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A Princess of Mars

Somehow I have internet. The technicians aren't even scheduled to be in till Friday, I wonder if it's something to do with having just disconnected only two weeks ago. Anyway, download speed is 1/3 of what it should be but I HAVE INTERNET. Of course it's the weekend so I don't even have time-sensitive email to answer, but hey.

Before the internet reconnected I finished three books in one day (it was a slow day and some of them were half-finished).

I finally took the plunge and started reading A Princess of Mars from the beginning instead of confusedly stumbling about because I'd only read it in very disjointed chunks. See, sometimes having books on your phone for when you have five minutes to spare is a good thing, and sometimes it's a I-don't-know-what-happened thing.

You know what I'm stuck on? The fact that the place that all the green Martians live in, Burroughs through Carter is careful to point out that these magnificent places are not constructed by them, nor decorated; they're made by the more civilized people from several millenia before, and blah blah the green Martians aren't worthy or have enough imagination or math or ability etc. But I mean, I don't think there are many buildings that can take a thousand years and not need, you know, repair. And art, especially, too. If they were really that crude would the buildings really have been still standing...?

ALSO! Atrophy is a thing! He might have been able to do those amazing jumps initially when he arrived on Mars, but he would have eventually acclimated and stopped maintaining those muscles and lost them. But I guess if he had, then Burroughs wouldn't be able to write all the battles that pit Carter against INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS! and then has him finish off the opponents handily. In many ways I appreciate the way Burroughs is just willing to openly handwave things, but I think I've just read altogether too many adventure stories where the fighting is quite important and the protagonists have been through lots of combat training and so the writing is at pains to make the battles seem exciting, which means adding an element of suspense i.e. they can't just win straight off. I don't think this is a very fight-heavy book at all, to be honest; the outcome is very obvious and it's very ungory, no matter what Wikipedia says.

I like how simply Burroughs treats the Martian space journey. Just, he's here now, he's there next, everyone is completely confused, let's move on.

Regarding the atmosphere--though this is really the wrong kind of book to ask these questions--does that mean the atmosphere generators are continually generating air to replace the stuff that's dissipating right out of the atmosphere? Because clearly there isn't a bubble around Mars, and the gravity is unchanged.

I like that there are actual canals on Mars! And are used as such, though my goodness, Carter really has a hard time getting to them. He's just utterly doomed at making his way anywhere. Invariably he will be chased down or go in the complete wrong direction or crash and then have to make do.

I don't know how to feel about Tars Tarkas. There's Sola's story, which is supposed to elicit sympathy (sympathy in the sense of being on his side) but eh. I feel like I barely got to know any of the characters except maybe Carter; Lorquas has about twenty lines and Tars not much more. He may have displayed love twenty or forty years ago, but he seems in behaviour to be about the same as all the other green Martians.

Zodanga! I was a bit shocked at how easily Carter was ready to basically let the green Martians rape and pillage the city. He says they're the old enemies of Helium and I suppose also of the Tharks, but Carter is also the sort of guy who takes pains to not be barbaric (by his definition) and inviting that sort of battle seems out of character. Then again, I suppose he might be badly disposed towards Zodanga because of the thing with Dejah Thoris, but really.

I'm very curious about the river Iss. I wonder where it goes. Do Martians ready to move on just cast their bodies into it and drown and that's the end of it? And since it is a physical river on a spherical planet, it must end somewhere--do all the Martians never travel to wherever it ends? Is the river's end in a polar ice cap place? You'd think if there's water, on a planet dying from partly the shrinkage of the sea....Is there a secret guard that stays there and kills any adventurer who comes by thinking they will unravel the mystery? Do none of them have any curiousity whatsoever about it? (Probably this is the answer Carter would find or infer.)

So many questions about red Martians' physiology re: no clothing. Is it that hot on Mars? Dejah says they can see Earth from their telescopes to the degree where they can see individual blades of grass, but they never thought humans were like them because we attire ourselves in hideous things i.e. clothes.

I liked Woola! I also liked the weird eighth and ninth rays.

I'm not sure if I want to read the next book; it was a fairly fun romp, but I don't really feel any attachment to any of the characters. Though, I do love books that take place on our solar system's planets where they're habitable, current astronomy be damned (or unknown at the time)--even things like Bradbury's Venus and rain story for all that it's horrifying (are there any Bradbury stories where children are nice/good?), I think it's so cool. I just wish I liked the characters more--felt for them more.

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/167765.html.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
Haha, re: Bradbury, I don't think so, no.
Apr. 28th, 2015 01:51 am (UTC)
He must have met a great many awful kids.
Apr. 28th, 2015 08:49 am (UTC)
I think there was the Halloween Tree? Though I've only seen the cartoon with Leonard Nimoy, the book could be different.
Apr. 30th, 2015 04:03 pm (UTC)
re: Bradbury and kids who aren't horrible? I didn't know that they had turned his short stories into cartoons!
May. 1st, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC)
I don't think the kids were awful in Something Wicked This Way Comes, though it's been a few years now!

I must get around to the Mars stories; we have a lot of them (R's read them) and I loved the movie to distraction. :) (WOOLA IS ADORABLE.)

May. 4th, 2015 03:59 am (UTC)
:O I'm shocked. Maybe I should read that one.

A Princess of Mars was a lot of fun. I really liked his version of Mars. and yes Woola! I love dogs in fiction so much.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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