Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Swordsman of Mars - Otis Adelbert Kline

The Swordsman Of Mars - Otis Adelbert Kline
There is a lengthy introduction to this book by Michael Moorcock, setting the stage. He discusses that this is an original, far superior version to a later butchered paperback edition, and how is happy to have missed that and now read this one. Noting that doing the Burroughs thing is not as easy as it might sound, giving he had a crack at his own trilogy, and didn't live up to the standard.

That, however, is definitely not the case here. I was dubious about this - admittedly only having read one Kline story before - but this book is good. In fact, easily the equal of the best Burroughs work. A different style, of course, but the trappings are there. Earthman goes to Mars, is handy with a sword, and there is a beautiful Princess. Or two, as the case may be, and one of them is almost as good with the edged weaponry.

Different colored men, strange beasts - some of which are fearsome and domesticated - or beastmen perhaps, death rays, flying machines, chases, escapes and battles, all the good stuff is here.

A nice piece of writing, and if you like the planetary romance or even just John Carter stuff, absolutely give this one a go. Harry Thorne's a more cerebral character, and he has a very different antagonist in this novel to those that Carter faces, but it is all thoroughly enjoyable.

This full proper version absolutely deserves the Planet Stories edition rescue it has been given, excellent work by Mona and crew.

4 out of 5