BOOK REVIEW: KANE OF OLD MARS / AUTHOR: MICHAEL MOORCOCK / PUBLISHER: GOLLANCZ / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Kane of Old Mars is the final tome in the Gollancz reprint of all that is Michael Moorcock. It consists of the three books Warriors of Mars, Blades of Mars and Barbarians of Mars and comes in at a worthy 400 pages. To make things interesting for collectors, these books also had the titles City of the Beast, Lord of the Spiders and Masters of the Pit.
Michael Moorcock wrote these books early in his career in the mid-1960s and wanted to separate them from his career editing New Worlds magazine and they appeared under the pseudonym of Edward P. Bradbury. In style they are highly derivative of (or tribute to) the early twentieth century John Carter of Mars stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The name Moorcock wrote under evokes both Burroughs and Ray Bradbury, the latter also known for his classic novels set on Mars. These may not be classic literature but they are very enjoyable to read.
Later in his career Michael Moorcock wrote many dozens of novels and stories, all of which fit patchwork into his über-myth of the Eternal Champion, and while these earlier works have been amalgamated into that by cross-reference, these particular stories owe more to the author’s fascination with the Burroughs genre and the pulp-fiction writers of that earlier period. Not to imply these aren’t well written, they are but somewhat old-fashioned in structure. All of Michael Moorcock’s imagination is there to be admired and his ability to construct a pacey story already evident some years before the stories he is more widely known for.
This particular collection may only appeal to completists, though it is to be hoped any new fans of Michael Moorcock’s work do consider dipping in. If they do they will be rewarded with some solid escapist entertainment.
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