I was asked my opinion of the John Carter of Mars series in another thread. My reply was too short. When I write, I want to WRITE. Unfortunately, I was replying on my phone with a QWERTY touchscreen keypad. Blech. Here, below, is something more in depth. It's not as deep as it deserves but it's as deep as I'm going to go. Right up front, the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs is the early 20th Century equivalent of an Action Movie and I enjoyed them for what they are. Burroughs is sort of the great-grandfather of a whole genera of action adventure, sometimes called "Sword and Planet" which is still popular and experiences occasional entrants even today. To over-simplify it greatly while giving a point of reference that most are familiar with, the Barsoom series is essentially a way of placing a Conan the Barbarian-like character in a science-fiction(ish) setting. Yes, Barsoom predates Conan by several decades but most of us know the Conan archetype. I'll try to give a semi-overview of the pros and cons of the books without giving spoilers, but some broad spoilers are, perforce, unavoidable. The protagonist of most of the Barsoom series (the first 3 books and 2 or 3 of the later) is Captain John Carter. The first book, A Princess of Mars was written in 1911 but it is set in the late 19th Century. Captain John Carter is a veteran of the U.S. Civil War and veteran Indian Fighter and is prospecting for gold with another veteran in the Arizona. His consciousness is eventually "transported" in some sort of duplicate body, through a means never explained, to the planet Mars. This is explicitly stated in the early books. When John Carter learns the language of Mars, he finds that the locals call it "Barsoom," and that is the name by which the series is known to fans (alternately, the "John Carter of Mars" series, though that is the title of the final book). First let me write for a moment about Burroughs' writing style. My friends here, if you thought me well written, and ornamented, then Burroughs will simply blow you away. Were he alive today he would positively laugh at my juvenile writing style. While I don't believe that Burroughs is overly verbose, his descriptions are complete. His prose is almost flowery. Though, in modern terms, the series seems to most appeal to teens, a teen would do well to bring a dictionary. Burroughs must have been a walking thesaurus. However, after a time, like most of his work in the Barsoom series, his descriptions become formulaic. He seems to have what's sometimes known as Homeric Stock Epithets; descriptors that he reuses over and over because he found them effective. People and the "races" of Barsoom are often described as "clean limbed," "well proportioned," "handsome," and the like. But he also applies this conceptually as well. He likes terms such as "Barbaric Splendor" and when he wants to paint a picture of what "Barbaric Splendor" is, he invariably does so with descriptions of showy great wealth. For instance, clothing will be "encrusted" with rare metals and jewels. This brings me to a particular issue with the Barsoom series. The rules of economics do not apply. Rare metals, rare jewels, and "Barbaric Splendor" abound on Barsoom. They're highly valuable, highly valued by "royalty" and social elite,... and every one seems to have a truckload of the stuff. Burroughs was not an economist and he didn't care. He wasn't trying to paint a hard-science realistic world (the concept of "hard-science Science Fiction" didn't even exist yet). He's just trying to paint a picture of riches and "Barbaric Splendor" that draws the reader into an entertaining fantasy. Burroughs also wasn't a scientist. I doubt he even bothered much with what at the time was sometimes referred to as Physical Sciences or Natural Philosophy. Nearly every scientific fact we take for granted is malleable in the extreme in the pursuit of his fantasy. Geology, for instance, is whatever he needs it to be to paint his picture. At one point he needs a cliff with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and veins of gold just popping out of it like fruit from a grafted chimera tree so he writes one up. A trained geologist of 1911 would likely have suffered an immediate aneurism. The technology of the Barsoom series can, perhaps be given a bit more gentle treatment. At the time when he began writing the Barsoom series, it was generally felt that anything might be possible. Further, the various forms of "radiation" were slowly filtering into society as a vague concept. So Burroughs centers the technology of Barsoom around two kinds of "radiation." The first is around "rays" which may be split out from natural sunlight. Besides "our seven" colors, there are two more "rays" which the Martians have learned to harness. These provide much of the energy and important technology in the series. The most important and obvious of the two is "the 8th ray, or ray of propulsion." Essentially, it's anti-gravity or the "ray" radiation equivalent of lighter than air gasses and he uses it thus to imagine "air ships." Everything from massive battleships down to tiny "one man fliers" have "tanks" filled with "rays" which provide buoyancy. The other radioactive technology he proffers is "radium." This one is fun too because, writing as the hero he claims to not know exactly what the substance is but assumes it must be some "formulation" or "compound" of radium. He uses this to imagine everything from infinite battery flashlights to H.E. exploding rifle bullets. But, again, don't let this distract you too much. He is essentially using technology for "magic" and creating a world of wonder.