THE MASTERMIND OF MARS BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Ulysses Paxton is a captain in the American Expeditionary Force in 1918. During an artillery attack on the western front Ulysses body is torn in two. Instead of dying he is mysteriously transported to Mars just like John Carter. He ends up in the compound of Ras Thavas.

Ras Thavas is the most brilliant scientist on Mars. He is also completely amoral. He spends a lot of time transplanting brains from humans to animals and vise versa. He has a lucrative side business of transplanting brains from old and damaged bodies into young and health ones. One such victim is Valla Dias.

Ulysses becomes Ras Thavas’s assistant and learns his secrets. While in his employ he strikes up a friend ship with Valla Dia. The friendship soon turns to love and Ulysses vows to return her young body back to her. That body now belongs to Xaxa the Jeddara of the powerful city of Phundahl. Now Ulysses must escape from Ras Thavas, infiltrate Phundahl and bring back Xaxa alive to perform the surgery.

The sixth book in the Martian series is another exciting book. It has excitement, romance and adventure that you would expect in a Burrough’s story.

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TARZAN AND THE MADMAN BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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The drums sound out a message across the jungle. Tarzan has become an enemy stealing young women from their tribe. A young English woman who is the daughter of a millionaire has also been kidnapped. The millionaire has offered a huge reward for the capture of Tarzan and the return of his daughter.

Tarzan is not responsible but real pissed that an imposter is ruining his reputation. So he embarks on a quest to bring to justice the imposter. He tracks him to a lost city of descendants of Portuguese explorers.

The twenty-third book in the series is OK. It was interesting but nothing really memorable. This story was found in Burroughs years after his death. Maybe he had plans to improve on it. If you read the first twenty-two you might as well read this one.

THE CHESSMEN OF MARS BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Tara the daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris is in a tantrum. She has been angered by Gahan the Jed of Gathol at her fathers party and decides to take a ride in her flyer. Soon after she takes off a large storm appears and blows her flyer to an unknown land. The land is ruled by the Kaldanes. The Kaldanes are heads without bodies. They use the Rykors which are bodies without heads in a symbiotic relationship.

Gahan meanwhile decides to set out after Tara. He dresses as a landless soldier of fortune and the storm that took Tara also deposits him in their land. After rescuing Tara with the help of Ghek the three get captured by the city of Manator. Tara like the beautiful women in all Burrough’s books has to put up with the unwanted attentions of the Jeddak of Manator.

Gahan is sentenced to fight in the city’s version of Jetan or Martian chess. Only this game of Jetan is played with real people in fights to the death. Gahan eventually escapes and rescues Tara from marriage and wins the fair Tara’s love.

The Fifth book in the Martian series is another exciting adventure. It has the trademark weird creatures and mysterious, exotic civilizations. I was a bit confused by Tara not recognizing Gahan when she just met him. Seemed just a little too farfetched to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was a real exciting story.

Burroughs at the end included instructions to play Jetan. I thought it sounded like a fun game. Wikipedia has that a prisoner in Leavenworth in 1922 made a set and the game proved popular with the inmates.

GODZILLA 2000 BY MARC CERASINI

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Kip Daniels is a troubled teen living in LA. His only joy in life is the video game Battleground 2000. One day he skips school to play the game at the arcade and reaches the highest level. Suddenly men is suits take him away at gunpoint. The video game is actually a test by the US Air Force to find talented young men and women to operate a new weapons system. Kip now finds himself part of G-force a secret force dedicated to defending against Godzilla or any other Kaiju that appears.

Well this is the later end of 1999 and all hell starts to break loose. Varan emerges from the Gulf of Mexico and causes destruction from the Yucatan to Galveston. Rodan sets up a nest on top of Mount Rushmore. Meteors from space land in Kansas and mutate preying mantis into Kamacuras. Into this Godzilla surfaces at California and starts a trek cross country.

Godzilla is actually being lead by Mothra to a confrontation with King Ghidorah. It all concludes with an apocalyptic battle in New York between Godzilla and King Ghidorah on New Years Day with the fate of the world in balance. Dick Clarks’ New Year show has to be moved to Atlanta.

