Not to long ago I started a blog post series here on Mighty Thor JRS, Definitive Sword and Sorcery. They have done quite well so I thought I would expand a little and include some other sub-genres and authors I love. Which led to some Definitive Weird Fiction post just in time for the Halloween season. Then I moved on to a Definitive Heroic Fantasy post. Now I think I am going to just go with a “Definitive” post. Mostly because I never know what sub-genre to put ERB’s John Carter stories into. Sword and Planet always sounds nice but I lose track of all the other sub-genres people throw out there. If there was a work of fiction out there that could just go by “Definitive” it would be these tales.

“Definitive” or at least what is definitive in my opinion. I will spotlight some of the best authors and books fantasy has ever known. I can’t wait to share these amazing books, authors, and the amazing cover art and artist. For this post I am going to go with The John Carter/Martian/Barsoom tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I write these post as a spotlight or introduction on these authors and books, so when I have to sit and think what is definitive it can get somewhat overwhelming. But in this case I think it was pretty easy. When I think of “Definitive” in fiction so much comes to mind but to me the first and most definitive of all has to be ERB. Everyone and everything seems to be influenced by his amazing stories.

The Barsoom books were highly inspirational to many, including science fiction authors Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury. They have influenced renowned scientist Carl Sagan in his quest for extraterrestrial life. They Have been instrumental in the making of James Cameron’s Avatar, and George Lucas’ Star Wars. These fantastic tales have touched all who have dared to read and dream of another life up among the stars.

Besides Robert E. Howard I cannot think of anyone who has influenced my reading more than Edgar Rice Burroughs. I always remember the excitement when younger me read these Martian tales for the first time. ERB wrote so many great and influential characters, and worlds, but John Carter always stayed with me. I even loved that bad Disney movie. It’s John Carter on the BIG screen! Come on people!

I picked the Nelson Doubleday editions of the 1970’s to spotlight below because of the awesome Frank Frazetta covers. You can never go wrong with Frazetta covers! What could make these books even more fabulous, Frazetta covers. So yeah, I spotlighted those editions.

Thanks for taking a look at my post!


As I become more and more disenchanted with modern fantasy and modern fantasy authors, I find myself going back to the books and authors that got me into fantasy in the first place. So I decided to shed some light on these books and authors.

If you have some comments, suggestions, recommendations, let me know!

Are you are a modern author that writes books/stories like the ones I will spotlight here? Get in touch. I want to work with you and spread the word. There has to be something new out that I can read and love. Short stories, collections, magazines, whatever! Let me know what you got and are working on.


James – Mighty Thor JRS



Check out my other “Definitive” post:

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kane by Karl Edward Wagner

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Elric by Michael Moorcock

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Bran Mak Morn by Robert E. Howard

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Kull by Robert E. Howard

Definitive Sword and Sorcery: Conan by Robert E. Howard

Calling all Sword and Sorcery fans!

Definitive Weird Fiction: Clark Ashton Smith

Definitive Weird Fiction: H.P. Lovecraft

Definitive Heroic Fantasy: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson







frazetta-cover-princess-of-marsA Princess of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It was first serialized in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine from February–July, 1912. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th-century pulp fiction. It is also a seminal instance of the planetary romance, a subgenre of science fantasy that became highly popular in the decades following its publication. Its early chapters also contain elements of the Western. The story is set on Mars, imagined as a dying planet with a harsh desert environment. This vision of Mars was based on the work of the astronomer Percival Lowell, whose ideas were widely popularized in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th-century science fiction writers, including Jack Vance, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, and John Norman. The series was also inspirational for many scientists in the fields of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life, including Carl Sagan, who read A Princess of Mars when he was a child.

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The Gods of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

This is the extraordinary story of John Carter, who returns to the Red Planet in search of his beloved, Dejah Thoris. John lands in the Valley Dor, which is populated by vicious plant men, and discovers the Lost Sea of Korus, guarded by the great white apes and horrifying lions of Barsoom. It is here that he finds the princess Thuvia, who is a captive of the Holy Therns, high priests who eat only human flesh slain by their plant men. But this is only the beginning of John Carter’s adventures under the double moons of Mars before he fights his way back to his own people as the Prince of the House of Tardos Mors.51CWdQrJsGL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_

Warlord of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

In this continuation of the saga of the amazing world of Barsoom, the love story of Carter and Dejah Thoris–the red-skinned, oviparous princess–unfolds. Like all the tales in the series, fantasy and adventure combine in a style as malleable as dreams, exotic and dangerous and unending.

