The Warlord of Mars

The Warlord of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The War Lord of Mars.

The finished story was first published in All-Story Magazine as a four-part serial in the issues for December, 1913-March, 1914.[1] It was later published as a complete novel by A. C. McClurg in September, 1919.

The Warlord of Mars
Warlord of Mars-1919
The Warlord of Mars
AuthorEdgar Rice Burroughs
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fantasy
PublisherA. C. McClurg
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Preceded byThe Gods of Mars 
Followed byThuvia, Maid of Mars 

Plot introduction

This novel continues where the previous one in the series, The Gods of Mars abruptly ended. At the end of the previous book, John Carter's wife, the princess Dejah Thoris, is imprisoned in the Temple of the Sun by the vile pretender goddess Issus. It is said one has to wait an entire Barsoomian year before the room the prisoner is in revolves back to the entrance.[2]

Plot summary

After the battle at the end of the previous book, which ended with the destruction of the religion of Issus, John Carter's wife and two other women were locked in a slowly rotating prison attached to the Temple of the Sun, each of whose hundreds of cells are only open to the outside world once every year. In the meantime, Carter's friend Xodar has become the new Jeddak (chief or king) of the black Martian First Born, and those white Martian therns who reject the old religion likewise gain a new unnamed leader, but there are still some who wish to keep the old discredited religion going, including the therns' erstwhile leader, the Holy Hekkador Matai Shang. John Carter discovers that a First Born named Thurid knows the secret of the Temple of the Sun and he and Matai Shang want to rescue the Holy Thern's daughter Phaidor, who has been imprisoned with Dejah Thoris and another Barsoomian princess, Thuvia of Ptarth, in the Temple jail for several hundred days.

Thurid, to spite Carter, gets Matai Shang to also take Dejah Thoris and Thuvia along with them. Carter follows them in the hope of liberating his beloved wife.

His antagonists flee to the north, taking the three women along. (This resolves the cliffhanger from the previous book, in which Phaidor attempts to stab Dejah Thoris; apparently, Thuvia successfully disarmed Phaidor, and nobody was killed.) In the equatorial Land of Kaol, on the opposite side of the planet from Helium, their jeddak Kulan Tith has not yet abandoned the old religion, and accepted Matai Shang's request for safe haven. Carter rescues the jeddak's forces from an ambush, and is admitted to Kaol, as a neighboring jeddak and good friend of his comes for a visit with his huge retinue. Matai Shang and Thurid unmask Carter's disguise and denounce his heresies, but the visiting jeddak, Thuvan Dihn of Ptarth, who is Thuvia's father, hotly defends Carter. Kulan Tith orders Matai Shang to deliver Dejah Thoris and Thuvia, but instead, he and Thurid take the women and flee to the north. After this treachery against his friend, Kulan Tith finally abjures the old religion and offers whatever help he can to Carter and Thuvan Dihn, but little can be done at this point.

Thereafter John Carter follows them untiringly into the north polar regions where he discovers more fantastic creatures and the nearly forgotten Yellow Martians, who live on the north polar cap behind a ring-shaped ice barrier. After traversing through the Carrion Caves which cross the barrier, Carter and Thuvan Dihn encounter Talu, the rebellious nephew of the tyrant Salensus Oll, who rules the yellow Martians' realm of Okar from the city of Kadabra. Talu provides Carter and Thuvan Dihn with advice and assistance, including disguising the two as yellow Martians. They infiltrate Salensus Oll's court, but Thurid and Matai Shang discover Carter, and have him thrown into a pit. Carter escapes thanks to help from one of Talu's moles in the court. Carter rescues Tardos Mors and Mors Kajak of Helium, triggering a rebellion among the Heliumite prisoners, which turns into a full-fledged invasion after Carter deactivates the yellow Martians' magnetic tower that wrecks invading fleets so Helium's fleet can land safely, carrying a volunteer force of Green Martians headed by Tars Tarkas as well. After a tremendous battle, Salensus Oll is killed, and Thurid and Matai Shang are forced to flee. In a dramatic scene, Carter follows them onto an airship, over a chasm. First, Matai Shang is tossed overboard by Thurid and killed, then after Thurid attempts to do the same to Carter, he is knifed and thrown overboard by Phaidor. Lastly, Phaidor announces to Carter that she repents of her jealousy, and recognizes the love that Carter and Dejah Thoris have for each other, and throws herself overboard in reparation for her sins before Carter can stop her.

