Bill Hillman’s ERBZINE
#3038 covers this subject extremely well by producing Michael Sellers'
"Avatar and ERB," illustrated with over 100 excellent photographs,
so we hope you will get a chance to view this at:
To sum up, James Cameron's Avatar seems to follow the themes of
ERB's John Carter of Mars where a heroic human
male is thrust alone into an alien world. Film maker and critic Michael
D. Sellers (a friend of Danton Burroughs) reports that
Cameron had Burroughs in mind when he created Avatar, observing:
"What was ERB-like was the creation of a complete world with detailed
flora and fauna and an indigenous culture that was well thought out and
presented in detail that made me think of Burroughs."
Avatar's hero is "a male warrior in an exotic, alien land, overcoming
physical challenges and confronting the fears of difference ... The biggest
similarity for me was the one thing that Burroughs did better than anyone
else, and that is to create a world that feels complete. Barsoom became
real in my mind ... I could have drawn a map of the planet; I could write
the history; I even tried playing Jetan; even today, decades after reading
the books, I remember the names of the creatures ... banth, thoat, calot,
"The vividness with which Burroughs created Barsoom, Amtor, Caspak,
Pellucidar, and Tarzan's jungle has been captured for the first time cinematically.
And that means the experience of viewing Avatar is every bit as immersive
and satisfying as was the experience of reading Burroughs tales and getting
lost in the worlds he created.”
This is a high-tech film which impresses ordinary viewers as well as
confirmed sci-fi fanatics. Phil DeLeo, a Burroughs Bibliophile member,
sent us his impressions of Avatar after seeing the film: “I thought I saw
close relatives of thoats, banths, thags and those winged bird-like creatures
that Venusians rode on. In fact, the planet Pandora strongly resembles
ERB's Venus or even Pellucidar if you turned up the horizon with computer
generated imagery. Every Burroughs fan ought to see this film.
"It’s a pity that ERB himself could not have lived to see what can be
done with today's technologies. It's too bad Cameron is
not making A Princess of Mars. That would be something to see.”
Bob Barrett also writes: “John Cameron has stated in numerous interviews
that when he was a youth he was influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and
H. Rider Haggard. Avatar is a pure delight to see! It is the kind of story
that Edgar Rice Burroughs might have written today if he was still alive.
A grand adventure!”
... "Ye Editor"
This page and front: scenes from Avatar. Below left: Michael Whelan’s cover
for Warlord of Mars.