anthologies as Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Night Shade Books, January 2008), Seeds of Change (Prime Books, Summer 2008), and The Living Dead (Night Shade Books, Fall 2008). He was also the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and is now the editor of Lightspeed and Fantasy Magazine. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Central Florida in December 2000. He currently lives in New Jersey.

John Joseph Adams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Brave New Worlds
SF Site Review: The Living Dead 2
SF Site Review: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
SF Site Review: Federations
SF Site Review: Wastelands
SF Site Review: Wastelands

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

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John Carter, the former Civil War soldier turned Warlord of Barsoom, has been around for almost 100 years. His adventures have spanned multiple worlds, hordes of enemies, and countless adventures. His exploits have inspired numerous visionaries, from Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel to modern day filmmakers George Lucas and James Cameron. And he continues to spark imagination in all those who seek to journey beyond the mundane.

Under the Moons of Mars is a collection of 14 stories set in the world Edgar Rice Burroughs created, the mysterious, slowly dying red planet of Barsoom (Mars to you and me). Written by some of today's most adventurous talent, these new tales fit quite well into the world of John Carter. All the classic characters from the incomparable Dejah Thoris to the mighty Thark Jeddak Tars Tarkas, and even Carter's faithful Woola appear, as fresh as when they were first written.

Now it does help to have a good background on the character himself before going into the stories. The reader should probably be familiar with the first three Mars books (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and Warlord of Mars) before venturing on these new quests. However, even though almost all 12 of these original John Carter tales are referenced in some way, there is a nice introduction before each story to fill you in if you haven't made it through them all.

The writers also appear to have made themselves very familiar with the source material as most of the stories really could fit seamlessly into some of Carter's original adventure. There are a few inconsistencies, for instance, Genevieve Valentine's "A Game of Mars" brings back the Kaldanes, spider-headed alien brains that ride around on mindless, headless bodies and the description doesn't quite mesh with the original in The Chessmen of Mars.

Burroughs's other great creation of Tarzan appears in a few stories as well. S.M. Sterling's "The Jassom Project" managed to draw together many elements of all Burroughs's fantasy worlds, and Peter S. Beagle's "The Ape-Man of Mars" brings the jungle hero to Mars to actually go head to head with Carter himself. It must be noted that Beagle seems to have a much greater appreciation for Lord Greystoke, as Carter comes off as a racist Southern jerk in his tale.

Some of the other stories practically beg to be expanded into their own size novels, like Chris Claremont's "The Ghost That Haunts the Superstition Mountains," which is "Chapter 11" of a non-existent book that has Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas transported to earth, and their adventures on this strange Western world.

Other tales tell of the Thark society, Carter's descendants, his never heard of sidekick, and even what will happen decades down the line when the people of Jassom (Earth) begin to explore Mars.

Despite the bad press the recent Disney film seems to be heaping upon the hero, the actual adventures continue to maintain a strong following that spans generations. John Carter continues to inspire both the young and the old and, with luck, his adventures will continue well into the far future.

Copyright © 2012 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been Star Trek characters, the Riddler in a Batman stunt show and holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. He has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and playing Norman Bates.


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