Wednesday 7 March 2012

Everyone? Yes, everyone!

When I was a wee lad of about nine, or thereabouts, I read a few books from the Barsoom Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Though I have carried this around in my head ever since, it has been only recently that it was jostled to the forefront of my mind and I felt the need to say something about it. This is no doubt due in no small part to the ad campaign for John Carter, which hits Australian cinemas tomorrow.

I loved these books. I always thought that I got them from my cousin, who passed on many of his books to me. This may have actually been arranged by our parents and been without his knowledge, leaving him to wonder where all of his books were going. I believed that this was how I must have acquired the few Barsoom books that I had, but I recently discovered that he hasn't read them. I distinctly remember not reading A Princess of Mars first because it didn't sound nearly as interesting as The Warlord of Mars.

There were a number of reasons that the Barsoom series might be appealing to a lad of about nine, or thereabouts. It is full of sword fights, high adventure, amazing battles, ancient mysteries, fabulously monstrous aliens, and not a small amount of nudity. As E.R. Burroughs presents it, everyone on Mars is naked! The heroes don't wear pants, the princesses don't wear pants, and the giant aliens, whether they are green, red, white or kangaroo men, certainly don't wear pants. Discovering this made A Princess of Mars seem a lot more interesting, and it also made my reading them feel somewhat clandestine. I was starting to be curious about 'the ladies' and here they were. Naked. Naked in words.

I'm not at all bothered by the apparent lack of nudity in the upcoming film. I say apparent as I haven't yet seen it. Actually I know "a guy", he worked on it, and he swears there isn't any nudity. The aliens in the ads look pretty naked, but I didn't question him too closely on this. Perhaps Disney sees them like horses. No one ever wonders why the horses don't get pants. I would never expect a film based on this series to stay true to the original costuming, regardless of whether Disney was involved or not. It really would be a lot of nudity. There isn't really a point to be made here. I think some part of me just wanted to bring up the naked martians of my youth.

It is also worth mentioning that most of E.R. Burroughs' works are now in the public domain, a great many of which are available from Project Gutenberg, and many of them are also available free from the iTunes Store.

That is all.

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