Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Covers: Kane Of Old Mars

a/k/a The City Of The Beast
These are the Lancer Books editions of Michael Moorcock's "Kane of Old Mars" trilogy, a highly enjoyable, if fannish, pastiche of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom" cycle. These three books chronicle the adventures of American physicist and Olympic fencer Michael Kane, who invents a teleporter that accidentally sends him to ancient Mars. There, he fights blue giants and wins the love of a beautiful martian princess. You know - the usual.

These three paintings are by the great Gray Morrow.

I actually own these books in multiple editions - the DAW Books paperbacks from the 70s-80s with the Richard Hescox covers and the omnibus edition published by White Wolf in the 90s, with its John Bolton cover painting. These Lancer editions are my favorites, though.

Although these books are unabashed imitations of Burroughs, written by Moorcock when he was still quite young, and, as such, have all the weaknesses inherent in pastiche, they will always hold a special place in my fantasy-loving heart. You see, when I was in Junior High, I found a copy of this Lancer edition of Warriors of Mars (later, with the other two volumes, re-titled by the author - see captions), with that gorgeous and exciting cover, on the school bus. I turned it in to the driver, who put it in the lost & found box under his seat. After a week, no one had claimed it, so he gave it to me. It was my first taste of interplanetary romance, and it - obviously - had a huge impact on me and my reading tastes. I still pull these books down once a every year or two and revisit them.

a/k/a Lord Of The Spiders

a/k/a Masters Of The Pit


BRIANiac5 said...

At first glance it sounds like a mash-up of Solomon Kane and John Carter.

Christopher Mills said...

Nope. Pure John Carter. The character's name is Michael Kane, an American physicist who teleports himself to ancient Mars, fights blue giants and wins the love of a beautiful Martian princess.

It's good stuff.

Andy said...

My first Pulp-love was "A Princess of Mars" which I found at the local library. That cover was by Frank Frazetta and John Carter has been my favorite pulp hero ever since.

While I enjoy Michael Kane I was much more enamored of "Elric" as a teenager, which I also first read in the DAW paperback edition. I still read these every few years or so.

Charles Gramlich said...

I read these years ago. Love the covers. Thought the stories were pretty average at best. They're almost bare bones stories in many ways. of course, Moorecock wrote them when he was very young, like about 17 or 18 I think.

Anonymous said...

When I was twelve, I checked out Otis Adelbert Kline's "The Swordsman of Mars" from the school library. The hero gets teleported to Mars and...well, you know. At the time, I actually liked it. (I still think it was competently written.) Years later, I read ERB's John Carter stories and realized how derivative Kline's book was. And, no, I don't know why the library had the imitation instead of the real thing.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what "Edward P. Bradbury" or Otis Adelbert Kline would have said if asked that classic question for science fiction writers: "Where do you get your ideas?"