Sunday 27 December 2009

Gilbert and Edgar on Mars, by Eric Brown

This very enjoyable little book sees G.K. Chesterton, having been mistaken for H.G. Wells, abducted by Martians. An energetic and rather unpleasant Edgar Rice Burroughs rescues him and the two head off into the Martian wilderness to find Edgar’s good friend, John Carter, dodging dinosaur attacks and battling alternative realities along the way…

This makes a nice companion piece to the same publisher’s Planet of Mystery by Terry Bisson, in which astronauts found themselves on a hallucinatory Burroughsian Venus, but where that could have been drawn from the pages of New Worlds, this is much more traditional, and slightly old-fashioned. That makes it no less enjoyable, though.

After all, this is a book which sees John Carter pointing a ray-rifle at Professor Challenger – what’s not to love? Burroughs fans may be disappointed by his unflattering characterisation, but it serves the story well. It’s perhaps a shame the Jabbak Kathro didn’t get a chance to rummage through Chesterton’s brain, but that’s what sequels are for…

Gilbert and Edgar on Mars, by Eric Brown, PS Publishing, hb, 90pp.

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