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Re: [barsoom] Book tie in

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  • Den Valdron
    I actually haven t read it, and I apologize if I gave that impression.   Basically, its a factory product, nothing more, nothing less, filled with the usual
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 29, 2012
      I actually haven't read it, and I apologize if I gave that impression.
       
      Basically, its a factory product, nothing more, nothing less, filled with the usual suspects.


      ________________________________
      From: Darren Bulmer <mancerbear@...>
      To: barsoom@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:34:27 PM
      Subject: Re: [barsoom] Book tie in


       
      I too have been reading this anthology. While I commend the authors and the artists their effort, I’m finding the anthology to fall short in some cases. The art, in general is good, but deviates in some cases a lot from Burroughs’ descriptions. This I can live with. It’s the short stories that I am having a problem with. In general, they’re ok at best. At worst I am led to ask if the author has actually read any of the Mars books before penning their tale. Male green men tooling around with machines (surely that’s a green woman’s work), men killing women and visa versa (what’s happened to Barsoomian honour), John Carter being a jerk and a boor... and this all in the first 4 tales. I am disappointed so far, but will continue reading the book, if for nothing else but to find inspiration for my Under the Moons of Mars role playing game.

      The above, of course, is just my opinion. Take it or leave it as you wish.

      Darren Bulmer

      From: Den Valdron
      Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 12:02 PM
      To: barsoom@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [barsoom] Book tie in

      anthology of new Barsoom stories, presumably meant as a tie-in to the upcoming film?

      The whole book is 352 pages long, including acknowledgments, author bios, and a twenty page glossary, but not counting the Foreword by Tamora Pierce and Introduction by John Joseph Adams, the editor.

      There are fourteen stories by:
      -Joe R. Lansdale
      -David Barr Kirtley
      -Tobias S. Buckell
      -Robin Wasserman
      -Austin Grossman
      -L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
      -Genevieve Valentine
      -Garth Nix
      -Chris Claremont
      -S. M. Stirling
      -Catherynne M. Valente
      -Jonathan Mayberry

      Each story has one illustration, each by a different artist.

      So far I have read the Foreword by Tamora Pierce; the Appendix (yes I read the appendix first) "A Barsoomian Gazetteer, Who's Who and What's What on Mars" by Richard A. Lupoff; the Introduction by the editor John Joseph Adams; "The Metal Men of Mars" by Joe R. Lansdale, with an illustration by Gregory Manchess; and "Three Deaths" by David Barr Kirtley with an illustration by Charles Vess. I have no recollection of having read/seen anything by any of these, asides from Tamora Pierce, although the names Lansdale and Vess seem familiar for some reason.

      Anyways, the Foreword and Introduction are basically the sort of meaningless fluff you'd expect. The Appendix seems pretty thorough, although it's far from encyclopedic, has a few inaccuracies (I think), and includes some stuff that has no relevance to Barsoom, but presumably to some of the stories in the anthology.

      "The Metal Men of Mars" is about John Carter, feeling bored hanging around Helium, heading of by himself in hopes of finding adventure, and running into a city full of steam-powered golden cyborgs led by a mad scientists. It's a nice little piece, with a few errors (referring to John Carter as the Jeddak of Helium, f'r instance), but it's fun and ERB-esque, with cool imagery and action scenes. It's a bit rushed though, which I suppose is inevitable given the format, but still...

      "Three Deaths" is about a Warhoon who fought John Carter and survived, but with two of his arms cut off. The story forgets that the middle limbs of Green Men are not actually arms, but some kinda arm/leg hybrid, but everyone makes that mistake, so meh. Well-written, with an interesting idea and a good execution, although the protagonist is more human-like than IMO he should be.

      John Carter's OOCness was annoying (he's buddies with Ulysses Paxton, who's a full on Yankee; him being a jerk to Tarzan cuz England didn't support the CSA makes no sense), leading to it being my least favorite story thus far. Which just about covers my thoughts on that story (which for those of you who haven't read the book), entitled "The Ape-Man of Mars".

      Next up is "A Tinker of Warhoon", by Tobias S. Buckell, telling the tale of a young Warhoon who's good with machines, but not so good at fighting. Fairly generic, doesn't really make sense, and yet I absolutely loved it.

      After that is "Vegeance on Mars" by Robin Wasserman, explaining what Sarkoja did after Tars Tarkas exiled her, and how she attempted to take her revenge on John Carter. Very nice character piece, doing the very nifty tick of having her come off as moderately sympathetic without making her any less of a monster.

      Then came "Woola's Song" by Theodora Goss. It's in the form of Woola telling a bunch of other calots how he came to be John Carter's faithful companion, and of what happened between John Carter being caught by the Warhoons and their reunion. Very nice piece, even though the calots are anthropomorphized.

