Fourteen swashbuckling new adventures extend the exploits of John Carter and his descendants on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ version of the Red Planet.
Poised to catch any wave of interest (or at least publicity) that may come along with the release of the film John Carter, the collection features the eponymous Civil War vet and other characters from the original series facing a typical array of multi-legged monsters, multi-armed warriors, defeated adversaries rising again and weird remnants of ancient science. Highlights include: Tarzan walk-ons in stories by Peter S. Beagle and S.M. Stirling; an account of a drunken thoat-lifting contest in Garth Nix’s hilarious “Sidekick of Mars” that somehow never made it into the canon; a tale from Chris Claremont that transplants Carter, Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas to Jasoom (Earth); and the valedictory “Death Song of Dwar Guntha,” (Jonathan Maberry) about one last great battle before planet-wide peace breaks out. Written in prose that evokes the sweep of the originals (“And as the moons sailed through the black ocean of the sky, John Carter, Warlord of all Barsoom, sang of the last charge of the great Free Riders. And such a tale it was….”) and with a full page image of a well-armed (in more ways than one), often scantily clad figure in each, these pay fitting tribute to a gifted pulp writer.
Plenty of sword work and old-style action-adventure, with the occasional clever spin. (foreword by Tamora Pierce, story introductions, author bios, Barsoomian Gazetteer) (Science fiction short stories. 11-13)