eBook “Of Mars and Men” : John Carter’s demise at the hands of the Gods of Hollywood and how fans are fighting to save him!

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UPDATE:  This is moving very quickly, and today we decided to move the release date up to May 30, 2012 — and change the title to HOLLYWOOD vs MARS.  See new draft artwork below, which is still work in progress.

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a documentary film entitled 100 Years of John Carter, so I have been deeply immersed in  the study of the long history of the property that would eventually, in 2007, become the basis for Disney’s JOHN CARTER, which we have all been following on this blog for some months now.  The documentary is going to take a while to finish — and in the meantime I have been doing a series of Special Reports here which have led me to conclude that it’s time to “go for it” and complete an EBook that dissects this story — and get it out just before the DVD comes out on June 5.   Fortunately, the research and much of the writing is done — so while the timetable is tight, well — there’s nothing like writing to a deadline.


What will the book cover?

The first third will cover the backstory — the writing of Under the Moons of Mars; Burroughs success with the series magazines — but difficulties in finding book publishers willing to publish Tarzan and the Mars series.  There will be a section on the early art and illustration, and an overview of Burroughs story and his writing, culminating in his death in 1950 at which point his books were selling more than Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner combined; had been translated into 58 languages; and Tarzan was the world’s most famous literary character.  This section will cover the Clampett animation experiment that almost made A Princess of Mars the first animated feature.  It will then go on and trace the various efforts to develop the property into a film in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s; the Ace and Ballantine paperbacks and their influence on writers, scientists, and film-makers.

The second third (this one is probably more than a third — almost half)  will cover the entire Disney story from the first phone call from Andrew Stanton to Dick Cook in 2006, to the theatrical release and aftermath.  It will follow both the production story (some of which has been published already in rough form in my Special Reports), and the creative story — the quest to adapt the film, the challenges faced, and the strategies employed.  It will cover the critical response; the response from Burroughs faithful; and it will end with an acknowledgment of the emergence of a motivated and activist fan base.

The final section will examine the evolving alliance between fans, film-makers, and ERB Inc and their efforts to change the negative narrative that has sprung up around the film.  It will examine social media and its effect on fan activism, and attempt to get at what it is about Burroughs and Stanton’s Barsoom that has spawned, so quickly, a fervent fan base for a film that is better known as the flop of the century.

A big part of what convinced me this is a worthwhile endeavor has been the reaction to the Special Reports — I really would like to thank the regular readers and commenters on this site, and ask you to keep the dialogue going and continue helping me with your comments.  I may be asking some of you to expand some of your comments with the goal of incorporating them into the book.   This includes the both the “friendlies” out there, and those whose point of view differs from mine.  Much of this book will be journalistic in nature, meaning it will be neutral as opposed to polemical, and where appropriate will present opposing views.  My commentary will be part of it, but much of it will be simply an attempt to get at the truth of what happened.

There is an old expression — something about tossing your hat over the fence.  The theory is, once you do that, you have no choice but to climb the fence.  By announcing this now, I’m basically tossing my hat over the fence.  There is no turning back; the timetable is set and I’m going to make it happen.  Your help and encouragement is much appreciated as I’m sure I will falter a few times … but come June 1, the first edition will be available and it will  be thorough, well-researched — and I hope compelling.  This is a story that has grown bigger than our little circle of fans.  It’s now a Hollywood story of substantial proportions — they’ve been making movies for more than a 100 years and this is the biggest financial failure of them all.  It’s also a film that was 100 years in the making, and there aren’t many with that kind of history.

So there’s much to write about.  Onward.



  • I look forward to reading this. I only hope it’s in a format I can read on my
    Linux box.

    — Brian

  • I am so ready to read this book. Congratulations! It is always exhilarating to watch POLITE, organized, intelligent fans take on the studios and ptbs. Not many held out hope for Star Trek when it was new………

  • sounds facinating Michael, and youre going for it with your alter ego eh? all the best with this, thanks

  • If you want a french translator, call me! 🙂

    Will there be a mention, even brief, of Asylum’s Princess of Mars? Do you cover the never filmed screenplays? I would very much know more about them.

  • Excellent news about the book. Your publishing deadline is timely as well. I hope you’ll consider using smashwords in addition to amazon for publishing, that way all formats for ereaders will be covered and people can find your book on a variety of platforms.

  • Rebecca

    I was looking up average prices for e-books and it’s $6.48 for kindle and $8.94 for nook. Not sure what price point you’re looking for. What are the average prices for books of the same genre as yours? How long is the book (approximately)? I say $6.95, but that’s just me. Definitely no less than $5.

    Interesting — also the graph you sent separately showing 5.99 is a sweet spot. It seems like you either go low at 2.99 or medium at 5.99. The book is pretty substantive and is going to be at least 120,000 words — 350 pages — so it’s not a little thing.

  • I was looking up average prices for e-books and it’s $6.48 for kindle and $8.94 for nook. Not sure what price point you’re looking for. What are the average prices for books of the same genre as yours? How long is the book (approximately)? I say $6.95, but that’s just me. Definitely no less than $5.

  • HRH …
    Ha! I posted it within five minutes of seeing your comment. Loved it. Send me tips anytime…… much appreciated.

  • I did NOT know about your e-book or documentary film entitled “100 Years of John Carter”. I am surprised and delighted. No wonder you know so much, you’ve been researching it! I have to say it would be GREAT to have your film included in any future “Director’s cut” version of “John Carter of Mars” DVD / Blu-ray.
    Thanks for taking this back to Hollywood.

  • What e-readers will have it available to them and what’s the cost?

    All the main ones — Kindle, Nook for sure. It will be available through the iBook store as well. I haven’t figured out about the cost, but it will be “priced to sell”, not sit on the shelf! I have to do some consulting with the experts on that. What do you think would be a good price for it?

  • Dotar! Michael! Awesome! I know your book will be INCREDIBLE and I know at least 1000 people who will buy it:) On with the marketing…. my big mouth will start blabbing about it to all who have ears… NOW.

  • I’ll read it since so far all of your articles have been interesting, if maybe to Pro-Stanton. But at least at heart is in the right place so I’ll give it a go when it comes out. (Even though I don’t have an ereader. I’m still an old fashioned hard copy book type of guy myself).

  • Dotar..a big thankyou for putting this all together..it is so appreciated. You are the best!

  • Dotar, I nominate you for the Barsoomian Medal of Honor for action above and beyond the call of duty and your love for a character and author that had such a major inspiration on my life. You have become a hero to me.

  • Bravo! This needs to be done, and you’re the one to do it. Can’t wait!

  • In life, it it always difficult to see something so dear to your heart fail…if it is justified, you can accept it. To realize the greatness of John Carter, and to watch it executed the way it was is so painful..this film was never given the chance to succeed. To sway Hollywood mentality toward this movie is important. John Carter has touched my soul in so many ways. What movie does that? Thank you for writing this ebook. Together, those of us who “get” it will continue our journey. John Carter WILL become the classic that it deserves to be. BARSOOM….

  • That’s great, I will read it wholeheartedly. It will be sad perhaps, in parts, because it’s also a tale of failure, in the short term only, hopefully. It will be too early perhaps to see the impact the home video release will have, as it will probably be significative, but it must be done. Keep on the magnificent work.

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