Edgar Rice Burroughs is beyond doubt
one of the most widely-read and enjoyed authors in 20th century literature.
An unassuming American writer, his tales have been translated into thirty
or more languages.... Burroughs' works have become literary classics. Formal
recognition of this fact came in 1962 when a study-edition of his first
story, A Princess of Mars, was published for British school use,
as one volume in a series comprising such native authors as Conan Doyle,
Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Shakespeare. and the publisher
who ranked ERB as the only American among this distinguished company was
none other that the venerable Oxford University Press. ... "He being dead
yet speaketh." And we shall not soon see his like again.
-- Reverend Henry Hardy Heins
- A Golden Anniversary Bibliography of ERB - 1964
Mr. Burroughs convinced me that I could talk with
the animals, even if they didn't answer back, and that late nights when
I was asleep my soul slipped from my body, slung itself out the window,
and frolicked across town never touching the lawns, always hanging from
trees where, even later in those nights, I taught myself alphabets and
soon learned French and English and danced with the apes when the moon
rose. But then again, his greatest gift was teaching me to look at Mars
and ask to be taken home. I went home to Mars often when I was eleven and
twelve and every year since, and the astronauts with me, as far as the
Moon to start, but Mars by the end of the century for sure.... We have
commuted because of Mr. Burroughs. Because of him we have printed the Moon.
Because of him and men like him, one day in the next five centuries, we
will commute forever, we will go away...And never come back....And so live
-- Ray Bradbury -- May
can remember as a child reading with breathless fascination the Mars novels
of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I journeyed with John Carter, gentleman adventurer
from Virginia, to "Barsoom," as Mars was known to its inhabitants. I followed
herds of eight legged beasts of burden, the thoats. I won the hand of the
lovely Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. I befriended a four-metre-high
green fighting man named Tars Tarkas. I wandered within the spired cities
and domed pumping stations of Barsoom, and along the verdant banks of the
Nilosyrtis and Nepenthes canals. Might it really be possible - in fact
and not in fancy - to venture with John Carter to the Kingdom of Helium
on the planet Mars? Could we venture out on a summer evening, our way illuminated
by the two hurtling moons of Barsoom, for a journey of high scientific
adventure? ... I can remember spending many an hour in my boyhood, arms
resolutely outstretched in an empty field, imploring what I believed to
be Mars to transport me there.
-- Carl Sagan -- Cosmos
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote "Dejah Thoris, A Princess of Mars" in 1911,
he had no idea that he was opening a new era in the science fiction field.
Over a period of thirty years, Burroughs wrote ten Martian tales...the
story of life and death, romance and tragedy on the Red Planet is undoubtedly
one of the greatest series of all time. Burroughs created a world of dead
sea beds, towering mountains, polar ice caps, underground rivers... he
peopled the planet with four different human races and one semi-human.
He gave Mars a history, several phases of civilization and an assortment
of religions. He added dauntless heroes, beautiful maidens, evil villains
and fearful monsters -- all the ingredients necessary for a series of thrilling
adventures on any world!
-- John Flint Roy --
A Guide to Barsoom - The Mars of ERB
Edgar Rice Burroughs' stories about Tarzan, John Carter
and David Innes were great. His characters are true classics...everything
I read in comics and books made me want a life of adventure. In that respect,
(they were) a motivating factor -- a strong one at that. And I can say
(that such) characters helped me be honest and morally strong. They were
good examples to emulate when you are growing up. The people who write
science-fiction stories are dreamers. They create the ideas from which
scientists begin their search. Just think what this country would be like
if we did not have writers who dream of making things better.... Without
the dreamers, our country could be in pretty bad shape. Science fiction
is the material from which dreams begin their initial journey to reality.
Without that first building block, we, as a nation, cannot advance and
we would eventually stagnate. A stagnating civilization will eventually
collapse in on itself. I would have never gone into space had it not been
for someone in the past who one day wondered if space travel was possible
-- that person dreamed the dream and I was very fortunate to be able to
fulfill his dream from long ago.
