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Encountering Edgar Rice Burroughs in a Box of Old Books

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:46 pm - December 4, 2008.
Filed under: Blogging,Family,Literature & Ideas,Travel

It seems the time I spent in Cincinnati going through old boxes has put me in somewhat of a studious and reflective mood, good to get me back on track for working on my dissertation, bad for blogging. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve blogged so much for the past nine months that I need take a break from such writing.

It was weird going through my boxes, finding that while my path has meandered through a number of fields of endeavor, my interests have remained pretty constant over time. In those boxes, I found many works on mythology, history, politics and philosophy as well as the classics of many literatures–and a good deal of science fiction/fantasy, even one out-of-print fantasy book I had not yet read.

I began it upon my return. It suffers from the problems of much contemporary fantasy, too much magic and names which are pretty lame. Not just that, unlike the masters of fantasy fiction, the author hasn’t really worked out the history and mythology of her imaginary realm. Still, so far it’s a pretty good read with clear, if pedestrian prose.

And I discovered my complete set of the Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ Mars series. How I loved those books when I first discovered them in my early adolescence! But, in the years since those books had been boxed up, I didn’t think much about them. Indeed, I don’t think I can remember a plot from a single book.

I thought I’d ship them back her and keep the books. Yet, as I remembered my youthful enthusiasm for them, how I had to save up to buy each one, I decided to give them away, hoping they’d find their way into some used bookstore where another kid, with passions similar to my own, could get them on the cheap. For the cost of a week’s allowance perhaps, he could enjoy an idle afternoon, traveling to a faraway land and letting his imagination run wild . . .