In the spring of 1866, John Carter, a former Confederate captain prospecting for gold in the Arizona hills, slips into a cave and is overcome by mysterious vapors. He awakes to find himself naked, alone, and forty-eight million miles from Earth—a castaway on the dying planet Mars. Taken prisoner by the Tharks, a fierce nomadic tribe of sixlimbed, olive-green giants, he wins respect as a cunning and able warrior, who by grace of Mars’s weak gravity possesses the agility of a superman. He also wins the heart of fellow-prisoner Dejah Thoris, the alluring, red-skinned Princess of Helium, whose people he swears to defend against their grasping and ancient enemy, the city-state of Zodanga.
John Carter first appeared in 1912 in the pages of The All-Story magazine and immediately entered the dream-life of American readers young and old. He was Edgar Rice Burroughs’s favorite among his many creations and remains a favorite of lovers of science fiction and fantasy everywhere. On the occasion of John Carter’s centenary, The Library of America invites readers to rediscover A Princess of Mars, the adventure-pulp classic that gave the world its first great interplanetary romance.