SYNTHETIC MEN OF MARS (1939) is the final actual novel of the series, has a new hero again, Vor Daj, and calls Ras Thavas back from retirement to make new mischief. The problem arises from Ras Thavas's attempt, Frankenstein-like, to create artificial life. He succeeds, but produces only monsters, who revolt and attempt to take over the entire planet.
Neither the most imaginative nor the best written of the Martian series, SYNTHETIC MEN is nonetheless a compelling story, sufficiently suspenseful and adequately packed with conflict and action to make it well worth reading.
The tenth book in the series, LLANA OF GATHOL, is not a novel but a collection of four novelettes, loosely intertwined. All are excellent, perhaps the best being a tale originally published as The City of Mummies, and called in LLANA The Ancient Dead. In it, scores of ancient Martians are discovered, preserved for millenia in a trance-like state, Awakened, they find their world gone, their city dead. It is a touching and melancholy scene, and marks a high point in a generally excellent book.
Finally, of course, the present volume, JOHN CARTER OF MARS, containing one unconnected tale and another which was intended as the opener of a new cycle of adventures, adventures fated never to be written.
A final note now concerning John Carter and the Giant of Mars. In the magazine version of two decades ago there were a number of footnotes, signed "Ed." It is not known today whether this "Ed." was Raymond A. Palmer, editor of AMAZING STORIES, or Edgar Rice Burroughs, who sometimes described himself as merely<<BackPagesTo menuNext>>