Let's Read John Carter of Mars

Dr Rockopolis

Chapter XIII: Love-Making on Mars

The green Martians put off their journey for a week, to avoid detection by air. In the meantime...

...Tar Tarkas instructs Cater in the Martian arts of love war. Their mounts, called thoats, are vicious and intractable, liable to chew up the rider. The usual means of control beyond telepathy is Pistol-Whipping it in the head and shooting it if it throws you off. Sounds like an extremely practical mount.

John decides to repeat his experimentation with using the Power of Friendship, and it works. Soon, he's got the most obedient, loyal nightmares around. When asked his secret, assuming it to be some unEarthly]] power, he explains that it is simple kindness. They demand he teach them this Earthly way of Love.

Soon, they too have loyal nightmare steeds. For kindess is useful even in war, for a kind leader is well served by his underlings, making a more efficient unit.
  • It's a hopeful sign, but I have to wonder if they will apply this elsewhere, or if it's just making them more dangerous.
  • Have to wonder what the other tribes are like. There's that school of thought that you need a unified empire to breed civilization, presumably through bureaucracy.

At the end of the week, he meets Dejah, who's always been off doing something. Something like getting shuffled about by the other females, or working in the radium factory. So not just playing hard to get.

She calls him a chieftan, which he says he later learns means something, and he calls her a Princess, to which she gasps but refuses to say anything. I'm guessing Accidental Marriage Vow.

They continue talking, and John mentions he thinks the Martian claim to honesty is exaggerated, what with the scheming ex-guard and getting shuffled around by other women.

He also thinks, as nice as Dejah is, she doesn't really have a concept of mercy either; to a Martian, the only good enemy is a dead enemy whose resources you have taken.
  • Again, reminds me of Dune.

And, as they watch the stars, he gives her a cape and thinks "Oh, Crap!, I'm in love.".

Wow...way to disappoint, Burroughs. No bodice ripping at all. Of course, no bodices, but still...

It's strange, I came into this expecting something like Conan the Barbarian, but the big trope I'm getting now is The Power of Friendship.


...and of course the idea for peace/love has to come from the Point-of-view hero American Earthling. :p But yeah, not a bad Aesop as it goes, if that's what it is. :p

In fact, 'Protagonist finds a way to get along and even get to an honored place in an alien culture with no concept of friendship but plenty of allowed violence' sounds a lot like one of my favorite series, the Foreigner series by CJ Cherryh. Of course, in that series, the protagonist doesn't open their eyes to friendship (they biologically haven't the same concept), he has to adapt to it and tailor his approach to concepts the aliens can understand - he's really a diplomat. And he definitely doesn't have a physical advantage.
TheGirlWithPointyEars 11th Dec 10
I never read that one. I keep meaning to read CJ Cherryh, but I keep getting bogged down. I was trying the Chanur series, though.
  • That one was probably...teaching concepts we don't have though. Seems like a common theme.
DrRockopolis 11th Dec 10