The second book in the Godzilla series goes all out. It brings back some of Godzilla’s adversaries and gives them a modern makeover. The story has what makes any Godzilla story, a world destroying threat and lots of giant monsters stomping around. Throw in the high tech gadgets and various cast of believable characters and you have another fun story.

Here is the monster role call:
King Ghidorah

Kamacuras

Varan

Mothra

Rodan

Bambi. OK not in the book but could have happened on Godzilla’s cross-country journey

TARZAN AND THE FOREIGN LEGION BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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An American B-17 bomber is on a reconnaissance mission over Japanese occupied Sumatra in 1944. It is shot down and the crew are forced to bail out. It looks grim for the survivors. To make matters worse the English Colonel who was an observer seems to go mad. He strips down to a loincloth and throws his pistol away. But this English colonel is John Clayton, otherwise known as Tarzan.

Tarzan’s woodcraft and survival skills help the survivors overcome their situation. Now he must lead this group through a hostile jungle filled with savage beasts and men plus the Japanese occupation troops. Joined by a young Dutch girl and her Chinese servant they make for the coast to find a boat and freedom.

The twenty-second book in the series is a unique idea. Burroughs was in Hawaii as a war correspondent during the war. The oldest in his sixties. It would be logical that he would have his hero Tarzan fight the Japanese. The title comes from the multi national makeup of the group. This would be the last book published in Burrough’s lifetime.

This book also attempts to explain Tarzan’s seeming immortality. By now he would be in his sixties but still looks thirty. One story is of a witchdoctor that performed a ritual on him in gratitude for saving him from a lion. The other is the pills he took from the Kavuru in Tarzan’s Quest.

THUVIA, MAID OF MARS BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Carthoris,the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris,is madly in love with Thuvia a pricess of Ptarth. Unfortunately Thuvia is betrothed to the Jeddak of Kaol. Thuvia has also aroused the interest of Astok the prince of Dusar. Astok kidnaps Thuvia and frames Carthoris.

With war imminent among the principal nations involved, Carthoris sets out to rescue Thuvia. The quest leads him to a lost valley inhabited by an ancient race thought long extinct. The Lotharians have perfected their mental capabilities were they can conjure lifelike images. They are also without any women. Tasio the Jeddak of Lothar desires Thuvia.

Carthoris manages to escape with Thuvia. After some more adventures escaping savage green men and prince Astok the two come upon Kulan Gath’s ship. It has been downed and being overrun by green men. Carthoris’s Lotharian friend uses his mental power to conjure up an army to rescue Gath. Kulan sees that Thuvia loves Carthoris and released her from her betrothal.

The fourth book in the Barsoom series is another exciting adventure. I like that two minor characters from the previous books were given their own stories. It wasn’t as good as the first three but those did set the bar high. Its still an enjoyable book.

TARZAN THE MAGNIFICENT BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

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Tarzan is roaming the jungle when he comes upon a half-dead American wandering alone. He is Stanley Wood and relates a strange tale to Tarzan. He has just escaped captivity from a tribe of warrior women. The women are divided into two tribes the Zuli and Kaji. Both are controlled by twin brothers who can control people’s minds with a large gem stone, a diamond and emerald respectively. The woman are obsessed with becoming white so they capture safaris with white men so they can breed with them.

The power of the emerald is too great for Stanley to resist and escapes Tarzan to return to captivity. Tarzan follows and finds out that he is immune to the power of the gemstones. He defeats the wizards and frees Stanley and his love Gonfala the Queen of the Kaji.

Later in the second part Stanley and Gonfala wander into the land of Athne the city of ivory from Tarzan and the City of Gold. Now Tarzan gets involved in overthrowing the corrupt rulers of both Athne and Cathne.

The twenty-first book in the Tarzan series is actually two separate short stories that are combined with one. I found it interesting with a slightly different twist in the lost civilization. He also revisits the Land of Othnat which is the only time except for Opar that Tarzan would revisit a lost civilization.