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John Carter of Mars

John Carter (or Captain Jack Carter) is the fictional hero in a series of seminal science-fiction novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Carter was 6'2" tall with close-cropped black hair and steel-gray eyes. His character and courtesy exemplified the ideals of the ante-bellum South (the southern U.S. states just before the American Civil War). A Virginian who served as a captain in the Civil War, he struck it rich by finding gold in Arizona after the war. He spent the last years of his life in a small cottage on the Hudson River in New York and died there on March 4, 1886.

The books are adventure stories in which he goes to Mars -- called "Barsoom" by the Martians -- and gets involved in the affairs of the various kinds of beings who inhabit that planet. There are space ships and ray guns, but there are ethical and moral issues, too. The tales seem somewhat dated today, but they were innovative when they were written, and they influenced many later science-fiction works -- especially the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers films of the 1930s, which have much the same escapist flavor -- as well as the modern genre of fantasy novels. The John Carter books enjoyed another wave of popularity in the 1970s, with Viet Nam War veterans who said they could identify with Carter, fighting in a war on another planet.

The eleven books in The Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs are: