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New Treasures: The Library of America’s A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes

Monday, April 16th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

a-princess-of-marsSo yeah, I saw John Carter. And I liked it. Liked it enough that I went twice, actually. Been a while since I did that.

Still looks like it’s going to be the biggest box office bomb of the year, but these things happen. Doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. And let’s face it — it’s helped introduce a whole new generation to the classic science fantasy of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

And not just all those young punks playing video games who don’t read books anymore.  I’m talking about a great many supposedly well-read science fiction and fantasy readers who never bothered to give ERB the time of day.

People like, y’know, me. For instance.

Sure, I’m fairly well read in SF and fantasy. And I have a (nearly) complete set of Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books in paperback, picked up here and there at garage sales because I liked the covers. But Burroughs just never really appealed to me in my youth, and I never bothered to read them.

I loved the colorful action-adventure of the great pulp serials, but the mid-1930s was about as far back as I went.  Give me Asimov, van Vogt, Clifford D. Simak, Charles Tanner, H.P. Lovecraft. But if you appeared before they did — if your name was H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, or Edgar Rice Burroughs, for example — then you were just old.

Well, it’s never to late to correct past mistakes. Especially when The Library of America is making it easy with two beautiful keepsake volumes celebrating the centenary of Burroughs’ most famous creations: Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars.

tarzanBoth volumes feature cover designs replicating the original hardcover releases, high quality sewn bindings, original illustrations, and new introductions. John Carter is introduced by Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Tarzan by Thomas Mallon, author of Dewey Defeats Truman.

A Princess of Mars was originally serialized (as Under the Moons of Mars) in The All-Story magazine between February and July 1912. It was retitled A Princess of Mars for its first hardcover appearance in October 1917, published by A.C. McClurg & Company.

Tarzan of the Apes originally appeared in All-Story in October 1912; it was first published in hardcover in 1914.

Both volumes of the new Library of America editions went on sale April 12, 2012 for $20 each.

These hardcover facsimile editions are compact and beautiful. Although these’s no details on additional volumes in the marketing literature LoA sent along, they refer to them as “Inaugurating an occasional series devoted to the major characters of American popular literature.”

So maybe that means there will be additional Burroughs volumes published. Cross your fingers.

In the meantime, you can certainly enjoy these. I know I am.

4 Comments »

  1. […] Black Gate (John ONeill) on New Treasures: The Library of America’s A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes. […]

    Pingback by SF Tidbits for 4/17/12 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog - April 17, 2012 1:07 am

  2. My personal favorite of this massive reprinting flood of a now “Public Domain” work now that a cruddy movie is in the theaters is the Fall River version.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/john-carter-of-mars-a-princess-of-mars-the-gods-of-mars-the-warlord-of-mars-library-of-wonder-edgar-rice-burroughs/1108481118?ean=9781435137363

    Why?

    Well at $12.98 from Barnes and Noble you get the first three books, Princess, Gods, Warlord and there are TONS of good Illustrations! New ones too and lots of them, not just mmmaybe one or two plates with a public domain illustration. Cheap but decent hardcover, part of their pile of “Classics” or whatever.

    So, instead of if you are just going to download the text, perhaps format it yourself for your nook/tablet, and want to buy someone else’s use of this work, I suggest this. The reason for it is that they clearly love the work, they aren’t just excreting something to cash in. They put a lot of new work into this book out of love and respect for it.

    I’m all for that. I plan to print Robert E. Howard’s “The Purple Heart of Erlik” in issue 3 or so of my magazine, clearly public domain now as legally published/printed before that Mickey Mouse threshold, but I’ll add to it with good illustrations and not use it to sacrifice “New” material. I’m even tempted to make New “Erlik Khan” stories though IMO he’s just REH’s “My Fu Manchu like character” and perhaps I’ll make up my own.

    My only complaint, though this goes to ALL of these books, they are all printed in CHINA… I mean, is there any way any more to get a book printed in the USA!? I do want eventually to publish my writings, my magazine in physical print should it prove feasible, but I want it in AMERICA printed. I mean, really, there has to be some place you could place an order for books and I don’t mean vanity press but print several thousand copies that uses modern computers so you can submit files and charges a competitive rate.

    Comment by GreenGestalt - April 18, 2012 12:13 am

  3. Hi Green,

    There are certainly plenty of ways to get a book printed in the US. Every issue of Black Gate magazine was printed here — at A to Z printing in Skokie, IL.

    Some publishers choose to print in China because it’s the only way to get costs low enough to make business sense. I suspect that why B&N did it, and why the book was so inexpensive. But since it can take 4-6 months to ship books back to the US, it doesn’t make sense for everyone.

    Congratulations on getting your magazine close to completion. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding an American printer.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 18, 2012 1:14 am

  4. […] we cover last time? Been so long I barely remember. Well look at that — it was a handsome pair of novels from The Library of America. By coincidence, The Library of America also published the book I want […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » New Treasures: Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s & 50s - April 24, 2012 7:59 pm


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