The anthology “Under the Moons of Mars” has just been published — it’s comprised of a number of new John Carter and Barsoom stories.
Here is Eric Holland’s review:
==Metal Men of Mars==
The anthology starts off pretty strong with this story, there are only minor continuity errors, it is a fun read but really it is a little short. It succeeds in capturing the burroughs style but not to maximum effect, the events are a little bit sluggish, and the lack of naming things (especially the titular metal men) makes me feel less invested in the story than I wanted to be, it really should have gone on longer! I could easily have read a full book with the theme of this short story.
As for the opening illustration, it doesn’t do it for me, the thigns descriped in the story are very detailed, and I would have loved to see something we would be seeing more in the story. The opening illustration could have been much better.
This story is pure brilliance, a wonderful look at green martian and barsoomian culture. It doesn’t feel quite like burroughs’ writing but to its benefit! This story is pure awesome! And it was just the right size!
I don’t understand the opening illustration at all though, it seems kind of phoned in and generic . . . it has nothing to do with the story as far as I can tell.
==The Ape-Man of Mars==
This story is written well, but like all tarzan and John Carter crossovers, it relies a bit too heavily on the novely of “Look they are standing next to each other”. It feels a bit phoned in and obvious, and to be blunt it’s been done before! John Carter just gets in the way of Tarzan having his own adventure on Barsoom. Everyone acts completely out of character, John carter is the most offensive variation of the character I have ever seen, he is a crazed Yosemite sam type character who taunts and harasses Tarzan, the treatment of John Carter is plain offensive. As well the implications that tarzan and Dejah Thoris had romantic feelings budding was offensive to both tarzan and Dejah Thoris’ Character. This stories purpose seems to be to say “John Carters suxxors and Tarzans for teh everz”, well written but terribly offensive!
The illustration for this story, is amazing! It has extreme attention to detail and is utterly beautiful. It is better than the story that it is a part of, I wish so badly that this artist hadn’t drawn for this story!
==A Tinker of Warhoon==
This story like the others is well written, but the content here is bland. It has some interesting characters but they don’t use any time to develop them. It is just bland, there are not many new concepts or ideas
the illustration fits the story . . . because it is also bland!
==Vengeance of Mars==
This story is a serious downer, this one is only written in an “ok” style its writing didn’t do much for me. The story itself provides a unique and interesting look at the enemies of John Carter, but it is way more depressing than most barsoom stories. Additionally, the story seems slightly rude to John Carter as a character.
I don’t think the illustration is that great, I don’t think the artists style matches the story at all.
The writing style here I don’t really like, but the story more than makes up for it. Its unique and interesting to read, but a lot of the information it provides isn’t new, just familiar with a different perspective. There is a lot of a thing named, but few things described in this story, so I don’t feel as connected to these new plants and animals as I wish I was. It’s a great story it really is! This story could have been a whole book!
I have no complaints about the illustration other than the inaccurate number of legs on the calot in it (I have yet to see the accurate number of legs portrayed in this book).
==The River Gods of Mars==
Now this story is very interesting, it has a great writing style and I love the content. It is not burroughs typical style of writing, and references to modern things (bruce lee films) drag it down a bit. There are some thing named in the story, that don’t have convincing martian names to me but I got over it. Well written story, but it has obvious weakness’ obvious enough to overlook, continuity errors are a bit heavy too but easy enough to overlook. It does seem to lose focus.
The illustration for this story is amazing, enigmatic, inspiring, intimidating . . . and it is pure barsoomian awesome!
==The Bronze Man of Mars==
This story is boring, slow, and undetailed. It offers almost nothing new, it creates an interesting character, with some interesting concepts and then trudges slowly through the story, with seemingly little understanding of what barsoom is.
I guess the drawing is good for the story then, because it is exactly that, boring, undetailed, and with no understanding of barsoom. And it has a huge distracting word slapped into the middle of it for no reason. It depicts an inconsequential scene that has nothing to do with the story.