Afterwards, in a continuation of Zat Arrras' trial, Carter is instead proclaimed "Warlord of Barsoom" by his allies. This book is the last to feature Tars Tarkas, John Carter's ally, in any major role; indeed, the green Barsoomians of whom Tars Tarkas is an oligarch disappear altogether from most of the later novels.


All story 191312
The Warlord of Mars was serialized in All-Story Magazine in 1913-14
  • John Carter: Protagonist of the first three novels. Carter is an American Civil War veteran, transported to the planet Mars by a form of astral projection. There, he encounters both formidable alien creatures and various warring Martian races, wins the hand of Martian princess Dejah Thoris, and rises to the position of Warlord of Mars.
  • Dejah Thoris: A Martian Princess of Helium, who is courageous, tough and always holds her resolve, despite being frequently placed in both mortal danger and the threat of being dishonored by the lust of villains. She is the daughter of Mors Kajak, jed of Lesser Helium and granddaughter of Tardos Mors, jeddak of Helium; highly aristocratic; and fiercely proud of her heritage.[3] She is the love interest of John Carter.[4] She was imprisoned by the Martian false deity Issus, at the end of The Gods of Mars.[2] A central character in the first three Barsoom novels, whose capture by various enemies, and subsequent pursuit by John Carter, is a constant motivating force in these tales.
  • Tars Tarkas: A Green Martian, who becomes the ally of John Carter and at his behest, the overlord of his clan. An archetypal noble savage, and considered John Carter's first and closest friend upon Barsoom.
  • Thuvia of Ptarth: A Princess of Ptarth, who appears in The Gods of Mars as a slave girl rescued by John Carter from the Therns. She is later imprisoned with Carter's wife Dejah Thoris, in a prison which can only be opened once per year and remains by her side until the conclusion of The Warlord of Mars.[5] Like many of Burroughs' heroines, she is tough, courageous, proud, and strongly identified with her aristocratic position in Martian society.[6]


The novel can be classed as a planetary romance, also known as "Sword and planet".[7] This genre is a subset of science fiction, similar to sword and sorcery, but including scientific elements. [8] Most of the action in a planetary romance is on the surface of an alien world, usually includes sword fighting, monsters, supernatural elements as telepathy rather than magic, and involves civilizations echoing those on Earth in pre-technological eras, particularly composed of kingdoms or theocratic nations. Spacecraft may appear, but are usually not central to the story.[7]


Scientific basis

Burroughs' vision of Mars was loosely inspired by astronomical speculation of the time, especially that of Percival Lowell, who saw the planet as a formerly Earthlike world now becoming less hospitable to life due to its advanced age, whose inhabitants had built canals to bring water from the polar caps to irrigate the remaining arable land.[9] Lowell was influenced by Italian astronomer, Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli, who in 1878, had observed features on Mars he called canali (Italian for "channels"). Mistranslation of this into English as "canals" fueled belief the planet was inhabited.[10] The theory of an inhabited planet with flowing water was disproved by data provided by Russian and American probes such as the two Viking missions which found a dead, frozen world where water could not exist in a fluid state.[9]

World of Barsoom

A million years before the narrative commences, Mars was a lush world with oceans. As the oceans receded, and the atmosphere grew thin, the planet has devolved into a landscape of partial barbarism;[11] living on an aging planet, with dwindling resources, the inhabitants of Barsoom have become hardened and warlike, fighting one another to survive.[12] Barsoomians distribute scarce water supplies via a worldwide system of canals, controlled by quarreling city-states. The thinning Martian atmosphere is artificially replenished from an "atmosphere plant".[13]


The world of Barsoom is divided by the territory of Black, Green, Red, Yellow and White skinned races. Each has particular traits and qualities, which seem to define most individuals within them. This concept of race is more like a division between species than ethnicity.[13] The Warlord of Mars introduces the Yellow Martians, supposedly extinct, whom John Carter finds in secret domed cities at the north pole. They are black-bearded, exceptionally cruel, and keep slaves, acquiring these by using a giant magnetic device which sends fliers off course, and allows the Yellow Martians to capture the occupants.[5]


The copyright for this story has expired in the United States and, thus, now resides in the public domain there. The text is available via Project Gutenberg.


