Callisto series

The Callisto series is a sequence of eight science fiction novels by Lin Carter, of the sword and planet subgenre, first published by Dell Books from 1972-1978. They were written in homage to the Barsoom and Amtor novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Volumes

  1. Jandar of Callisto (1972)
  2. Black Legion of Callisto (1972)
  3. Sky Pirates of Callisto (1973)
  4. Mad Empress of Callisto (1975)
  5. Mind Wizards of Callisto (1975)
  6. Lankar of Callisto (1975)
  7. Ylana of Callisto (1977)
  8. Renegade of Callisto (1978)
    Callisto Volume 1 (2000 - omnibus including Jandar of Callisto and Black Legion of Callisto)

Storyline

American soldier and helicopter pilot Jonathan Dark crashes in Cambodia near the ruins of the lost city of Arangkhôr. Exploring the ruins at night, he discovers a well-like structure at the center that teleports him to Callisto, one of the moons of Jupiter – or Thanator, as the moon is known to its inhabitants. There he encounters a human civilization originally linked to that of ancient Cambodia via the well. The inhabitants render his unfamiliar name as "Jandar." On Callisto, Jandar contends with monstrous creatures, savage insect men, barbarian hordes, sky pirates in flying ships, and the dangerous Mind Wizards of Kuur while seeking to rescue and win the heart of the beautiful princess Darloona of Shondakar (a homage to the similarly named Martian lost city in Leigh Brackett's The Last Days of Shandakor).

The texts of the first five volumes of the series are ostensibly transcripts of first-person narratives by Jonathan Dark recounting his adventures, written with native materials and transported back to Earth via the well. These come into the hands of Lin Carter, who "edits" them for publication. In the sixth novel, Carter himself visits Arangkhôr, falls into the well, and experiences a Callistan adventure as "Lankar." The remaining volumes, again purportedly by Dark, recount the stories of other protagonists. The chess-like Callistan game of Darza, depicted in Renegade of Callisto, was inspired by Edgar Rice BurroughsBarsoomian game of Jetan, or Martian Chess.

Setting

Thanator
Map of "Thanator, the Jungle Moon" by Lin Carter

Callisto is presented as having an Earthlike, even tropical environment, capable of supporting human and other life. An unexplained illusion makes the moon appear an airless, lifeless orb to outside observers. The moon is tidally locked to Jupiter, always presenting the same face to its mother planet. Callisto's known civilized area is limited to this side of the moon. The unknown outer hemisphere, partially explored in some of the later books, holds the stronghold of the hostile Mind Wizards.

Physically, Callisto's inner hemisphere, illuminated by Jupiter, is lushly vegetated, its land surface covered mostly by jungle and plain which drain into two seas, one large and one small. A number of inhabited cities of largely pre-technological culture are known. Visited portions of the darker outer hemisphere are barren and mountainous.

Reception

Reviewing the first three volumes, Lester del Rey found the series to be "fairly entertaining reading," but noted that Carter had "copied every trick of Burroughs, including those that are faults."[1]

