Saturday, February 13, 2016

Daily Dose of Literature: Edgar Rice Burroughs - The Father of Star Wars

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"The Father of Star Wars?" you say. "That was George Lucas! What are you smoking?"

Yes, Lucas invented our favorite science fantasy world, but in a very real way, Burroughs was the start of it all. Certainly there were science fiction writers before him--Shelley, Wells, Verne--but the realm of science fantasy known as space opera or planetary romance was very much established by the Barsoom Chronicles concerning the hero John Carter of Mars, and an argument could be made that without Burroughs, we might not have Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers or Star Wars. 

Burroughs also served as a progenitor for later muscle-bound swords-and-sorcery heroes like Conan with his tales of Tarzan of the Apes, a precursor to the same themes of barbarism vs. civilization that authors like Robert E. Howard would later claim as their own.

While you're at it, don't forget his lesser-known romps like the early hollow earth saga of Pellucidar or the adventures of Carson of Venus! You might be surprised at just how many areas of pulp literature Burroughs spearheaded.

But ignore all that: Burroughs was just a rip-roaring great science fantasy and adventure writer who spun memorable characters and exciting stories. If you haven't read his stuff, you're missing out.

Fortunately, a lot of it is in the public domain and you can read it! Check out this listing of his works on, available in a variety of formats including epub, kindle and PDF. 

Stay tuned for more blurbs about classic writers that every gamer should read, and as always if you're feeling inspired, don't forget to check out the Amazing Adventures RPG!


Unknown said...

Don't forget all the words Lucas borrowed from Burroughs. Sith, bantha, Jed vs. Jedi, padwar vs. padawan. Both guys also lean rather heavily on coincidence as a tool for moving the plot along.

The Grey Elf said...

Oh, indeed. I don't think Lucas would even try to deny that he was drawing heavily from Burroughs' Barsoom Chronicles.

Unknown said...

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