The Chessmen of Mars (Hardcover)
|Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs|
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Tara of Helium rose from the pile of silks and soft furs upon which she had been reclining, stretched her lithe body languidly, and crossed toward the center of the room, where, above a large table, a bronze disc depended from the low ceiling. Her carriage was that of health and physical perfection--the effortless harmony of faultless coordination. A scarf of silken gossamer crossing over one shoulder was wrapped about her body; her black hair was piled high upon her head. With a wooden stick she tapped upon the bronze disc, lightly, and presently the summons was answered by a slave girl, who entered, smiling, to be greeted similarly by her mistress. (from the first line)
|The Chessmen of Mars is the fifth of Burroughs' famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in "Argosy All-Story Weekly" as a six-part serial.|
Born to wealthy parents in 1875, Edgar Rice Burroughs attended private schools in the Chicago area, before going to Andover, Massachusetts for further education. Unfortunately, he was expelled and, after a brief stint at military school in Michigan, he joined the U.S. Cavalry, stationed in Arizona. He began writing when he was 35, with his first story, "Under the Moons of Mars", appearing in 1911 under the pseudonym Norman Bean. This story, which became the basis for his novel A PRINCESS OF MARS, introduced the character of John Carter, a man who, while in an Arizona cave, discovers a gateway to the planet Mars. This character went on to appear in a series of books, and became one of the most well-known figures in science fiction. But it was Burroughs's next creation that would truly change his life. In 1912 he wrote TARZAN OF THE APES, the first in what would eventually stretch to a series of 24 books (not counting those written by other authors). In 1912, Burroughs moved to Los Angeles to oversee the production of the first film version of TARZAN and he remained there for most of the rest of his life. During World War II, the 66-year-old Burroughs worked for the Los Angles Times, becoming the oldest reporter in the Pacific Theater. Tarzan had made him rich, and he was able to buy a large amount of property in Los Angeles County, which is still called Tarzana. Critical opinion of his writing is generally negative; it is often considered excessively crude and it suffers greatly from then-current opinions about native peoples. Nevertheless, Burroughs's books have been enormously influential in science fantasy circles--especially in regard to their notions of the Hero--and have always been popular, with nearly all of them remaining in print in some form or another. And with over 70 films based on Tarzan, and more being made all the time, it seems likely that the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs will continue to be popular well into the future.