A Conversation for Peer Review

A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 1

Bluebottle

Entry: The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs - A87910356
Author: Bluebottle - U43530

A book

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad - Editor

I like the sentence you used when you put this in the Edited Guide Writing Workshop: "An unusual trilogy that consists of a novel, a novella and a novelette but showcases Burroughs at his best." smiley - ok

Can you work that into the introduction, somehow? smiley - grovel

I'm not very familiar with Edgar Rice Burroughs' work, so as I'm reading this I just get the sensation that I'm missing something so I don't quite understand what's going on... smiley - weird

"With this plan in mind, Burroughs wrote a new introductory story, novel The Moon Maid, which established the main characters as well as the Kalkar race on the Moon. " - what plan? He's already rewritten the novella by the time we get to this paragraph! I don't think you need to mention "the Kalkar race on the moon" here because I don't know what that is and don't care until I get to the second sentence and see that Earth has been conquered, so you can then explain it was conquered by the Kalkar race on the Moon smiley - ok

Who is the King? British, or American?

You mention Burroughs includes references to tie all his novels together, but you don't say what the references are to - I think you need to say which novel included John Carter in 1886.

I can't understand that paragraph - John Carter travelled from Earth to Mars in 1886, but it is impossible to travel from Mars to Earth?

I think you need to explain about the moon being hollow first, and then explain the similarities with Pellucidar.

" Despite this, most believe that the universe, except for Va-nah, is solid rock." - despite what?

Who is the hero of The Moon Maid?

"There live the U-Ga, humans who have resisted the oppressive uprising of the Kalkars. The U-Ga used to rule the Moon until a political movement called the Kalkars (meaning 'The Thinkers') revolted." - I think this would be clearer if it simply said "There live the U-Ga, humans who used to rule the Moon until a political movement called the Kalkars (meaning 'The Thinkers') revolted."

"Despite the difference in gravity" - despite, or because of? Moon residents become stronger on Earth too? "Humans and U-Ga can reproduce." - you've said that U-Ga (and Kalkar) *are* humans so this doesn't need stating?

Phew - the Julian family and the immortality of Tarzan are mind-stretching concepts... You say Julian is reincarnated as his grandson but then say he is reincarnated as his grandfather - is it genuinely that confusing in the book? I like footnote 5 immensely smiley - ok

"his woman, Juana" - I think we need some speechmarks round this if that's a quote of Burroughs...

You've already told me about the plot, and now you have sections telling me about the plots of each section of the book... I would be very pleased if you could merge things together, to refer to each section of the book at the place where it is involved in the plot as I don't care about these books enough to read about them twice in one sitting, sorry... From what I've read so far, I'm not sure I would particularly enjoy them, sadly...

The Paperback Writer section is good (although a bit repetitive in the middle) and would perhaps fit nicely nearer the Journey to the Moon section smiley - ok

The Review section is too much on top of two Plot sections smiley - wah YOu mention ingredients that you've already mentioned in the introductory sections. This could be tightened up into a Politics section, because that was missing higher up smiley - ok

"Had he intended this to result in the Burroughs who has been appointed into an important political position taking action that would prevent this whole timeline from coming to pass?" - Burroughs?


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 3

Tavaron da Quirm - Arts Editor

Hi, BB smiley - smiley that seem to be very intersting books.

I agree with Sasha on the introduction and also about not knowing the writer.

Also:

You call the moon people 'humans' on the one hand, on the other hand you say they can mate with humans, so they are a different race? MAybe they are not humans but humanoids? Human-like aliens?

'By 2408 the Kalkars under Julian 18th..' to me that somehow sounds like Julian rules the Kalkars, but maybe that's a language issue I have.

The thing about the different Julians is very confusing.


