There are some works that you read and five minutes later have forgotten
they exist. I keep those in the bathroom to keep busy when I am.
Then there are those that get your blood flowing, those that give you
an sense of anticipation, a desire to remain awake until the wee hours
of the morning as you promise yourself, just one more chapter than I'll
put it away.
It is these later works that include such writers as Robert E. Howard,
H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Howard's Conan was the
typical anti-hero. Earthy and with a rude set of morals that meant
that if you were with him and the crypt opened, you couldn't be certain
that he'd run and leave you behind or take you with him. Conan often
got the girl but he'd probably dump her a chapter later. But his
adventures were, nevertheless, so good that you couldn't wait for the next
Burroughs' John Carter, is the polar opposite. The ideal hero
who, when the white apes attacked, you knew he'd stand between you and
them. You knew that Carter would get the girl and you knew that she'd
still be there, awaiting rescue in the next volume and still you waited
anxiously for the next book in the series.
It is these emotions that Howard, Haggard and Burroughs evoked in the
reader that made them so popular. Conan was so beloved that other
writers continued the adventures, writers such as de Camp, Lord, Roberts,
Jordan and many others. Shelves are filled with books about our favorite
barbarian, yet, John Carter, Tarzan, David Innes are lacking. Why?
Phillip Jose Farmer has done a couple Tarzan ? Opar novels, but aside from
a very few others, the field is notoriously lacking.
We want to know what happened after. We want to read more adventures.
Yet with the exception of a few fan-fic writers (among which I include
myself), the adventures are lacking.
Perhaps this is because ERB, Inc. is hesitant to allow others to write
less-than-exceptional works. Perhaps so few of us can capture the
moods inspired by the Master. Perhaps we don't know where to place
our hero. The latter is slowly being answered by many who are attempting
to re-create, or expand upon the worlds of Barsoom, Pellucidar, Amtor,
Pal-ul-Don. Expansions that we do for the love of the genre, yet
expansions that we also use as background for our own feeble and not-so-feeble
attempts to continue the works.
I, myself, along
with Den Valdron,
and others are attempting to produce an encyclopedia
(as it were) of the Worlds of Burroughs,
worlds in which we can, hopefully inspire others to continue to write.
Hopefully reading about the Barsoom
Timeline, the structure of Pellucidar, the Geography
of Barsoom, the sociology of the Weiroo
will encourage others to write, to feed our thirsting souls with continuing
adventures set on those worlds and lands we grew to love.
But in the meantime, I have questions to ask, questions that hopefully
will inspire someone to take up quill and answer.
What did John Carter do during those ten years between the winning of his
Princess and his return to Earth?
Why did Ras Thavas turn from a physician to a mad scientist? What
caused him to become the cynical man we so love to hate?
What caused Ras Thavas to become exiled from Toonol and to take up residence
in the swamp?
Why did Carthoris leave Helium while his father was on Earth and why did
his family allow him to leave at such a young age?
When John Carter mentions that he encountered adventure and danger during
his travels in one of the novels, dangers and adventures that he chose
to not describe, what were they?
The armies and Navies are filled with men fighting for their Princess in
the service of John Carter. Surely they have stories to tell?
What of the other wars that happened before John Carter arrived?
What about the people of U-Gor, faced with a runaway population and dwindling
food resources, a Malthusian microcosm. What were their stories as
they saw their impending doom? Did any escape?
Pankor, the Red City in the Arctic. How did that come to be and what
of the people within?
One madman returned from Dor. He had a story or nightmare and horror,
of the knowledge of his fate when he returned to Barsoom to speak the truth.
Yet he did so. His story would be magnificent.
And speaking of Dor, can we be certain that others didn't escape, choosing
silence over death?
Jetan represents the
Wars between the Yellow Races of the North and the Black Races of the South.
Surely there must be stories here.
And those who turned aside to the Valley of Lost Souls. Their constant
fight for survival against White Ape, Plant Man and the occasional attack
by Thern and Black Pirate. Surely these have stories?
Zodanga sought to conquer Helium. Many, nay most of the Jeddak's
soldiers were good men who were bound by honor to follow a mad-man.
What of their stories? Why did they follow a madman and how did they
justify their decisions?
That soldier who killed the Sith in the Koal Forest. He rode from
the pages of history but has he not a history himself?
And the rise of Tur as it spread across Phundahl? Some must have
fought that? What of the followers of Issus and those of Tur as they
sought domination of Phundahl?
What of the Hormad menace in the Toonol Marsh? Could some not have
escaped and perhaps forced Phundahl and Toonol into a temporary alliance
of sort to stop the mutual menace?
Why are the Green Men so established in the South hemisphere but making
only occasional raids into the north?
