Best 1922 Adventures (2)
February 6, 2017
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1922 adventure novels. Happy 95th anniversary!
Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s The Chessmen of Mars.
Gahan, king of a small but prosperous Martian city-state, attempts to woo Tara, the spirited daughter of Earth’s John Carter… but she rebuffs him, because he’s un-manly. When Tara’s flier is lost in a Barsoomian storm, Gahan heads out to rescue her. The two are captured by the Kaldanes — super-evolved, emotionless brain-creatures who live in a symbiotic relationship with headless “rykors” — only to be befriended by Ghek, a Kaldane who has reconnected with his emotions… and who proves a fascinating and amusing companion who accompanies them for the remainder of their odyssey. The three wanderers are then captured by the hordes of Manator, who play jetan — a chess-like game in which men fight to the death for possession of the gameboard’s squares. Gahan’s successful battles — and strategic moves — demonstrate his worth to Tara.
Fun facts: This is the fifth of Burroughs’s eleven John Carter novels; many readers consider it one of the best installments in the series. The Chessmen of Mars first appeared in serial form in Argosy All Story Weekly in 1922.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1922 adventures that you particularly admire.