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    • Peter Huston
      Thanks for the complete and thorough well-done review.  Joe Lansdale is a quirky author with a very loyal cult following. I am among his fans and read as much
      Message 2 of 18 , Mar 1 4:00 AM
        Thanks for the complete and thorough well-done review. 
        Joe Lansdale is a quirky author with a very loyal cult following. I am among his fans and read as much of his stuff as I can, although most of it does not remind me of ERB at all. He may best be known as the author of the story which inspired the film "Bubba Ho-tep." I'm surprised that you found inaccuracies in his Barsoom piece as he has often written of his love of ERB and says "Princess of Mars" is the one book that most inspired him to write his own works later. In fairness, I consider myself a loyal fan of Barsoom and if given the chance would have jumped to contribute to something like this and, yet, after seeing your review realize that I, too, might have made similar mistakes. (I've read all the books, some more than once, however do not claim to have all the canonical details memorized, therefore I suspect people on this list would catch some minor errors. When I saw your criticism I went "hold it, wasn't he jeddak of helium? Uhhhh, guess not. I
        guess he was warlord of the planet instead.) Actually much of his stuff, for whatever reason, does seem "rushed" (I would have said "unpolished" but will accept your term) It's just part of his style and to his fans eventually just becomes part of his charm, believe it or not. Much of his stuff has this strange, in-your-face sort of sensibility, dark humor and crudeness about it and his not for everyone. But he is a devoted ERB and Barsoom fan and also finished an unfinished ERB Tarzan novel.       
        Thanks for including the review of Dora Goss's story. 12 years ago I attended a writer's workshop with her and although I do not actually read her stuff (it's just not the sort of stuff I read) I do think she is a very skilled and talented writer and an intelligent lady whose opinions should be considered carefully (although we often disagreed on things). I was SO intensely jealous when I heard she had a piece in this anthology, although I also think she deserves every bit of her success. She's worked hard at it and remained focused on her writing. 
        Peter Huston    

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      • Den Valdron
        It s not my review as I ve said, I just reprinted.   Look, basically the way these anthologies work is that a publisher or an editor gets an idea.  Say
        Message 3 of 18 , Mar 1 6:20 AM
          It's not my review as I've said, I just reprinted.
           
          Look, basically the way these anthologies work is that a publisher or an editor gets an idea.  Say 'Robin Hood in Outer Space'.  Or there's a movie tie in  "More Moons of Mars".  Or a 'War of the Worlds' anthology, based on the book, while the movie is coming out.
           
          So what happens then is that the Editor goes around and solicits name writers, usually the Editors own circle of friends or contacts, to write stories.  Occasionally there'll be a few empty slots for submissions, but I think there's less and less of that.  Most of it is a closed shop.
           
          The writers are usually competent, with a track record.  They're current.  On the other hand, this is minor commissioned work, so basically, what they do is either a quick knock off, or they'll  take something else they've got but couldn't sell, do a quick fix up and a new coat of paint, and sell that.  
           
          Unless they screw it up badly and turn in something unreadable, they're pretty much guaranteed their slot in the anthology.  It's all about filling the pages, and sticking name brands on.  It's not about quality.
           
          They're not going to read or re-read the Burroughs series, that's more time than the project justifies.
           
          Most stories in anthologies of this sort tend to be sub-par.  So it goes.  I'm sorry if that's negative, but that's how it is.  By the time the movie is out of theatres, the hardcover of this anthology will be on the remaindered shelves.
           
          I've read a lot of Lansdale, I find him hit or miss, but recognize that he's got his own vein of work, and his own themes and subject matters.  Basically crime dramas and 'weird west'.  I started off with Lansdale's 'Drive In' novels, and I've read his comics and his 'Bob the Seal' steampunk.   His venue is basically punks who get in over their heads, accompanied by wistful regret.  He delights in presenting situations that are weird, surreal/silly over the top weird, ridiculous weird, but dealt with straight on by his characters.   Not a lot of women in Lansdale's work.  Not a lot of authentic relationships or close bonds.  Mostly, you've got guys thrown together.  Not a lot of character development, Lansdale's 'punks' are almost entirely reactive, confronting situations with their own personal resources.
           
          As for Theodora Goss, fucked if I know anything about her.  She may be a good writer.  She may not be.   I honestly can't say.  I can't say if her style or area of work is right for this anthology, and I can't say whether her story is good, crap, mediocre or just out there.   And that's the kindest thing I'll say.
           


          ________________________________
          From: Peter Huston <hamchuck.1234@...>
          To: barsoom@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 6:00:27 AM
          Subject: [barsoom] Re: Book tie in


           

          Thanks for the complete and thorough well-done review. 
          Joe Lansdale is a quirky author with a very loyal cult following. I am among his fans and read as much of his stuff as I can, although most of it does not remind me of ERB at all. He may best be known as the author of the story which inspired the film "Bubba Ho-tep." I'm surprised that you found inaccuracies in his Barsoom piece as he has often written of his love of ERB and says "Princess of Mars" is the one book that most inspired him to write his own works later. In fairness, I consider myself a loyal fan of Barsoom and if given the chance would have jumped to contribute to something like this and, yet, after seeing your review realize that I, too, might have made similar mistakes. (I've read all the books, some more than once, however do not claim to have all the canonical details memorized, therefore I suspect people on this list would catch some minor errors. When I saw your criticism I went "hold it, wasn't he jeddak of helium? Uhhhh, guess not. I
          guess he was warlord of the planet instead.) Actually much of his stuff, for whatever reason, does seem "rushed" (I would have said "unpolished" but will accept your term) It's just part of his style and to his fans eventually just becomes part of his charm, believe it or not. Much of his stuff has this strange, in-your-face sort of sensibility, dark humor and crudeness about it and his not for everyone. But he is a devoted ERB and Barsoom fan and also finished an unfinished ERB Tarzan novel.       
          Thanks for including the review of Dora Goss's story. 12 years ago I attended a writer's workshop with her and although I do not actually read her stuff (it's just not the sort of stuff I read) I do think she is a very skilled and talented writer and an intelligent lady whose opinions should be considered carefully (although we often disagreed on things). I was SO intensely jealous when I heard she had a piece in this anthology, although I also think she deserves every bit of her success. She's worked hard at it and remained focused on her writing. 
          Peter Huston    

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