What adventures did Kar Komak endure after he escaped from Lothar?
And what of the woman his former Jeddak was seeking to create? What
of her life, of non-life as Tario brought her into existence, if only briefly?
What happened to her behind that locked door? Alone with a dead man whose
mind refused to end?
Much of Barsoom remains unexplored. Rather, the fight for bare survival
has caused the Red Men to ignore the changes to their world, to loose the
older records thus giving us a world ripe for a new Age of Exploration!
What adventures some explorer must have had as he sought to re-map his
And the Morgor War. Some stories have been written but there must
John Carter and Ulysses Paxton traveled to the red Planet. Others
must have. And some of these may have in the past and future.
What of their stories? Other Fan-Fic writers have mentioned such
events, but the stories are so lacking that we want more!
Gridley ? Tangor wrote a story of a nude model, murdered by her photographer
and then transported to Barsoom. What life did she live there?
How did she reconcile her past on Earth with her new life on Barsoom?
And how many other women, non-soldiers, traversed the void to the Red Planet?
What happens to a woman or a man, untrained in combat, upon a world where
the blade is often the only difference between life and death?
What of the Orovars, having settled the world, made peace with Yellow and
Black, forced the Green Men into the wastes. then watching their world
die. Knowing that the end of their race is at hand. What stories
accompanied the fall of Barsoom as those few who could see vainly sought
to convince the blind of their fate?
And the Green Men, they too have stories. Native to Barsoom, seeing
their world taken by immigrants, being pushed into the deserts. Watching
their way of life change. Can they not speak?
Tars Tarkas and Gozava. Surely that was a tragic love story to match
Romeo ? Juliet. What of their life and love and her eventual death?
The year Dejah Thoris spent in the Temple of the Sun. What did she
And how did Thuvia manage to survive as a plaything of the Therns for so
long? Some say she remained there a few years, others imply she was
centuries old. Surely the BD/SM crowd know what she suffered.
Who was the last Orovar or his Red man descendant to finally leave the
Dead City he once called home? How did he survive in the new world
which all he knew gone?
What of the Black Races who settled Omean and Kamtol. Do they not
have stories too? Those who turned to piracy, those who left Omean
to found Kamtol?
A thousand years ago, the first aerial battleship was launched to orbit
Barsoom endlessly. What did the crew undergo as they saw their hopes
for survival vanish?
When Ras Thavas experimented with brain transplants, was he already a cynical
monster or did he have ethical concerns about his work? And who was
his first successful transplant?
Someone paid Ras Thavas a lot of money to transplant their brain from an
aging, ravaged husk into that of a young, healthy person (man or woman).
How did they convince their family that they were the same person?
Who really assassinated the guardians of the Atmosphere plant? And
And those three brothers who aided John Carter in the first novel, did
they regret their kindness?
And there are other worlds as well.
What caused the priesthood of Pal-ul-Don to gather so much power?
And once Tarzan, Dor-ul-Otho outlawed human sacrifice and brought peace,
what happened then?
What is Bu-Lur like with both Ho-Don and Waz-Don living together in peace?
Are there not stories in Cathne, Athne, Nimmr, Castrum Mare and other of
the Lost Cities of Africa?
That giant of a Spaniard whose bones were discovered by Tarzan, his story
must have been equal to any written by Haggard.
How did the Romans fight their way to Africa and what stories caused the
rifts in so many of these lands?
Who else discovered Opar?
And that British engineer who became prisoner of the Bolgani of the Valley
of the Palace of Diamonds, what is his story?
Did the pigmies of the Valley of the Palace of Diamonds manage to retain
power or were they overthrown by the Bolgani?
What of La? Her early life and sufferings as she grew to adulthood?
She loved Tarzan without a doubt, did she not have a life without him?
Especially when she was forced to marry Cadj?
There were battles on the Moon as the Kalkars rose to power. What
of that battle?
When we read any of the novels of the master, we see dozens of stories
lived by minor characters, incidents that were integral or peripheral to
the story at hand but incidents that the Master chose to ignore.
Do these not cry out for the telling?
To date I have collected a total of 57 stories based upon the Barsoom
of the Master. Of these, 57% have been written by five people, myself
included. Surely there are more people out there with some literary
ability? Surely there are women who can write tales of Barsoom by
and about women? Why are the stories of women on Barsoom always
written by men?
There are sites where we who remain unpublished, may post their stories
for the enjoyment of all.
Bill Hillman's ERBzine
as well as my own
RikJohnson's ERB site
plus a few others, others that started out to satisfy us yet faded
Answer the call to adventure!
Read the encyclopedias of Barsoom and the other works of the Master.
Pour over the maps, the articles and let your imagination move the quill.
Our souls await!