To Den Valdron, assessing the books in ERBzine, the series "reads as inferior Barsoom." He views Jandar as "kind of an arrogant jerk ... a bit of an egotist ... constantly getting into trouble with half baked plans [from which he] is regularly rescued by his friends or saved by dumb luck." Valdron also criticizes the relationship of the hero and heroine, between whom he detects no chemistry. On the plus side, he calls the series's first trilogy "quite good," noting that "[t]he world and the hero are fairly vivid, the action moves quickly. It's hardly deep, but it is fun." The fourth and fifth volumes he sees as "high points" in the series, praising them as "rousing, fast paced adventure . . . filled with genuine tension and strangeness, and the cliff hanger ending as Jon Dark conceals his notes even as his pursuers close in on him is genuinely gripping." He is particularly impressed with the second of these, Mind Wizards of Callisto, which he calls "one of the best, or better of the Callisto books, with enough novelty and action, and genuine sexiness to keep things fresh all the way," though noting "for the record, not a single damned Mind Wizard actually shows up anywhere in this book." But the follow-up, Lankar of Callisto, he regards as "frankly embarrassing to read, what with its endless references to others' works, the obvious self consciousness and 'tweeness' of the author, and the fact that just about everything interesting happens offstage and to other people. It's an interesting conceit, but sadly it fails." He deems it "an odd novel, more travelogue than adventure, and Carter's constant references to other works of fiction are a bit annoying ... [and suggest] a painful lack of imagination." He finds the plot and action thin, and the author an inadequate action hero, pointing out that "the 'dog' that adopts him does practically all the work." The seventh volume is "[b]etter ... [and] Carter makes a real effort to keep the pages turning. But sadly, he offers nothing new and nothing remarkable, [and] the plot is thin with complications literally shoehorned in." The eighth book Valdron views as "somewhat of a recovery" from the previous two weak entries, finding it "acceptable, even good."[2]

References

  1. ^ "Reading Room", If, June 1973, pp.169-70
  2. ^ Valdron, Den. "Lin Carter's Callisto Series (Part 1 of a series of 12)" in ERBzine 1731.

External links

Air pirate

Air pirates (also known as sky pirates) are a type of stock character from science fiction and fantasy.

Barsoom

Barsoom is a fictional representation of the planet Mars created by American pulp fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The first Barsoom tale was serialized as Under the Moons of Mars in 1912, and published as a novel as A Princess of Mars in 1917. Ten sequels followed over the next three decades, further extending his vision of Barsoom and adding other characters. The first five novels are in the public domain in U.S., and the entire series is free around the world on Project Gutenberg Australia, but the books are still under copyright in most of the rest of the world.

The Barsoom series, where John Carter in the late 19th century is mysteriously transported from Earth to a Mars suffering from dwindling resources, has been cited by many well known science fiction writers as having inspired and motivated them in their youth, as well as by key scientists involved in both space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life. Elements of the books have been adapted by many writers, in novels, short stories, comics, television and film.

Black Legion of Callisto

Black Legion of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the second in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in December 1972, and reprinted twice through January 1974. The first British edition was published by Orbit Books in 1975. It was later gathered together with Jandar of Callisto into the omnibus collection Callisto: Volume 1 (2000). The book includes an appendix ("A Note on the Thanatorian Language") collating background information from this and the previous volume.

Callisto

Callisto may refer to:

Callisto (mythology), a nymph

Callisto (moon), a moon of Jupiter

Callisto (moth), a genus of moths in the family Gracillariidae

Callisto (Xena), a character on Xena: Warrior Princess

"Callisto" (Xena: Warrior Princess episode)

Callisto (comics), a fictional mutant in X-Men

Callisto Corporation, a software development company

Callisto series, a sequence of novels by Lin Carter

Callisto (band), a band from Turku, Finland

Callisto, a novel by Torsten Krol

Callisto, a release of version 3.2 of Eclipse

Callisto, an AMD Phenom II processor core

Callisto, a toy in the Mattel Major Matt Mason series

Callisto (organization), a non-profit organization

Jackie French bibliography

This is a list of books by Australian author Jackie French (born 1953).

Jandar of Callisto

Jandar of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the first in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in December 1972, and reprinted twice through September 1977. The first British edition was published by Orbit Books in 1974. It was later gathered together with Black Legion of Callisto into the omnibus collection Callisto: Volume 1 (2000). The book includes a map of Callisto as envisioned in the story.

Jetan

Jetan, also known as Martian Chess, is a chess variant with unclear rules. It was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs as a game played on Barsoom, his fictional version of Mars. The game was introduced in The Chessmen of Mars, the fifth book in the Barsoom series. Its rules are described in Chapter 2 and in the Appendix of the book.

