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The Many Worlds of
ERB: FUTURE VISIONS
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Prophet
Predictions and Images
of Future Innovations and Inventions
The Fantastic Inventions and Prophesies
Gleaned from the
Barsoomian Novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Scientifiction was the term ERB coined to describe his style of imaginative, fantasy adventure.
Barsoom was the name he applied to the red planet Mars which he described as an often hostile place with low gravity, and as having lost most of its oxygen and water.
Atmosphere Factory provides the artificial atmosphere of Mars through the powers of the Ninth Ray -- a ray which is an inherent property of all light. The factory is a huge, completely unassailable building which covers about four square miles and towers 200 feet in the air. There is only one tiny door in the massive walls, which are about 20 feet thick and the roof is guarded from attack by aircraft by a glass covering five feet thick. Entry is gained through a series of three doors, controlled by a set of nine thought waves. The Ninth Ray is separated from the other rays of the sun by means of a set of finely adjusted instruments on the sprawling roof of the factory, three-quarters of which is used for reservoirs in which the Ninth Ray is stored. Certain proportions of refined electric vibrations are combined with it, and the result is pumped to the five principal air centers of the planet, where, contact with the ether of space transforms it into atmosphere. There is sufficient reserve of the stored Ninth Ray to maintain the present atmosphere for 1,000 years. The only danger is that some accident might befall the pumping apparatus, a battery of twenty radium pumps any one of which is equal to the task of furnishing all Mars with the atmosphere compound. Each is used for a day at a time. Two men are in charge of this plant, each of whom spends half a Martian year at a time alone in the plant. The only real fear of attack are from the green Martians or some demented red man, as all Barsoomians realize that the very existence of every form of life on Mars is dependent upon the uninterrupted working of this plant.
International air travel which moves both freight and passengers. (Thuvia)
Full-Scale Air Battles between powerful air fleets took place on Barsoom long before the importance of airpower in war was accepted on Earth.
Air ship hangars & pads on roofs
Eighth Ray or Antigravity Ray is the ray of propulsion. It repels aircraft from gravity and is used in buoyancy tanks. It allows all Barsoomian aircraft to hover anywhere. It is an inherent property of all light.
Airships range in size from single seaters to giant 10,000-man craft.
Equibilibrimotors or flying belts are one-man flying machines, consisting of a broad belt, similar to an earthly life belt, filled with enough eighth ray to equalize the pull of gravity. Attached to the back of the belt is a small radium motor and controls are positioned on the front of the belt. Projecting from each side of the upper rim of the belt is a strong, rigid, light wing with small hand levers for quickly adjusting its position. The Equibilibrimotors are rented out for public transport. City guards fly patrol in them. (SM)
One-man surfboard-like fliers with a wind-screen travel up to1000 mph.
Public flier taxis
Ground fliers (Thuvia and Gods)
Military aircraft patrol the skies
Submarines used in the Omean Sea.
Space craft guided by artificial brains similar to today's computers invented by Fal Siva, a scientist in Zodanga.
Spacecraft capable of reaching the moon Thuria was developed by Gal Nar, a scientist of Zodanga. Dejah Thoris was abducted and transported to the moon in this.
Controlling Destination Compass is a directional compass used for navigation in aircraft (this device was called a gyro-compass in GIANT). It is actually a computer-driven automatic pilot perfected by Carthoris. The pilot sets the desired latitude and longitude and the device then navigates to the location, shuts down the propulsion, and lower the craft to land.
Altitude ranging is another feature of the Controlling Destination Compass which was designed to prevent collisions.
Sonar or Radar device are used by Fliers to warn of approaching obstacles. The ship is brought to a halt until pilot takes control.
Air and Ground Traffic Control: Traffic is all controlled by intricate flight control systems similar to our modern-day air traffic control networks. (Okar in The Warlord of Mars)
Airship weaponry includes rapid fire guns and the larger radium cannons which fire explosive radium projectiles. A variety of bombs are also used.
Radium rifles are an extremely deadly weapon with a range of 300 miles. They fire small calibre explosive radium bullets which explode when exposed to light. The bullets are covered with a thin coating that breaks on contact with the target, thus creating an explosion. This is the principal firearm used by the green men. Many models are equipped with wireless finders and sighters and the Therns or white Martians use a model with an attached shield. This lightweight weapon has a wood stock - a rare material on Barsoom - and a long metal barrel composed of a specially tempered alloy of aluminum and steel.
Radium Pistols are a firearms with a shorter range than the radium rifle.
Disintegrating Ray of Tul Axtar was invented by Phor Tak, the scientist of Jahar. It destroys metal, wood, or flesh, depending on the setting of the machine gauges. It is of a much shorter range than the radium cannon (FM)
Atom Gun was a pistol or rifle described in Giant of Mars.
Ghastly blue protective paint was later developed by Phor Tak to negate the effects of the disintegrating ray.
Phor Tak's Flying Death is a guided missile attracted to Tul Axtar's protective blue paint. The missiles were covered with invisible paint but were never used as they were destroyed by conquering Helium.
Invisible paint used on fliers as cloaking devices.
Magnetic tower of Kadabra - the Great Power, is a gigantic electromagnet. It gives Salensus Oll the power to desroy approaching air fleets. It is controlled by the technician Solan.
Carrion Caves are a series of 27 caverns connecting the hothouse cities of the North Pole with the outside world, beneath the ice cliffs. Here the yellow men of Okar bring their dead so that the stench will discourage any invasion of their territory.
Pumping Stations of the subterranean Omean Sea. The only entrance to the Omean Sea is through a crater opening in a flat-topped black mountain rising from the south polar ice cap. To keep it from filling above a certain level, the Black Pirates have four great pumping stations that force the oversupply back into the reservoirs from which the red men draw the water which irrigates their farm lands.
Advanced Mental Powers were developed by Lotharians who could create imaginary bowmen for defence.
Advanced Hypnotic Powers were developed by Kaldanes who could control others through mind control....continued in Part III... ERBzin-e 249
IMAGES OF BARSOOM II
Chessmen of Mars
Mastermind of Mars
Swords of Mars
To learn more about ERB's Barsoom, visit:
Huck's Barsoom Gazetteer & Glossary by J. G. Huckenpöhler
The Burroughs Crater on Barsoom
BILL HILLMAN .
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