-- Terry Wilcutt - NASA
Astronaut and Shuttle Commander
Rice Burroughs (l875-l950) is known as the Grandfather of American Science
Fiction. He predicted the invention of radar, sonar, television, teletype,
the radio compass, the automatic pilot, homing devices on bombs and torpedoes,
genetic cloning, living organ transplants, antigravity propulsion and many
other concepts deemed totally fantastic in his time. His soaring imagination,
coupled with the sure instinct of a master storyteller, assures him a position
of honor among American writers of the twentieth century.
-- George T. McWhorter
-- Curator, Burroughs Memorial Collection / Editor: BURROUGHS BULLETIN
For years he thought himself a failure . . . then
he wrote a story. It sold and he wrote others and they too sold. Success
no longer eluded him. His romantic fantasies were transformed into a world
of vast adventure and excitement. He was imitated by many but none could
equal him; none could match that special quality that set him apart. For
each of those worlds he created was unique and fascinating and believable
in its own right."
-- ERB Creator of Tarzan
Website introduction, (www.tarzan.com)
The creations of Edgar Rice Burroughs continue to
live on in the imagination of his readers in a way that few authors ever
achieved. No matter where you go in this world, everyone knows of Tarzan.
The imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs is with us today and endures.
-- Robert B. Zeuschner,
ERB: The Exhaustive Scholarís and Collectorís Descriptive Bibliography
Edgar Rice Burroughs...could
pace, he was accessable, he was a brilliant inventor of languages, and
he told emotionally satisfying morality plays in an action/adventure framework.
He had the capacity to imagine fully-fleshed worlds by the carload. ...no
one since then ...has created a greater number of wildly popular imaginative
series. Yes, he was followed by many better, more subtle, more erudite
writers ...most of whom built upon his foundation...but...he was the first,
and he is still very readable and very popular, and what more need you
ask of a pioneer?
-- Mike Resnick -- The
Burroughs Style - A Writer's Analysis
Rice Burroughs was to become the acknowledged master of the scientific
romance. In stories of this nature, colourful adventure in the classical
sense is seasoned with just enough science to lend wonder and enchantment
to the background and locale. ...The rousing enthusiasm that greeted his
first novel, A Princess of Mars, was to usher in a golden era of
escape science fiction. Burroughs completely divorced the reader from association
with reality and carried him off to a never-never world of his own creating.
...He was a natural storyteller. His style never jarred. It flowed along,
quickly and smoothly, weaving the reader into the spell of the story. ...Literary
critics, judging ERB by absolute literary standards, have never been kind.
They have pointed out that his plots are repetitious, his prose construction
often hasty, with an overwhelming emphasis on action and violence and the
fact that some of his novels seemed to be a pointless procession of incidents
rather than a completely co-ordinated whole. Burroughs never denied the
charges and with almost a note of apology frequently explained that it
was his purpose to write for those who desired entertainment and escape
and that he expected his works to be judged by that standard. ...In all
the literature of mankind, only Sherlock Holmes is nearly as well known
as Tarzan. This popularity is justified. Tarzan of the Apes is a
great and fabulous adventure epic. ...it seems likely that at least Tarzan
will be printed and read long after many authors "with pointed messages
for our times" have been forgotten.
--Sam Moskowitz -- 1958
The novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs have acted as dream
catalysts, spanning the planet with an uncountable number of mind dramas.
...We have shared the dreams he invoked. In a very real sense the spirit
of that great Magician of Dreams pervades these pages. His magic took hold
of (our) minds...it has reached across the decades to draw us together....
We are fellow wayfarers. Sometimes, of course, the magic fails; and so
we have critics who look on in amazement at the phenomenon that is ERB.
The dreams have gone unrecognized, perhaps hidden behind failing of language
and character and plot -- dingy gold, cast aside for brass. The loss, of
course, is theirs. All man's works are flawed, if one looks closely enough,
and there is little to be gained -- much to be lost -- by judging a work
on its failing rather than its successes. Magic is fragile and does not
bear close scrutiny.
--Patrick H. Adkins --
Dream Vaults of Opar -- 1984