John Carter of Mars

John Carter of Mars is a fictional Virginian—a veteran of the American Civil War—transported to Mars and the initial protagonist of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories. His character is enduring, having appeared in various media since his 1912 debut in a magazine serial. The 2012 feature film John Carter marked the 100th anniversary of the character's first appearance.

Jupiter's moons in fiction

Jupiter's extensive system of natural satellites – in particular the four large Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) – has been a common science fiction setting.

Lankar of Callisto

Lankar of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the sixth in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in June 1975. It is noted for the author writing himself into the story.

Llana of Gathol

Llana of Gathol is a collection of four science fantasy stories by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, which were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941. The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948. It is the penultimate book in the Barsoom series and the last to be published during Burroughs's lifetime.

The stories in Llana of Gathol have a somewhat more humorous tone than earlier entries of the Barsoom series, and this book is considered to be an example of Burroughs engaging in self-parody late in his career.

Mad Empress of Callisto

Mad Empress of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the fourth in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in February 1975. It includes an appendix ("The Beasts of Thanator") collating background information from this and previous volumes.

Mind Wizards of Callisto

Mind Wizards of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the fifth in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in March 1975. It includes a map by the author.

Renegade of Callisto

Renegade of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the eighth and last in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in August 1978, and reprinted once, in November of the same year. A tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessmen of Mars, the book introduces the game of Darza, Carter's equivalent of Jetan (Martian Chess). An appendix ("Darza, The Chess Game of Callisto") details the rules.

Sky Pirates of Callisto

Sky Pirates of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the third in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in January 1973, and reprinted twice through April 1974. The first British edition was published by Orbit Books in 1975. It includes an appendix ("Glossary of Characters in the Callisto Books") collating background information from this and previous volumes.

Sword and planet

Sword and planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring humans as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand-to-hand combat primarily with simple melée weapons such as swords, even in a setting that often has advanced technology. Although there are works that herald the genre, such as Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac (1880) and Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905; published in the US in 1964 as Gulliver of Mars), the prototype for the genre is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs originally serialized by All-Story in 1912 as "Under the Moons of Mars".The genre predates the mainstream popularity of science fiction proper, and does not necessarily feature any scientific rigor, being instead romantic tales of high adventure. For example, little thought is given to explaining why the environment of the alien planet is compatible with life from Earth, just that it does in order to allow the hero to move about and interact with the natives. Native technology will often break the known laws of physics.

The genre tag "sword and planet" is constructed to mimic the terms sword and sorcery and sword and sandal. The phrase appears to have first been coined in the 1960s by Donald A. Wollheim, editor of Ace Books, and later of DAW Books at a time when the genre was undergoing a revival. Both Ace Books and DAW Books were instrumental in bringing much of the earlier pulp sword and planet stories back into print, as well as publishing a great deal of new, imitative work by a new generation of authors.

There is a fair amount of overlap between sword and planet and planetary romance although some works are considered to belong to one and not the other. Influenced by the likes of A Princess of Mars yet more modern and technologically savvy, sword and planet more directly imitates the conventions established by Burroughs in the Mars series. That is to say that the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, and while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used only in limited applications to advance the plot or increase the grandeur of the setting. In general the alien planet will seem to be more medieval and primitive than Earth. This leads to anachronistic situations such as flying ships held aloft by anti-gravity technology, while ground travel is done by riding domesticated native animals.

The Chessmen of Mars

The Chessmen of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fifth of his Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4, 11, 18 and 25, 1922. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C. McClurg in November 1922.

Ylana of Callisto

Ylana of Callisto is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the seventh in his Callisto series. It was first published in paperback by Dell Books in October 1977. Its working title was evidently Jungle Maid of Callisto, as announced in Locus #198, January 30, 1977; the title used appears to be a nod to that of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Llana of Gathol, a book in the Barsoom series that inspired Carter's Callisto books. The character of Ylana, however, was established in Mind Wizards of Callisto, an earlier volume in the series. The novel includes an appendix ("The Men of Thanator") collating background information from this and previous volumes.

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