For six long Martian months, John Carter, Prince of Helium, has haunted the terrifying Temple of the Sun. Inside the walls of this mysterious revolving tower is his beloved wife, Dejah Thoris, the beautiful princess of Barsoom. Worse yet, his wife is trapped there with the lovely but wicked Phaidor, who has sworn to make John Carter her own–even if it means murder. How can Carter gain access to the temple, whose doors swing open only once a year? And when he does find his way inside, will he find Dejah Thoris’ welcoming embrace–or her corpse?



Thuvia, Maid of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

In this fourth novel of the Martian Barsoom series, the son of John Carter, Carthoris, takes center stage as he vies for the attention of the beautiful Princess of Ptarth.

The thrilling adventure continues as Carthoris, Prince of Helium, and son of John Carter f336e066d98aa5d6347e32d17fb64b1cand Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium, launches a desperate rescue attempt to recapture the woman who has already taken his heart: Thuvia, Princess of Ptarth. Airship battles, lost cities, and savage creatures stand in his way, but Carthoris will not be swayed from his goal. Chasing Thuvia across Barsoom, the last thing he anticipated encountering is the Princess already betrothed to another, an ally of Helium, Tith, Jeddak of Kaol.

The Chessmen of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

Impetuous and headstrong, Tara, Princess of Helium and daughter of John Carter, defies the elements by flying into a rare, fierce Martian storm. Hurtled half a planet from her home she is threatened by grotesque, flesh eating monsters and barbarous warriors. Is the mysterious Panthan warrior friend or foe? As hero battles for maiden in the chess-like games of Jetan, the pieces are fighting men and the stakes are life and death!




The Master Mind of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

Ulysses Paxton an American goes to Mars where he meets Ras Thavas, the greatest physician upon the planet and becomes embroiled in his grisly and amazing experiments.

A Fighting Man of Mars51XUPkNHlJL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

A Fighting Man of Mars is the seventh book in the Mars series, originally published in six-parts in Blue Book Magazine, May to September 1930. It is an interesting and exciting novel filled with futuristic scientific inventions. There are five enemy cities or lands encountered in this tale with five wonderfully drawn villains: Xanator with the green men and white apes; Tjanath with Haj Osis and “The Death”; Ghasta with Ghron the “spider”; Jhama with Phor Tak the mad scientist; and U-Gor with the cannibals. It is a high adventure in the best tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs.




Swords of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

John Carter reprises his role of hero as he vows to bring an end to the Assassins Guild. He ventures in disguise to the city of Zodanga in a fierce attempt to overthrow Ur Jan, the 6b05a93d9db0ef6a6d1168133fdc760c--frazetta-frank-riceleader of the Assassins. His adventures embroil him in the rivalry of two competing scientist-inventors, and eventually leads him to the nearer Martian moon in order to rescue his kidnapped wife, Dejah Thoris.

Synthetic Men of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cover art by Frank Frazetta

Like several previous novels in the Barsoom series, Synthetic Men introduces a completely new character as its protagonist: Vor Daj, a padwar (warrior) from Helium and a member of John Carter’s personal guard. Vor Daj narrates the action in the first person, so that when John Carter appears in the story, he is described in the third person (unlike other Barsoomian novels that feature Carter as the first-person narrator). The novel also brings back a familiar character, Ras Thavas, the amoral mad scientist from the earlier novel The Master Mind of Mars.




By request some John Carter Warlord of Mars Marvel comics covers!



Some of my personal stash!


Issue #1




Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, and Pellucidar (the world inside our world). And his most enduring creation – the jungle hero Tarzan – is fit to stand with d’ArtagnanJeevesSherlock Holmes, and Superman as an archetype of the modern hero. Burroughs’ California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles.


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