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 4

Bluebottle

Thanks for your comments, changes have been made. All events relating to the plots of the book are now in their relevant sections, so after introducing the background against which the stories are set, there is only one plot section per book.

smiley - jesterWho is the King? British, or American?
America doesn't have a king, using a separation of powers model with power held by an executive president, legislature Senate and Congress and a judiciary. But I've changed it to 'Britain's King'.smiley - silly

smiley - marsI've added some information in a footnote about John Carter. Essentially his spirit travelled from Earth to Mars in 1886 and gained a new astral body, but his original physical form did not.

smiley - huhIs it genuinely that confusing in the book?
smiley - modEdgar Rice Burroughs is an author who was not afraid to contradict himself or change his mind partway through a novel. Not only because the chapters were serialised over a few months, he'd happily contradict himself on the same page. He is especially good at setting up ideas and possibilities for the future, and then ignoring them. Almost every novel he writes would contain the set-ups for about 5 different sequel ideas, most of which are never taken up. (This is partly why he has inspired so much spin-offs such as films, comics, fan fiction etc. He was the first author to really embrace the idea of having a character across multimedia, with 'Tarzan' stories in his novels, radio, comics, films etc).
It looks like Burroughs kept changing his mind about how the reincarnation worked, and whether it was unique to Julian or not. It might possibly have been an inherited feature of the ruling family of Laythe and the reason why the Jemadar held power, and when Julian 5th married the Jemadav with whom he had son Julian 6th, the Julian family inherited this ability (but also somehow affecting Julian 5th's grandfather Julian 3rd who died before Julian 5th was born). There is a deleted scene from 'The Moon Maid' in which the princess says that she is a reincarnation, but this was deleted and no hint of it makes the final story – although Julian 3rd at one point sees a woman across a crowded room that he implies will be reincarnated as the soul mate of one of his descendants, but after this observation is made, she never sees him and is never referred to ever again.
He seems to suggest that Julian 3rd is the reincarnation of all the future Julians, but also that they are him reincarnated. But as far as character and personality are concerned they are all interchangeable so you can just read the stories and assume that it is always the same hero.

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 5

SashaQ - happysad - Editor

"America doesn't have a king"

They did in 1967! smiley - elvis

Doing a quick wordcount (3,700) I think the Entry is longer than it was before, so I read it again with trepidation as I felt it was too long when I read it last time...

You still use the phrase 'With this plan in mind' which can be deleted to avoid the confusion about what plan. The repetition in Paperback Writer section seems to be still there...

Better not to mention John Carter in the Julian section, as you've already given a sufficient number of examples, and you say helpful things about John later on smiley - ok

The paragraph beginning "Although Julian 3rd remembers his future lives" doesn't mean anything at this stage. I think you're better off just saying something along the lines of, "Confusingly, it is implied that Julian is reincarnated into *previous* lives, so rather than being reincarnated into one of his descendants in the future, he is pre-incarnated into one of his ancestors in the past."

"Julians who are reincarnations of Julian are in Bold." This makes no sense to me... I think you could start by saying Julian 3rd narrates the story, then say about Julian 1st as his pre-incarnation, with Julian 2nd in brackets (no need to mention about Moon Maid there, because you've already mentioned the Moon Trilogy tells the story of the Julian dynasty and you mention it again later). Then say what Julian 3rd did. 4th can be in brackets and then trim 5th as you say he is the hero of the Moon Maid so we'll learn more about him later. 7th is not mentioned, so you may as well not mention 8th. We don't know who Or-tis is, so you need to instead say that 9th is important later, and then it skips to 18th so you need not mention 10th.

Maybe you'd be better off putting Moon Maid after the second paragraph of Julian - then the way the Julians are discussed in the Moon Maid fits in smiley - ok The first three paragraphs of the Moon section would fit nicely after Paperback Writer, then the two paragraphs of Julian, and then Earth can be blended in with Moon Maid.

The first paragraph of the Moon Men is really good smiley - ok

The last paragraph of The Red Hawk says Or-tis 16th was deposed by Or-tis 16th, so that could be clarified...