==A Game of Mars==
This story is supposed to be a sequal to “The Chessmen of Mars” and it completely lacks any understanding of anything that happened in the book. I am positive that the author has not read the book, at the very least not within the decade. The writer thinks for some reason that Manator was a Kaldane city, and he totally warps the mythology Burroughs has created, he identifies the lush and fertile lands of bantoom as desert, and the kaldanes as brains in jars. It is insulting to read this story, and the writer of it should be ashamed of himself. For all of its faults, it is written in a readable way . . . There is too much wrong with it though!
The illustration is disgusting and horrifying, and it makes me feel slightly dead inside. I don’t know how this insane image came to be associated with Barsoom! I understand what it is trying to depict, but clearly the artist has never even heard of Barsoom.
==A Sidekick of Mars==
I don’t understand this concept! Appearently John Carter had a sidekick, nothing new happens in this story and the writing makes the character obnoxious. I don’t like this story its . . . not . . . right, and mildly insulting to Burroughs and Carter. The lowest point of the story is when it goes out of its way for no reason to make Dejah thoris seem like a bad person . . . I don’t get why someone thought this story needed to exsist!
Illustration here looks phoned in, human fighting a thark . . . seen it . . . a million times before!
==The Ghost that Haunts the Superstition Mountains==
This story has cool concepts and ideas, and is very well written. It starts off on Chapter 2 which is weird to say the least! I felt myself wanting more from this, and I hope that I get more in the future! It is a good story and I am happy that I read it.
The illustration is really cool, really detailed, It is fun to look at and has a unique and very interesting depiction of a green martian.
==The Jasoom Project==
YES, I get the title and what it is referencing. Let’s not talk about that though and just focus on the story itself, it seems to be the longest story in the entire book. This was a solid story, it has good ideas that it sticks with and is consistent. It had more time than the other, and it used it well. It has great continuity with Burroughs series, even the stories in the anthology (this story has a strong connection to the bronze man of mars). It has a great ending, and I absolutely need more!
The illustration is great, it depicts a scene from the book in a wonderfully artistic and awesome way, it is wonderfully barsoomian feeling and it adds to the story in its own ways!
==Coming of Age on Mars==
This story is really good, it delves into the life of a thark, it provides a very poetic and detailed look at how the green martians lives are. It was beautiful, and if this story was alone in this anthology it would have still been worth the price! I am happy to have read it, and the meta-aspects of it were akin to those that burroughs used, the writing herself into the story was brilliant!
The illustration here is surreal! It showcases the events of the story in a beautiful way, it doesn’t try too hard to be accurate or depict thigns realistically. I love this illustration, but not everyone will.
==The Death Song of Dwar Duntha==
Final story in the anthology, does it end on a high note, sort of! The Jasoom project would have been a better place to end, but this story is also good. This story doesn’t suffer from an association with John Carter, in fact its association with John Carter is brilliantly used. It tells of the last great battle of barsoom before peace takes over . . . it is such a bittersweet ending, but hopelessly distant in the future that it doesn’t hurt the world of barsoom . . . It made me feel a wide array of emotions. It was a good ending, but it makes you feel sad that it did end . . .
Its illustration is a brilliant compliment to the story, no other thoughts on it other than that, Briliantly perfect!
My final thoughts, despite obvious problems with a lot of the stories it is a solid anthology, I desperately hope for a sequel anthology! I highly recommend this, my only problem with it is that it focused too much on John Carter, it could have benefited from more elaboration (and the complete discarding of “A Game of Mars”)! High points of this anthology, the Jasoom projects story, the song of woolas naming things, the attention to detail in the metal men, and the ending of the death song will live in my heart forever. The low points, the disrespectful depiction of the characters of Tarzan, John Carter and, Dejah Thoris in sidekick and apeman, the shameful blandness the tinker of warhoon and bronze man, and the crap factory that is “A Game of Mars”.
It more than satisfied a desperate thirst I had for New Adventures on Barsoom!