CHAPTER THREE – MY ADVENT ON MARSI opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I was not asleep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I……Springing to my feet I received my first Martian surprise, for the effort, which on Earth would have brought me standing upright, carried me into the Martian air to the height of about three yards. I alighted softly upon the ground, however, without appreciable shock or jar. Now commenced a series of evolutions which even then seemed ludicrous in the extreme. I found that I must learn to walk all over again, as the muscular exertion which carried me easily and safely upon Earth played strange antics with me upon Mars….[two paragraphs later he hears a sound and turns to discover….]
On such a little thing my life hung that I often marvel that I escaped so easily. Had not the rifle of the leader of the party swung from its fastenings beside his saddle in such a way as to strike against the butt of his great metal shod spear I should have snuffed out without ever knowing that death was near me. But the little sound caused me to turn, and there upon me, not ten feet from my breast, was the point of that huge spear, a spear forty feet long, tipped with gleaming metal, and held low at the side of… this huge and terrific incarnation of hate, of vengeance and of death. The man himself, for such I may call him, was fully fifteen feet in height and, on Earth, would have weighed some four hundred pounds. He sat his mount as we sit a horse, grasping the animal’s barrel with his lower limbs, while the hands of his two right arms held his immense spear low at the side of his mount; his two left arms were outstretched laterally to help preserve his balance, the thing he rode having neither bridle or reins of any description for guidance.
And his mount! How can earthly words describe it! It towered ten feet at the shoulder; had four legs on either side; a broad flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root, and which it held straight out behind while running; a gaping mouth which split its head from its snout to its long, massive neck.
- Does the story hold your interest?
- Would you recommend it to your friends?
- Do you want to read the next book in the series? Will you read it?
- What characters do you like best?
- What characters do you like least?
- What scenes are most memorable?
- Which planet do you think the author prefers — Barsoom or Earth? Why?
- Think about the female characters Dejah Thoris and Sola, and compare and contrast them to female characters in modern day books you have read. What is different about they way they are presented? What is the same?
- How is the culture of the Tharks (the green Martian clan that Tars Tarkas and Sola belong to) different from early human cultures (i.e. Native American, Aboriginal, or early African cultures)?
- Do you think the science of Barsoom in 1865 is more advanced that that on Earth today? Or is Earth more advanced?
- There is much discussion on Earth about climate change and the problems it presents. What is the cause of climate change on Barsoom — and what is the solution?