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Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1) - Edgar Rice Burroughs Pulp science fiction classic and pretty much the book that created the niche sub-genre of interplanetary romance. It's hardly chic-lit though. John Carter, the protagonist, doesn't spend much time sitting around examining himself, the object of his affections, or their relationship. He's far too busy running around fighting for her attention. Fighting Green Martians. Rescuing the Princess, multiple times. Fighting Red Martians. Then Fighting Green Martians again.

It's an adventure yarn for boys, a romp across Mars where Carter gets to win the girl through his physical prowess. While fun, the book is littered with cliché and coincidence. Putting aside the entire lack of explanation as to how he gets to Mars (or back again), it's lucky that Carter has almost Superman like powers on Mars which appears to be a planet where physical ability and combat form the basis of the power structures. Even luckier, Carter seems blessed with the uncanny ability to immediately spot the bad Martian races over the good Martian races, as well as meet the only Martians who are questioning their planet's macho culture.

Take it for what it is, which is a dated, pulp adventure. And not what it isn't - high literature - and it's thoroughly enjoyable. With the planned movie coming out later this year, I wanted to get a head start on the book before I saw the movie. How many of the Barsoom series will be transferred to the silver screen remains to be seen...