Introduction — John Joseph Adams

When Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars in 1912 (originally published as a serial in the magazine All-Story, as Under the Moons of Mars), he gave birth to the iconic character John Carter and his wondrous vision of Mars (or as the natives call it, Barsoom). With this setting and character, Burroughs created something that has enthralled generation after generation of readers. Now, a hundred years after the series first debuted in print, new generations of readers—thanks, in part, to the new Disney film—are still finding and discovering the adventures of John Carter for the first time.

Edgar Rice Burroughs—who also authored the Tarzan and Pellucidar series, and dozens of other books—wrote only ten Barsoom novels (plus one collection of two stories). Yet anyone who’s read the novels cannot help but imagine the plentiful adventures of John Carter and his ilk that were never cataloged by Burroughs. The last Barsoom story written by Burroughs (“Skeleton Men of Jupiter”) was published in the magazine Amazing Stories in 1943, intended to be one of a series of short stories that would later be collected into book form. It was the last ever published by Burroughs, however, and legions of fans have been left waiting for the new adventures of John Carter ever since.

Until now.

This anthology depicts all-new adventures set in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s fantastical world of Barsoom. Some of the stories in this volume, such as Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Metal Men of Mars” and “The River Gods of Mars” by Austin Grossman, imagine the new or lost adventures of John Carter, while others focus on the other characters and niches not fully explored by Burroughs. So if you’ve ever wanted to find out what happens to the villainous Thark Sarkoja after her encounter with John Carter, Robin Wasserman’s tale “Vengeance of Mars” delivers. Or if you’ve ever wanted to know more about John Carter’s calot companion Woola, then Theodora Goss’s “Woola’s Song” fills in those gaps. Catherynne M. Valente’s story “Coming of Age on Barsoom,” unveils some hidden truths about the Green Men of Mars, and details how John Carter might not have understood their culture as well as he thought he did.

Some of the stories, meanwhile, deal with John Carter and Dejah Thoris’s descendants . . . such as Genevieve Valentine’s tale, “A Game of Mars,” which has John Carter’s daughter Tara playing Barsoom’s deadliest game—Jetan! We also have two tales exploring the adventures of the children of Llana of Gathol and the Orovar Pan Dee Chee; L. E. Modesitt, Jr.’s, story, “The Bronze Man of Mars,” has one of John Carter’s great-grandsons returning to the ancient city of Horz, while S. M Stirling’s story, “The Jasoom Project,” has another great-grandson endeavoring to find a way to travel to Earth (Jasoom) via spaceship.

Authors David Barr Kirtley and Tobias S. Buckell deliver plenty of action and adventure in their tales; in “Three Deaths,” after losing a duel with John Carter, Kirtley’s Warhoon warrior Ghar Han swears revenge, and in “A Tinker of Warhoon,” Buckell presents us with a Green Martian like we have never seen—one whose greatest weapon is his brain, not his brawn.

Two of our stories examine what would happen should John Carter encounter new visitors from Earth on Barsoom. Peter S. Beagle’s story, “The Ape-Man of Mars,” speculates what might have happened if John Carter had encountered Tarzan, Burroughs’s other most famous literary creation, in the sands of Barsoom. Garth Nix’s tale, “A Sidekick of Mars,” imagines the possibility that John Carter had an irascible sidekick throughout most of his adventures who was never mentioned in any of the write-ups of Carter’s adventures published by Burroughs. Chris Claremont’s story, “The Ghost That Haunts the Superstition Mountains,” meanwhile, imagines John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas are instead transported to Earth, and there encounter not only the great Indian chief Cochise, but weapons of mysterious origin as well.

And then we have “The Death Song of Dwar Guntha,” which shows us a distant future in which John Carter is poised to finally bring an end to the endless cycles of warfare that have rocked Barsoom . . . but gives us one last epic battle for the ages to remember it by.

Whether you’re a longtime fan, or you’re new to Barsoom, I hope you enjoy these all-new adventures of John Carter of Mars.