The wisdom of Dejah Thoris, daughter of Mors Kajak of Helium.

Dust-jacket of A Princess of Mars

Edgar Rice Burroughs was a pulp fiction author of the early 20th century, most noted for his series on Tarzan and Barsoom,his vision of Mars as a dying, desert planet. From Wikipedia:

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., but are still under copyright laws in most of the rest of the world.

The world of Barsoom is a romantic vision of a dying Mars. Writers and science popularizers like Camille Flammarion, who was convinced that Mars was at a later stage of evolution than Earth and therefore much more dry, took the ideas further and published books like Les Terres du Ciel (1884), which contained illustrations of a planet covered with canals. Burroughs gives credits to him in his writings, and goes as far as to say that he based his vision of Mars on that of Flammarion. John Carter is transported to Mars in a way described by Flammarion in Urania (1889), where a man from earth is transported to Mars as an astral body where he wakes up to a lower gravity, two moons, strange plants and animals and several races of advanced humans. In The Plurality of Inhabited Worlds and Lumen, he further speculates about plant people and other creaturs on far away planets, elements that would later appear in the Barsoom stories.

The Barsoom series, where John Carter in the late 1800s 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.

In A Princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris is the daughter of Mors Kajak, one of the red men of Mars, and a princess of the city-state of Helium. Captured by the green men, she challenges Lorquas Ptomel, a chieftain of the green Martians:

Why, oh, why will you not learn to live in amity with your fellows. Must you ever go on down the ages to your final extinction but little above the plane of the dumb brutes that serve you! A people without written language, without art, without homes, without love; the victims of eons of the horrible community idea. Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves. Come back to the ways of our common ancestors, come back to the light of kindliness and fellowship. The way is open to you, you will find the hands of the red men stretched out to aid you. Together we may do still more to regenerate our dying planet. The granddaughter of the greatest and mightiest of the red jeddaks has asked you. Will you come?

Even when Mr Burroughs was writing — A Princess of Mars1 was published in 1917 — the evils of Communism and socialism were obvious! The line, “You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves,” is so eerily descriptive of modern liberals and liberalism as to be shocking in its prescience.
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  1. The link is to Amazon.com, which offers the Kindle edition free.

One Comment

  1. “You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves,”

    That’s a great piece of dialog, describes collectivism to a tee. It’s right up there with Orwell’s description of Communism as “A boot stamping on a human face – forever!”

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