“John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood” — cover and blurb, (revised)

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Thanks to everyone who contributed to the rewrite of the back-cover blurb for John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. Here is a revised version reflecting all the inputs, which were great. I think virtually every note has been implemented in some fashion. A word about Rosetta Stone. I’m pretty sure Andrew Stanton was the one who came up with that, not me. Disney used it at least once or twice in their promotions. But I was moved by Jeselle’s  “focus group” info in which she ran it by eight people ages to 40 and only the 40 year old kinda sorta “got it” as to what I was trying to say. At the end of the day it’s all about actual communication, not wordplay, and cornerstone is perfectly clear and gets the idea across, perhaps with not as much flair as ‘Rosetta Stone’ — but it communicates.

Thanks to everyone who caught my lame use “storied” twice in one sentence. That was just a mistake — brain spasm.

I hope everybody likes the Abbet artwork from “John Carter of Mars”, the 11th book in the series that just happens to have the name of the movie (well, sort of), and which for me is a hoot. I mentioned this on the other thread, but it looks like the hand of the gods is coming down on a ray of Hollywood searchlight and is about to grab John Carter and crush him. But he’s got his sword out, his wits about him, and is thinking ‘I still live!”. I also like the way this one lets me use a landscape version, more like a movie screen, and place it higher atop the stairway to the Hollywood gods. Anyway, that’s my pitch as to why I like this better. Apologies to my hero, J. Allen St. John. I’ve put the St. John on the back.

Here it is as it stands now. Welcome more notes and especially proof-reading as I am lame at that.  Click to see it full sized.


  • First paragraph: Shouldn’t it read “…was the best selling author of the twentieth century…” rather than “…best selling author of twentieth century…”?

  • “There’s also the question of putting the author’s name on the spine, though I suppose that isn’t required.”

    …ooohhh… second that. Must have name and title on spine (and remember, library call number stickers go on the bottom of the spine, at about the level of the barcode. )

  • I love the front cover art you chose – it’s perfect! I like cornerstone because it sounds very authoritative.
    In paragraph 3, is “history” supposed to be in the last sentence twice? And I had to google the word “commensurate” to understand the sentence, but that’s not your fault! Now I know a new word, and I see why you are using it.
    Just one more **personal opinion** …I..dont… like… the APOM cover by Frank Schoonover _….. there is said it – Sorry to everyone! I probably wouldn’t have read APOM originally if that was what it looked like. But Michael Whelan’s book covers now those pulled me in, they are super modern and COOL!

  • I love the new cover image, that was the cover of my copy of John Carter of Mars way back when. And so spot on appropriate. As for Rosetta Stone, cornerstone, etc.,… cornerstone is appropriate, and so is Rosetta stone, albeit slightly obscure, unfortunately. Foundation, wellspring, source of inspiration, seminal work, birth, lots of directions you could go – it IS about communication after all. Webster’s definition of Rosetta stone, #2 – “one that gives a clue to understanding.”

  • Sorry to harp on one word, but, consider fountainhead or wellspring vs. cornerstone. . . as writers and directors are STILL going back to the original source for ideas first conceived by ERB 100 years ago. This denotes a starting point which than fanned out vs. something which was built upon and remains in the same vein. That make any sense?
    Anyway, not Rosseta Stone.

    Also, I don’t think you should be using a semi-colon after “ It examines the story itself ; ” This indicates what follows relates to the ERB story, instead of what your book is examining, which is the original story, Burroughs’ vision, Stanton’s choices, and the marketing campaign.

  • The cover is really appropriate! It could also be the hand of one of the giant white apes of the movie, too.

    I will miss the “Rosetta Stone” though. The quote was written in numerous articles and indeed attributed to Andrew Stanton. “Cornerstone” is good, but I don’t think it has the same impact, and I miss the historical significance that the expression “Rosetta Stone” carries. But that’s just me.

    There a whole number of cornerstones, there’s just one “Rosetta Stone”!

  • Looks good!

    A few more thoughts:

    First paragraph – “the best selling author of (the) twentieth century”

    Third paragraph – Is “refuse to give up on Stanton’s rendition” simply a statement of support for the current film, or also a comment on the pursuit of a sequel? If it is about the pursuit of further films, does it maybe sound too much like the fans are focused exclusively on Stanton’s renditions? That IS the main focus, but isn’t it essentially “more Barsoom films” that people are asking for, whether that is a Stanton sequel or a reboot? Many of the fans may not be specifically thinking of a reboot just yet, but things will likely end up having to go that direction. OR, if you’re just saying that the fans are persisting in their support for the current film, and the statement isn’t about “what’s next”, then it might be clearer to say that the fans “refuse to (turn their backs) on Stanton’s rendition”.

    Fourth paragraph – Now the word “legacy” is in that sentence twice! 🙂 For the first instance of the word, it could be changed to “transform the (reputation) of the film…”

    Another detail – will the text on the spine be clear enough if it is printed over the graphic? As is, the “Gods of Hollywood” part somewhat blends in with the gold stand and seems to spill over onto the red carpet. If you think this is an issue, maybe use a black background for the spine and use a general starry background for the whole back side around the box of text?

    Hope that helps…

    Thank you for your continuing efforts to bring us what will be a special and useful book!

  • Oh yes, this! While I love the St. John piece, I think this one is catchier and your description on how it works is dead on. Glad to see the word “tragically” gone. Let’s face, the fans that loved the movie still got a great movie, and I usually reserve that word for well, truly tragic events.

  • I think the high-falutin’ term you’re looking for is “ur-text.” Makes you sound all fancy and smart!

    That’s it — ur-text!!

    Mmmm…probably not. But I’ll never forget that one. Takes me all the way back to some pretty miserable graduate seminars…..;-)

  • “At the end of the day it’s all about actual communication, not wordplay, and cornerstone is perfectly clear and gets the idea across, perhaps with not as much flair as ‘Rosetta Stone’ — but it communicates.”

    I think the high-falutin’ term you’re looking for is “ur-text.” Makes you sound all fancy and smart!

  • Really like what you’re saying with the movie screen style cover. That must be Rich Ross’s hand.

    One more alternate for “the Rosetta Stone / cornerstone of modern science fiction” — the Genesis of modern science fiction. Genesis clearly communicates origin, and has some flair. It also connotes “first book”.

    A couple alternates for “storied history” since the word “story” is used in other paragraphs to refer to a book – celebrated history…, fabled history…

    One comment that goes to intended audience on “Burroughs’ tales of Barsoom…”. Someone who hasn’t read APOM wouldn’t know what Barsoom means if they read just the back cover. Not sure if it’s worth changing to Mars for non-ERB readers.

    Looking forward to a great read!!

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