  1. ^ Sampson, p. 182.
  2. ^ a b Porges, p. 163.
  3. ^ Holtsmark, pp. 28-9.
  4. ^ Holtsmark, p. 22.
  5. ^ a b Bleiler & Bleiler, pp. 98-100.
  6. ^ Holtsmark, pp. 29-30.
  7. ^ a b Westfahl, p. 37.
  8. ^ Harris-Fain, p. 147.
  9. ^ a b Baxter, pp. 186-7
  10. ^ Seed, p. 546.
  11. ^ Bainbridge, p. 132.
  12. ^ Sharp, p. 94.
  13. ^ a b Slotkin, pp. 203-5.


  • Bainbridge, Williams Sims (1986). Dimensions of Science Fiction. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-20725-4.
  • Baxter, Stephen (2005). Yeffeth, Glenn, ed. H.G. Wells’ Enduring Mythos of Mars. War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic. BenBalla Books. ISBN 1-932100-55-5.
  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 68.
  • Bleiler, Everett F.; Bleiler, Richard (1990). Science Fiction, the Early Years. Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-416-4.
  • Harris-Fain, Darren (2005). Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction. Univ of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-585-7.
  • Holtsmark, Erling B. (1986). Edgar Rice Burroughs. Boston: Twain Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-7459-9.
  • Porges, Irwin (1975). Edgar Rice Burroughs. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press. ISBN 0-8425-0079-0.
  • Sampson, Robert (1984). Yesterday's Faces: A Study of Series Characters in the Early Pulp Magazines. Popular Press. ISBN 0-87972-262-2.
  • Seed, David (2005). A Companion to Science Fiction. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-4051-1218-2.
  • Sharp, Patrick B. (2007). Savage Perils. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3822-X.
  • Slotkin, Richard (1998). Gunfighter Nation. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3031-8.
  • Westfahl, Gary (2000). Space and Beyond. Greenwood Publishing Groups. ISBN 0-313-30846-2.

External links

A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It was first serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine from February–July, 1912. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal instance of the planetary romance, a subgenre of science fantasy that became highly popular in the decades following its publication. Its early chapters also contain elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were widely popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Norman. The series was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who read A Princess of Mars when he was a child.


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.

Dejah Thoris

Dejah Thoris is a fictional character and princess of the Martian city-state/empire of Helium in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. She is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son Carthoris and daughter Tara. She plays the role of the conventional damsel in distress who must be rescued from various perils, but is also portrayed as a competent and capable adventurer in her own right, fully capable of defending herself and surviving on her own in the wastelands of Mars.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the jungle hero Tarzan, the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter and the fictional landmass within Earth known as Pellucidar. Burroughs' California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Edgar Rice Burroughs bibliography

The following is the complete bibliography of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The titles are listed chronologically as written.

Electric Head, Pt. 2 (The Ecstasy)

"Electric Head Pt. 2 (The Ecstasy)" is the second official single from the Astro-Creep: 2000 album by the heavy metal band White Zombie. A remix version of this song was the first track on the 1996 album Supersexy Swingin' Sounds.

Gardner Fox

Gardner Francis Cooper Fox (May 20, 1911 – December 24, 1986) was an American writer known best for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics. Comic book historians estimate that he wrote more than 4,000 comics stories, including 1,500 for DC Comics. Gardner was also a science fiction author and wrote many novels and short stories.

Fox is known as the co-creator of DC Comics heroes the Flash, Hawkman, Doctor Fate and the original Sandman, and was the writer who first teamed those and other heroes as the Justice Society of America and later recreated the team as the Justice League of America. Fox introduced the concept of the Multiverse to DC Comics in the 1961 story "Flash of Two Worlds!"


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 (film)

John Carter is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Andrew Stanton from a screenplay written by Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon. The film was produced by Jim Morris, Colin Wilson, and Lindsey Collins, and is based on A Princess of Mars, the first book in the Barsoom series of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch in the title role, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, and Willem Dafoe. The film chronicles the first interplanetary adventure of John Carter and his attempts to mediate civil unrest amongst the warring kingdoms of Barsoom.

