Ras Thavas

Ras Thavas is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his 1927 novel The Master Mind of Mars. Within the narrative framework of the story he is an elderly Martian mad scientist of the city-state of Toonol, the "Master Mind" of the novel's title, skilled in the surgical transplantation of brains. He takes in protagonist Ulysses Paxton, an earthman newly arrived on the planet, and educates him in the ways of Barsoom, as Mars is known to its inhabitants.

Ras has perfected techniques of brain transplantation, which he uses to provide rich elderly Martians with youthful new bodies for a profit. Distrustful of his fellow Martians, he trains Paxton as his assistant to perform the same operation on him. But Paxton has fallen in love with Valla Dia, one of Ras' young victims, whose body has been swapped for that of the hag Xaxa, Jeddara (empress) of the city-state of Phundahl. He refuses to operate on Ras until his mentor promises to restore her to her rightful body. Ras agrees, and receives his operation. Now distrustful of his protege, the scientist plots to murder him, but Paxton escapes in the company of other experimental victims of the master mind and proceeds to Phundahl on his quest to retrieve Valla Dia's original body. Ras warns Xaxa against Paxton, but the group ultimately succeeds in kidnapping the Jeddara and reversing the brain exchange. Later Ras travels to Phundahl for aid in recovering his island laboratory, from which he has been expelled by soldiers from Toonol. He finds Xaxa overthrown and Paxton's ally Dar Tarus the new Jeddak. Tarus agrees to oust the Toonolians on the condition that Ras reform and cease trafficking in bodies.

Ras Thavas
Barsoom character
Amazing Stories Annual 1927
Cover of Amazing Stories Annual (1927), showing Ras Thavas, Valla Dia and Ulysses Paxton
First appearanceThe Master Mind of Mars
Created byEdgar Rice Burroughs
Information
GenderMale
NationalityMartian

Further Appearances

Ras later resurfaces in the later novel Synthetic Men of Mars (1939), by which time he has transferred his base to the dead city of Morbus in the Toonolian Marshes. There he has been experimenting in growing monstrous synthetic human beings called hormads. The most intelligent of these turn on him and force him to grow an army of hormads with which to conquer Barsoom. They also force their captive to transplant their brains into the bodies of imprisoned normal Martians. Ras's chance to turn the tables comes when the earthman John Carter, Warlord of Mars and prince of Helium, seeks his surgical aid for his wife Dejah Thoris, injured in an accident. Imprisoned with Ras, Carter and his companion Vor Daj plot with him against the hormads. Vor Daj is given the body of a hormad to spy on their captors; meanwhile, Carter and Ras escape, returning with a great fleet of airships from Helium. Vor Daj is recovered and Morbus, which has been overrun by a huge mass of cancerously growing hormad flesh, is destroyed with incendiary bombs. Ras then restores Vor Daj to his original body.

One hormad, Ras's pupil Pew Mogel, is later revealed in "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" (1940) to have escaped from Morbus and established a new base in the dead city of Korvas, from which he continues to plot world conquest using the scientific skills he gleaned from his mentor. His scheme is defeated by John Carter.

Ras Thavas also appears in L. Sprague de Camp's Harold Shea story "Sir Harold of Zodanga" (1995), in which he agrees to guide the world-hopping Harold Shea and his wife Belphebe on their quest to recover their kidnapped daughter Voglinda. As payment he seeks professional help from psychologist Shea; since Paxton transplanted his brain from his original aged body into his present young and virile one, he has had difficulty adjusting to changed societal expectations, not to mention the youthful urges of his new form. Over the course of their Barsoomian journey Shea counsels the irascible genius successfully. In turn, Ras helps Shea win a duel with an assassin by employing his superior mental powers to make the hired killer believe he is confronting six Harolds rather than one. He also uses his medical skills to save the life of their enemy Malambroso, who has been wounded by Belphebe.

External links

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.

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.

List of humanoid aliens

This is a list of humanoid alien characters who have traits similar to that of human beings including bipedalism, opposable thumbs, facial features, etc.

Sir Harold of Zodanga

Sir Harold of Zodanga is a fantasy novella by American writer L. Sprague de Camp, part of the Harold Shea series he originated in collaboration with Fletcher Pratt and later continued with Christopher Stasheff. It was first published in paperback by Baen Books in de Camp and Stasheff's shared world anthology The Exotic Enchanter (1995). It was later reprinted together with the remainder of the de Camp/Pratt Harold Shea stories in the collection The Mathematics of Magic: The Enchanter Stories of L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (2007).The Harold Shea stories are parallel world tales in which universes where magic works coexist with our own, and in which those based on the mythologies, legends, and literary fantasies of our world and can be reached by aligning one's mind to them by a system of symbolic logic. In "Sir Harold of Zodanga", in a new wrinkle, Shea visits a parallel Mars rather than a parallel Earth, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom.

Synthetic Men of Mars

Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939. The first complete edition of the novel was published in 1940 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Despite a successful career stretching back more than two decades, Burroughs had trouble finding a publisher for the serialized version of the novel. Both Liberty and Blue Book turned him down; Argosy was his third choice. He received US$1200 for the magazine rights.

The Master Mind of Mars

The Master Mind of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the sixth of his Barsoom series. Burroughs' working titles for the novel were A Weird Adventure on Mars and Vad Varo of Barsoom. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, on July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C. McClurg in March, 1928.

Burroughs had been unable to place the novel in his standard, higher-paying markets like the Munsey magazines and the Street & Smith line. Some critics have speculated the publishers were put off by its satirical treatment of religious fundamentalists. He eventually sold it to publisher Hugo Gernsback for $1,250: only a third of the rate paid by magazines like Argosy All-Story, where the previous book in the series had first appeared. Gernsback chose the novel's final title and made it the cover feature in his newest magazine.

Ulysses Paxton

Ulysses Paxton is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his novel The Master Mind of Mars. Within the narrative framework of the novel, Captain Paxton, United States Army Infantry, is a fan of Burroughs' Barsoom series, and after having a shell blow off his legs during trench warfare in World War I, he finds himself drawn across the gulfs of space to Mars (where his body is whole again) like John Carter before him. He sends Burroughs a first person manuscript of his adventures on the dying planet, which Burroughs publishes.

On Mars, Paxton is taken in by elderly mad scientist Ras Thavas, the "Master Mind" of the novel's title, who educates him in the ways of Barsoom and bestows on him the Martian name Vad Varo. Ras has perfected techniques of transplanting brains, which he uses to provide rich elderly Martians with youthful new bodies for a profit. Distrustful of his fellow Martians, he trains Paxton as his assistant to perform the same operation on him. But Paxton has fallen in love with Valla Dia, one of Ras' young victims, whose body has been swapped for that of the hag Xaxa, Jeddara (empress) of the city-state of Phundahl. He refuses to operate on Ras until his mentor promises to restore her to her rightful body. A quest for that body ensues, in which Paxton is aided by others of Ras' experimental victims, and in the end (and after meeting fellow Earthman John Carter) he attains the hand of his Valla Dia, who in a happy plot twist turns out to be a princess.

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