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The swordsman of Mars by Otis Adelbert Kline

The swordsman of Mars (1933)

by Otis Adelbert Kline

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  1. 00
    A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Sylak)
  2. 00
    The Trigan Empire by Don Lawrence (Sylak)
    Sylak: More battles on alien planets to reinstate rightful rule to cities attacked from the sky by evil dictators in flying machines armed with disintegrator rays. Wonderful stuff!

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My new 2and favorite pulp writer behind Robert E Howard whom he served as editor for. Otis A Kline's Mars is better than Burroughs' Barsoom. To be fair this is because in my mind the main character Harry Thorne is presented as a complete far more likable person than John Carter. Thorne is a hardy adventurer but far from some mutant superman. He gets hurt and does not always reach the right conclusion. The logical, within it's own terms, action filled plot moves as fast as the hero's sword trust. I was surprised by how well the supporting cast were presented. This is a must have far any fan of pulp /planetary romance. ( )
  Segapup | Nov 18, 2010 |
Not a bad story but also not a great one either. It is extremely fast paced so much so that it felt like there was stuff missing. There was a number of errors in the wording that made me actually stop and reread them a number of times, this to me seriously detracts from a story. The world he was creating in the story had a great deal of potential to be built upon though. ( )
  Loptsson | Nov 15, 2010 |
Harry Thorn's failed suicide attempt has landed him in a cell, but not a padded one strangely enough. His saviour is a Doctor Morgan who needs Harry for a very particular mission: to swap bodies, or to be more exact minds, with his doppelgänger on the planet Mars - a Martian named Borgen Takkor - and of noble blood no less. His mission to confront and likely have to kill in the process a rogue agent from Earth named Richard Boyd who has been sent ahead of Harry to Mars in the body of one Sel Han.

Once on the planet, some one million years in the past Harry is stung by a giant blood sucking bug and in this weekend state manages to practically faint into the arms of the man he has been sent to kill - thus bringing shame and dishonour upon himself. To make things worse; around the same time his Martian father dies.

On his way to his ancestral homeland to claim his lands (albeit stained with his own shame and dishonour) Harry's or rather Borgen's aerial convoy is attacked by flying assassins and he is hit and takes a death role into the marshes and is lost!

Surviving the fall was nothing to escaping the various swamp monsters now after his blood! but Harry is rescued by a beautiful Amazon named Thain who also knew Borgen Takkor from childhood and is not fooled by this guise. After explaining the whole story to Thain they set out to reclaim Takkor's kingdom and restore Thain's father's territories from the Kamud who have seized power.

Thain and Takkor are accosted by some spindly yellow refugees named Ma Gongi formally of Earth's own Moon who where marooned on Mars after failing to conquer the planet years earlier.

The next morning after being pointed in the right direction, Harry sets off to claim his birthright; but before that can happen he will be declared dead and accused of being a fraud then imprisoned; made to fight for his life, brought before the local Dixtar and pardoned - only to be rewarded with the unenviable task of guarding the Dixtar's nymphet daughter; which in tern lands him a death sentence at the Baridium mines from which he will escape and end up in a desert adventure during which he will form alliances with other Martian races; Just as well as during this time Richard Boyd has been in cahoots with the Ma Gongi and taken over as Dixter before imprisoning all his remaining enemies in castle Takkor!
Thorn now has to figure out a way to save all his friends, escape, kill Boyd and restore the empire!

I loved this book - and I've only read the cut-down ACE version! ( )
  Sylak | Feb 5, 2010 |
This is a Burroughs style Mars story, and nothing else. If you like those sorts of stories, you'll like this one, as it is well written, and the plot is decent. Its a bit more complex than a typical Mars swordsman tale, and well written. This is a reprint of a story from the 1940's, so this is not 'modern' fantasy, but the old fashioned kind. Its really a fantasy/sci-fi crossover (ray gun wielding goblins!) but more of a fantasy than scifi. ( )
  Karlstar | Dec 10, 2008 |
There is a lengthy introduction to this book by Michael Moorcock, setting the stage. He discusses that this is an original, far superior version to a later butchered paperback edition, and how is happy to have missed that and now read this one. Noting that doing the Burroughs thing is not as easy as it might sound, giving he had a crack at his own trilogy, and didn't live up to the standard.

That, however, is definitely not the case here. I was dubious about this - admittedly only having read one Kline story before - but this book is good. In fact, easily the equal of the best Burroughs work. A different style, of course, but the trappings are there. Earthman goes to Mars, is handy with a sword, and there is a beautiful Princess. Or two, as the case may be, and one of them is almost as good with the edged weaponry.

Different colored men, strange beasts - some of which are fearsome and domesticated - or beastmen perhaps, death rays, flying machines, chases, escapes and battles, all the good stuff is here.

A nice piece of writing, and if you like the planetary romance or even just John Carter stuff, absolutely give this one a go. Harry Thorne's a more cerebral character, and he has a very different antagonist in this novel to those that Carter faces, but it is all thoroughly enjoyable.

This full proper version absolutely deserves the Planet Stories edition rescue it has been given, excellent work by Mona and crew.

( )
  bluetyson | Oct 28, 2008 |
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HARRY THORN opened his eyes and gazed about him with a startled expression.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
For the time being, both the fully restored version as well as abridged copies for this book are combined; for reasons that many cut down versions of this story claim to be 'complete and unabridged' making it near impossible to maintain consistent separation.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160125105X, Paperback)

In Swordsman of Mars, Harry Thorne, outcast scion of a wealthy East Coast family, seeks the greatest adventure of his life. He exchanges bodies with his look-alike, Martian Sheb Takkor, and is transported millions of years into the past to a Mars peopled with mighty warriors, beautiful women, and fearsome beasts. Sheb Takkor, a great swordsman in his own right, must fight his way across the deserts and jungles of ancient Mars to save the lovely Princess Thane and to defeat his arch-enemy Sel Han - or die trying! Edgar Rice Burroughs was the first great writer of planetary adventures. His one true rival and equal at writing planet stories was Otis Adelbert Kline. Kline was on the original editorial staff of Weird Tales, and was literary agent to Robert E. Howard of Conan fame.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:49 -0400)

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