Phew - I managed to read the whole Entry without the effort bringing tears to my eyes smiley - towel so that is an improvement indeed! Still a bit to do to tighten it up, but there's no need for you to rush - take your time, and good luck with everything else that you're doing at the moment smiley - ok


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 6

Bluebottle

'America had a king in 1967' – ah yes, you mean Martin Luther King, who tragically died in 1968… (Don't tell Dmitri I said he 'tragically died'!<shh&gtsmiley - winkeye No other US kings smiley - elvissmiley - musicalnote around then, leaving buildings or otherwise… smiley - silly

The entry has been tightened up and also shortened – so the information about each of the Julians is now included in the relevant novel/novella/novelette section and duplication removed.

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 7

SashaQ - happysad - Editor

smiley - laughsmiley - ok

"(Don't tell Dmitri I said he 'tragically died'!<shh&gtsmiley - winkeye" - no indeed smiley - shhh

"In 2024 he and Orthis with three others are the first to travel to the Moon." - are the first to aim to travel to Mars?

"speaking the same language as the humanoids " smiley - ok

"Julian 5thinevitably " - I wondered what this was on first reading, and now I see it is that the space is missing after 5th! Maybe tweak somehow because you call him just Julian in the previous sentence.

Footnote 5 perhaps sits better on "Being a book by Burroughs"

So the Moon Maid is U-Ga?

The three paragraphs beginning from "On the Moon Julian and Orthis are captured by the Va-Ga" are quite heavy going - a lot of repetition of the word Laythe, for example, and gravity perhaps fits in better higher up...

Excellent last paragraph in the Moon Men section smiley - ok

This has been polished up nicely so it is much improved - thank you smiley - ok


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 8

Bluebottle

Thanks for those comments, I've done a tad more tweaking to hopefully streamline those bumps in the road.

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 9

Dmitri Gheorgheni

Wading in here...sorry, but this list is going to get long. I think this needs some work, because it's likely to confuse people, and as it stands, they're also likely to misunderstand your intentions. Nothing wrong with tackling Burroughs, though I'd rather do William S. than Edgar Rice....but he probably needs proper handling methods....

smiley - biro >>Among Burroughs most highly regarded works<<

That's just a typo. It should be Burroughs' with an apostrophe.

I have problems with:

smiley - biro >>This is an unusual trilogy that consists of a novel, a novella and a novelette but showcases Burroughs at his best.<<

First, I don't see what the fact that the trilogy is 'unusual' has to do with whether it's any good or not. Also, if you're going to say Burroughs is at his best here, and then go on to admit that he's a racist and an eugenicist, that statement probably needs some qualification. I mean, that may be as good as it gets, but I think I'd word it differently. Because the rest of this story is not exactly praiseworthy. I would tend to say, 'This is an unusual trilogy, consisting of a novel, a novella, and a novelette. In spite of the differences in form, the books taken together are representative of Burroughs' skill as a writer, as well as highlighting the problematic nature of his outlook.'

This probably isn't what you want to say, but maybe it's a start?

smiley - biro >>Despite his overwhelming success following his creation of Tarzan, he still received set-backs<<

You should probably say what kind of setbacks. Publication setbacks? Setbacks with the reading public? Financial setbacks? Career setbacks? You see what I mean.

smiley - biro >>In the Moon trilogy, Earth was at war for 50 years from 1914 to 1967. <<

The tenses are beaucoups confusing. I'm guessing you mean, 'As the Moon trilogy begins, Earth's 50-year world war (1914-1947) has ended with the complete victor of Britain and America.'

Personally, I'd add 'of course, all the rest of them are foreigners,' as the Third Doctor said. smiley - winkeye

smiley - biro >>As the war ended, on 10 June, 1967 the Earth received a message from Barsoom (Mars).<<

Can you change the tenses in this paragraph? We're getting lost as to where we are, time-wise. (I know: I've been watching 'Sapphire and Steel' for the first time, and I'm close to calling Dr Streetmentioner, but still...)

smiley - biro I love the detail that Tarzan is doubly immortal. That's just hilarious. Somehow, I think Burroughs wrote fan-fic for himself.

