GULLIVAR JONES ON MARS (1905) – Written by Edwin L Arnold. In Part One of this review I explored this novel’s alternate titles and its cult reputation, plus the controversy which used to rage over whether or not Edgar Rice Burroughs may have read this work and gained inspiration for certain elements of his John Carter of Mars series. I also dealt with the end of that controversy when it became better known that BOTH Arnold and Burroughs may have been inspired by Gustavus Pope’s 1894 novel Journey to Mars.
Here in Part Two is the review proper, including revisions I would have made to Edwin Arnold’s incredibly flawed story.
Gullivar Jones on Mars starts out in the late 1860s or early 1870s with U.S. Navy Lieutenant Gullivar Jones, a veteran of the Union forces in the Civil War, in New York City on shore leave. He comes into possession of a Turkish rug with unexplained mystical powers. While standing on the unrolled rug he wishes he was on Mars and the flying carpet transports him there. (?)
REVISION: I would keep all of Gullivar Jones’ background info the same, but instead of the Turkish rug I would have him be one of many New Yorkers drawn to a strange spacecraft which lands near the docks. The daring Jones would climb into the remote-controlled vessel, which would trap him inside, sedate him with gas and then fly off back to Mars. Continue reading
The spacecraft departs from Mercury.
THE UNPRETENTIOUS PHILOSOPHER (1775) – By Louis-Guillaume de La Follie. The original French title of this work of proto-science fiction was Le Philosophe sans Pretention ou l’Homme Rare, but in the 21st Century it’s more generally known by the slightly shorter title.
One of the central characters of this story is an Earth scholar named Nadir, and I have no idea if it’s a coincidence or if the people behind the 1960s film Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster were paying sly homage to de La Follie by naming one of the characters Nadir. At any rate Nadir is visited by Ormisais, a space traveler from the planet Mercury.
Ormisais regales Nadir with details about life on Mercury and also informs him that he has crash-landed on Earth and needs rare elements to repair his electrically -powered craft so that he can return to his home planet. The Mercurians had a planetary version of the British Royal Society and the French Academy, but it had a much more limited membership. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.
G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed. G-8’s war-time pulp adventures were a clear influence on the Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) character Captain America.
16. THE X-RAY EYE (January 1935) – Add another mad scientist to the pile of G-8’s Rogue’s Gallery of villains! This story features our hero and his faithful sidekicks going up against Dr Gurnig, another Teutonic terror of the technical sciences. Dr Gurnig has created a HUGE remote- controlled flying head-like object with a single eye that shoots highly concentrated X-Rays. Those X-Rays pass through a specially designed prism that amps up their power like lasers do with light, so maybe the concentrated X-Rays could be jokingly called “xasers”. Continue reading