mardi 13 décembre 2016

Just science-fiction XV : Edgar Rice Burroughs' legacy about Mars !

by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph.D

Today in our saga untitled "Just science-fiction", we want to pay homage to a great writer of anticipation : Edgard Rice Burroughs (1875 - 1950).


For convenience, he is usually seen as an American novelist (famous for the story of "Tarzan", Lord Greystoke in fact) or a science-fiction writer. As a matter of fact, he wrote "the Cycle of Mars", "the Cycle of Venus" called "Amtor", "the Cycle of the Moon", and "Pellucidar" (concerning the inside of Earth).
For now, we will comment about what he narrated concerning Mars, which is surprising still nowadays.
In his Cycle of Mars ("A Princess of Mars", "The Gods of Mars", and "The warlord of Mars"), he is describing the adventures of his Earthling hero, John Carter on Barsoom (Mars).
The Virginian John Carter seems to have made possible the travel from Earth to Mars (not just by astral halving, but most likely with the "OC AUREM OCTE...formula to get through the Interworld passage), in spite of any obstacle.

A lot of people considered his hero as a full character of fiction. But in reality, Captain John Carter was Edgar Rice Burroughs' uncle in real life. And the Cycle of Mars started to be published in 1917.
In his introduction about the Cycle of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs never says what he is writing is just fictional. On the contrary, he is clearly declaring to write with the important stash notes left by his beloved uncle, "officially" dead : he is stressing that John Carter returned in fact to Mars, to end up his life with his wife, the marvelous princess Dejah Thoris (a red Martian), and became "Jeddak of Jeddaks" - the warlord of Mars !
And he charged him to write about Mars, without scaring unavoidable laughs from human beings. He was allowed to choose and select what he could disclose, not to hurt too much fragile human beings, so full of their delusional unicity and their illusory designs.
But of course, this masterpiece of Edgar Rice Burroughs can be still considered just as a parable, if you prefer taking it this way : it would be then a warning against the fall into global disarray - and even geological chaos - of the Blue Star (Earth), by analogy with "Barsoom" (Mars) !

America recognized the masterpiece of Burroughs who is still very popular, by giving his name to a huge crater of Mars (104 km diameter, lat. 75.5 S- long. 24.31 W). But we don't know if the choice is connected to the place John Carter was living or explored.
According to Burroughs' uncle, Mars was populated with various intelligent beings : the dominant and most advanced red Martians (far descendants of Yellow ones), fighting the Green ones, and initially deceived by false white Gods (the "saint Therns" of Dor Valley). Another type of humanoid beings were the tall black pirates attacking the Therns, and claiming controversialy to be the first inhabitants of Mars.
Equally, an astonishing part of the full story is involving very tall white monkeys who are carnivorious, and horrible mobile "Men-plants" attacking and eating the substance of the humanoids of Barsoom (Mars) with their mouth suction-cup.
Again, overthere would be existing a very dangerous and long animal with ten legs, called "bhant" ! It could be a bit compared to an enormous Tasmanian devil, able to make jumps like a very aggressive kangaroo and to deeply bite.

Strangely, there was recent "seed rainshowers" coming from the sky over Australia and New Zealand (seeds of "Men-plants" ?), as Barsoom creatures might want to establish on Earth, at the time human beings are planning to colonize it. Astonishingly, this may remind about the "Voynich Manuscript" (dating back before 1612) and its strange herbarium of intelligent plants able to be "on locomotion", in connection with Mars notably through the Interworld passage.

The human "Alternative 3" planned in the conference of Huntsville (Alabama, USA) in 1954, and the hypothetical first human city-dome on Barsoom, might have opened the path for a reversal idea among the species who have difficulties to still live on Mars : the "atmosphere machine" John Carter saved, is not working very well according to them !

Presently Russia is building a new type of propellor, a nuclear one, which will be ready by 2018 most likely. It will enormously shorten the planned travel-time to Mars (and also make possible and frequent the return from Mars to Earth) : only six weeks, instead of one year and half !
So Russia, may plant "officially" its flag on Mars with its cosmonauts before America (between 2024 and 2030, depending if we are talking of Elon Musk's rocket, or the NASA's one).  A quick space revolution might be on the way !

Another strange feature about Mars is the importance of the figures "58", which are engraved on its surface (just like on the Moon). Nobody knows what this number is meaning, and why it is looking like an Earthling one ?
This funny link between Earth, Mars and the Moon (where America planted officially its flag in 1969),  has got something disconcerting for human mind. But it is showing that those celestial bodies are definitively sharing a common destiny in the Galaxy : even it is still very discrete, their obvious interconnection is back !