>>The Moon Maid<<

smiley - biro Again, switching into the past tense is terribly confusing. Could this be in the historical present, also, please?

>>The Moon<<

smiley - biro >>The Moon Men<<

This is just hilarious. However, could you find a way to make it clear that the 114-year-old 'Edgar Rice Burroughs' is not, in fact, the author, but a fictional character? Otherwise, it just gives the reader a headache. Not that it won't, anyway. Boy, is this stuff wish-fulfillment on the author's part.

smiley - biro The Red Hawk

If you're going to say it's the 'weakest part of the trilogy', be sure you back that up. Otherwise, it's just extraneous commentary. Given what you've written about it, you might deem it the most 'overtly racist' part of the trilogy.

Finally:

>>Yet overall the story is strong with addictive pacing that highlights Burroughs' strengths combined with a willingness to push a step beyond his previous limits.<<

That's really not a good way to end this review. The word 'strong' doesn't really say anything to a reader who is not a fan of this sort of thing. Also, it's not a good way to end the entry, because you've already said some very negative things about the works, and those need to be acknowledged in the sum-up.

In short, when reading to the end, I'm left with the conclusion that you're saying, 'Okay, these stories are chock-full of 'White Man's Burden' imperialism, racism, and eugenics, but they're rattling good yarns, anyway.' Now, I don't think that's what you wanted to say, but that's the impression I got. Which is why I think you need a different conclusion to leave the reader with the right impression.

It might help to point out why Burroughs was popular with audiences in his day, and what kind of audiences (!), and - dare I suggest it? Mention in passing that modern film versions have to work around Burroughs' fortunately very outdated attitudes? Before Sasha murders me, I do mean 'mention', not 'add three more sections with movie reviews'.

Anyway, sorry to natter on so long, but that's my take on Barsoom. I am so glad that name never caught on with NASA....

PS:

smiley - biro This is so totally off-topic as to belong in a parallel universe, but: I cannot find the reference, but I read once about a science-fiction writer who went to a psychiatrist because he had become convinced he was John Carter of Mars. The psychiatrist pretended to believe him, and they went on talking about it for a couple of years. The psychiatrist found himself really getting into his patient's fantasy. Finally, the guy admitted to the psychiatrist that he'd come to his sense months ago - but he hated to disappoint the psychiatrist, because he was obviously having fun. smiley - aliensmile


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 10

Bluebottle

Thanks for your very thorough and thought-through response. I've made some changes as suggested, so let me know what you think.

Edgar Rice Burroughs is a strangely fascinating character – how can you not be bewildered by someone who wrote a fictional autobiography of himself that contained no truth whatsoever, who included himself in his novels, even ones set in the future on Mars, Venus and the Moon and who even launched his own Scout movement, the Tribes of Tarzan, later called the Tarzan Clans of America, just to promote his books.

The big question is of course, how do you judge stories written in a different age to now? Inevitably over time opinions change, so to what extent can an old story be judged by today's standards? It is quite difficult going back to re-read as an adult a story you innocently enjoyed as a child, especially when you long to be able to recapture lost innocence and naivety.
Lots of previously popular children's authors have been accused of varying degrees of racism. Offences go from including offensive words, use of stereotypes to promoting genocide. So a range of authors include the Reverend Awtry's 'Thomas the Tank Engine' stories (he described a boy covered in soot being 'as black as' and used a word inappropriate today but in common usage then), Dr Seuss (recently subject to a book titled 'Is the Cat in the Hat Black?'), Captain WE Johns 'Biggles' books (Imperialist, prevalence of villains to be described as 'half-breeds' or 'hybrids'), Enid Blyton's 'Noddy' stories (featuring gollywogs) Laura Ingalls Wilder's semi-autobiographical 'Little House' series (the American Library Association unanimously voted to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award because it praised genocide and contains such passages as 'She looked as if she were smelling the smell of an Indian whenever she said the word. Ma despised Indians', 'there were no people for miles around, only Indians' and the oft-repeated 'the only good Indian is a dead Indian'.). Should they be all be banned outright, or is there a sliding scale for, say, minor offences?
Popular adult authors are even worse, such as HP Lovecraft and particularly Ian Fleming and Ian Fleming. (Ian Fleming is twice as racist, sexist and chauvinist as everyone else put together so I'm counting him twice). Even authors considered progressive for their time, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, are guilty by 21st Century standards.

