Barsoom: Mapping the Mythic Mars

Barsoom: Mapping the Mythic Mars

Barsoom: Mapping the Mythic Mars coverOver one hundred years ago, in 1911, Edgar Rice Burroughs (the creator of Tarzan) introduced an astonished readership to the adventures of John Carter, a Civ-il War soldier from Virginia who, in 1866, found himself trans-ported to the planet Mars. Or, as the natives called it, Barsoom. The first novel was A Princess of Mars, and it was followed by ten more books over the next 30 years; plus countless comic books, and in 2012, a spectacular Disney movie, John Carter.

Enthralled readers encountered the incomparable Martian Princess Dejah Thoris; four-armed giant Green Men; hideous blue Plant Men; Thoats, Calots, Banths, Apts, White Apes and other multi-legged Martian beasts. Burroughs’ Barsoom was a dying world of ancient ruined cities, dry seabeds, desert-spanning canals, towering mountains, polar ice caps, dense forests, and under-ground rivers.

These were the first sci-fi adventure tales ever written that took place on another world, with alien races, civilizations, and creatures-and they preceded and inspired every subsequent extra-planetary adventure series from Flash Gordon to Star Trek and Star Wars.

But despite locating the adventures of John Carter on the canal-covered Mars depicted by Victorian astronomers, Burroughs never provided a map showing the locations of his Barsoomian cities and other features. Over the past century, many fans have tried to compile such a map, but none have truly succeeded. Until now.

Painstakingly referencing clues in all eleven books, plus astronomical observations of the Red Planet spanning a hundred years, noted historian and cartographer Oberon Zell has created the definitive map of Burroughs’ Barsoom. This book details that process with three dozen colorful maps and other illustrations, a history of Barsoom over the past million years, and a Gazetteer for all locations mentioned in the novels.

(Barsoom Map Available Here)