Several developments on a theatrical film adaptation of the Barsoom series emerged throughout the 20th century from various major studios and producers, with the earliest attempt dating back to the 1930s. Most of these efforts, however, ultimately stalled in development hell. In the late-2000s, Walt Disney Pictures began a concerted effort to develop a film adaptation of Burroughs' works, after a previously abandoned venture by the studio in the 1980s. The project was driven by Stanton, who had pressed Disney to renew the screen rights from the Burroughs estate. Stanton became director in 2009; this was his live-action debut, as his previous directorial work for Disney included the Pixar animated films, Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL-E (2008). Filming began in November 2009, with principal photography underway in January 2010, wrapping seven months later in July 2010. Michael Giacchino composed the film's musical score.John Carter was released in the United States on March 9, 2012, marking the centennial of the titular character's first appearance. The film was presented in Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, and conventional formats. Upon release, John Carter received a mixed critical reception, with praise for its visuals, Michael Giacchino's soundtrack and action sequences, but criticism toward the characterization and plot. The film flopped at the North American box office, but set an opening-day record in Russia. It grossed $284 million at the worldwide box office, resulting in a $200 million writedown for Disney. With a total cost of $350 million, including an estimated production budget of $263 million, it is one of the most expensive films ever made. Due to the film's poor box office performance, Disney cancelled plans for a sequel (titled John Carter: The Gods of Mars) and trilogy Stanton had planned.

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.

List of science fiction novels

This is a list of science fiction novels, novel series, and collections of linked short stories. It includes modern novels, as well as novels written before the term "science fiction" was in common use. This list includes novels not marketed as SF but still considered to be substantially science fiction in content by some critics, such as Nineteen Eighty Four. As such, it is an inclusive list, not an exclusive list based on other factors such as level of notability or literary quality. Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, ignoring the leading articles "A", "An", and "The". Novel series are alphabetical by author-designated name or, if there is none, the title of the first novel in the series or some other reasonable designation.

Odditorium or Warlords of Mars

Odditorium or Warlords of Mars is the fifth studio album by American rock band The Dandy Warhols. Recorded from April 2004 to January 2005 and released on September 13, 2005 by record label Capitol, the album features a return to the psychedelic, guitar-based sound of the group's earlier records, following their foray into synthpop with 2003's Welcome to the Monkey House.The album failed to match the success of its predecessors and received a mixed response from critics. Two singles were released from the album: "Smoke It" and "All the Money or the Simple Life Honey".

Ray Bradbury

Ray Douglas Bradbury (; August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery fiction.

Widely known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953), and his science-fiction and horror-story collections, The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and I Sing the Body Electric (1969), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American writers. While most of his best known work is in speculative fiction, he also wrote in other genres, such as the coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine (1957) and the fictionalized memoir Green Shadows, White Whale (1992).

Recipient of numerous awards, including a 2007 Pulitzer Citation, Bradbury also wrote and consulted on screenplays and television scripts, including Moby Dick and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works were adapted to comic book, television, and film formats.

Upon his death in 2012, The New York Times called Bradbury "the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream".

Robert K. Abbett

Robert Kennedy Abbett (January 5, 1926 – June 20, 2015) was an American artist and illustrator.

Swords of Mars

Swords of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book as a six-part serial in the issues for November 1934 to April 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in February 1936.

The Gods of Mars

The Gods of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the second of his Barsoom series. It was first published in The All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January–May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C. McClurg in September, 1918.

As in many of his novels, Burroughs begins with a frame story that explains how he (Burroughs) came into possession of the text, implying it recounts true events.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars

Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are Carthoris (the son of John Carter of Mars) and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels.

Timekeeping on Mars

Various schemes have been used or proposed for timekeeping on the planet Mars independently of Earth time and calendars.

Mars has an axial tilt and a rotation period similar to those of Earth. Thus it experiences seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter much like Earth, and its day is about the same length. Its year is almost twice as long as Earth's, and its orbital eccentricity is considerably larger, which means among other things that the lengths of various Martian seasons differ considerably, and sundial time can diverge from clock time more than on Earth.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.