Edgar Rice Burroughs was so opinionated (and seemingly ignorant that many of his opinions contradicted each other) that there is no denying that the starboard side of an albatross is less right wing than he was. Many of his 'Tarzan' books are strongly racist and he was a committed believer in eugenics throughout his writing career. In fact, the character of Tarzan is the definitive eugenics icon, created to show that an upper class, white male is so inherently superior in every environment that even a baby abandoned in the jungle would grow up to rule his surroundings. In the first few decades of the 20th Century eugenics was a popular subject taught openly at colleges in America, before DNA was discovered (I mention it more in the entry on his 'Venus' books).

Curiously much of his work has been heavily edited – since the 1960s copies claiming to be 'complete and unabridged' have routinely had whole chunks of his most extreme beliefs cut out to make them palatable for modern readers.

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 11

Dmitri Gheorgheni

You've brought up a good point we need to talk about. smiley - ok But first, I'd like to say this is a super rewrite!

smiley - biro I like the way you've rewritten in the introduction. Fair and clear! smiley - smiley

smiley - biro Tenses are much clearer! smiley - smiley The footnote on Burroughs being 114 years old is a big help.

smiley - biro Very good conclusion! I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

Now, about people in the past, especially writers in the past. This is just my personal take, but I'm of the view that we should always acknowledge what they got right and what they got wrong - in our humble opinion, of course. smiley - winkeye Then people in our future can assess what we wrote in terms of what *we* got wrong, and so it goes until we all get better. At least, we hope so.

I don't think it's about 'offences'. We're not counting coup here. But I also don't think we should ever say, 'But that's what people thought back then, so it's okay.' That's unfair to them, because in every age, there will have been people who *did* know better than that, even if they weren't popular.

Take the antebellum South. (Please.) While the prevailing ethos involved forcing women to wear clothes that turned them into furniture and reducing them to simpering co-dependents in human trafficking, there were woman who rebelled. Angelina Grimke and her sister fled Charleston, South Carolina for Philadelphia, and told everybody who would listen that they'd been raised in a brainwashing cult....

Can someone enjoy these books? I can't, but maybe somebody else could. It reminds me (sorry, another story) of William Penn, who lived in the 17th Century. Penn was the son of Admiral Penn, and he became a Quaker. Quaker's are pacifists. Penn asked one of the Quaker leaders, probably George Fox, if it was okay to keep wearing his sword. Penn felt better wearing that sword - it was his privilege as a 'gentleman'. (Class differences were also something the Quakers disapproved of.)

The answer was, 'Wear it as long as thou canst.'

Brilliant answer, I think.

Somebody today might be able to read Kipling without wincing, but get stopped cold by Thomas Dixon's 'The Clansman'. At least, I hope nobody could read that book today...

So, to sum up and shut up: I think this is a great rewrite job! Thanks for showing us how it's done. smiley - smiley


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 12

Dmitri Gheorgheni

PS And you gave me a great idea for a future Post article! Thanks! smiley - smiley


A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Post 13

Bluebottle

Curiously there's a John Carter where I work who lectures, not on smiley - mars but on Marketing. And Management… Don't think it's the same one, though.smiley - shrug

I'll look forward to reading smiley - thepost then – h2g2 willing!

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A87910356 - The Moon Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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