Disney Publishing sent me a review copy of the novelization of the film, John Carter. It happened to arrive at the same time that my Sci-Fi/Fantasy book club was reading the book that the film is based on, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The book contains the novelization by Stuart Moore and A Princess of Mars by Burroughs and it weighs in at a hefty 555 pages. The novelization is the first 205 pages and Burroughs’ original work clocks in at over 300 pages. As of this writing, I have not seen the film.
I read the novelization first and enjoyed it. After reading both, it was obvious where they made changes to suit a modern movie audience. The story arc remained fairly faithful to the original book with only some minor changes to suit the needs of film. It was interesting to see a modern-day author take on a novel that was released 100 years ago.
The original work was a fantastic piece of early science fiction. Being a public librarian and avid reader, I am always interested in trying out a new genre or author. Even though I love sci-fi, I tend to stick with more modern works. What I truly loved about A Princess of Mars was the obvious command of the language that Burroughs exhibits. I love it when an author makes me reach for a dictionary.
There were some confusing departures in the novelization that seemed to be a setup for future films. When I asked some of my book club members that had read the Barsoom books, previously, they didn’t remember any mention of the mysterious Therns.
Both reads were fairly enjoyable and actually made me more interested in seeing the film. Since so many modern filmmakers point to A Princess of Mars as an influence on their works, it is worthwhile to grab a copy.
2 thoughts on “Disney’s John Carter Movie novelization, a Book Review”
The Therns played a large part in Burrough’s Gods of Mars novel. That is the second book in the series. Also you really need to go and see the movie it is really good!
A Princess of Mars was never really intended to stand alone as a novel, it was a collection of stories serialized in a magazine, and it forms the first volume of a three volume trilogy. Eight additional books were later written. The Therns and other elements of this trilogy were incorporated into the plot of the movie. The movie is quite good, and the trilogy is an amazing work, especially considering it was written before commercial aviation even existed. It is unfortunate that the press decided to characterize the movie as a flop before it was even released, and also that someone (probably an executive) decided to tack on the ridiculous intro that drains the magic from Carter’s arrival on Mars later in the film. But most unfortunate of all was the incredible incompetence of the marketing of this movie, from its name to the wretched trailers.