Under the Green Star - Warning - Spoilers!!!
- It's been about five years since I last re-read the "Green Star" series and
then one day last week, it hit me. I HAD to read this incredible series again
and so I began with volume 1 (of 5) "Under the Green Star."
But before I get to the story proper, I'd like to mention the five plus page
Epilogue titled "Author's Note on the Burroughs Tradition" by Lin Carter.
Though situated at the end of the book, I read this first. How ERB first wrote
and sold "Under the Moons of Mars" to "All-Story Magazine" in 1911 begins the
essay and it expands to how Carter discovered Barsoom as a lad down in St.
Petersburg, FL. Further on he discusses other works and authors of the
Interplanetary Adventure (or Romance) genre and his own role as an author. The
difference between influence and imitation is weighed with kudos to Norman's Gor
books (first five only, I hope), Farmer's "The Wind Whales of Ishmael (one of
my all-time favorites) and Leiber's "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold." Carter
hopes that "Under the Green Star" will be as accepted as ERB influenced and
not an imitation.
I believe that he did in fact accomplish this. Carter admits that his
upcoming Callisto books were written in the Burroughs style but not "Under the
Green Star," claiming instead to have utilized "a crisp, vivid style A la A.
Merritt prose." To my untutored eye, I see nothing of Merritt but plenty of Lin
Carter who combines adventure with a suitable dose of humor, akin to his
Zanthodon books (which appeared later in the seventies and early eighties.)
If I were to find a Carter/Burroughs connection, aside from writing
Interplanetary Adventure tales, it would be that the World of the Green Star (WotGS)
has many geographic and plot similarities with ERB's Amtor. In both, the hero
(unnamed on the WotGS) and Carson Napier on Amtor or Venus) from Earth lands
on the portion of the cloud-shrouded planet rearing city-bearing forests
with a civilization or city (the Laonese of Phaolon on tWotGS) and the Vepajans
of Kooaad on Amtor) in dire need of succor. And naturally, there is a
princess (Duare/Niamph) to be saved and her heart and hand won.
Further, both Carson Napier and Lord Chong (Chongaphon tai-Vena-Vena) soon
fall from a tree and are saved by the web of a giant spider (xoph on the World
of the Green Star and targo on Amtor). It is later learned that these
gigantic forests cover only a small portion of the planet and the action does extend
to oceans and far-off lands. The geography of both planets seem compatible.
So much so that I bet Den Valdron could write an essay claming that both
worlds are in fact, one and the same. Naturally the difference in solar systems
would have to be explained...
But now, onto the story it self. By now, it is probably noted that neither
our adventurer from Earth or the planet he visits, are named. Only the
astrally/spiritually inhabited body of the in stasis hero (Lord Chong) is named and
Carter keeps referring to the planet as the World of the Green Star. Strange
that not one civilization would have a name for their world. Reminds me of
Andre Norton's Witch World in this regard.
The adventurer is a polio stricken man from Conneticut (near New Haven), who
manages to find the secret of astrally projecting his spirit to Mars and
later, the World of the Green Star, which beckoned to him like Barsoom did to
John Carter and Antares did to Dray Prescot.
Some of what our hero experienced during his search and before leaving our
solar system is worth mentioning. Carter speaks of an ancient Earth, before the
rise of cities like Ur, of kingdoms such as Egypt and even civilizations
like Atlantis. It is the Uighur Empire of Asia he refers to and the book "Kan
Chan Ga" is a remnant of that empire, as are some of the remote Tibetan
lamaseries, one of which the book was "loaned" from. It appears that Carter was a
political conservative as he writes decisively about the Red Chinese conquest
of Tibet and later (in the Callisto books), the communist actions in Cambodia.
Not surprising, he was in Korea when the red hordes poured south...
To be continued. Darn it, I was in a groove but a couple of buddies just
called from a bar.
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> To be continued. Darn it, I was in a groove but a couple of buddiesLift one for us.
> just called from a bar.
And I look forward to reading more. I'm finally reading _Journey to
the Underground World_, and will soon be able to say what I think of it.