Literary Techniques

These new worlds and new characters allow Burroughs to speculate about societies structured along many lines. Some, like Gulliver's Travels, provide material for satiric parallels to the real world, while others attempt more imaginative leaps into theoretically-structured worlds. In their marvelous Dictionary of Imaginary Places, Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi include some fifty entries from Burroughs's works (more than any author save Tolkien), and these only include Earth and inner-Earth settings, not the myriad Martian worlds. Carter presents detailed social and cultural accounts of the strange new peoples he encounters, as for instance in the discussions of the Tharks' education, child rearing, military, and courtship practices. For The Chessmen of Mars Burroughs devised the chesslike jetan, with detailed instructions and rules, which John Gollon included in his book Chess Variations (1968), calling the game "quite good — very playable and entertaining." The novel features a game played with living men and creatures who battle to their death when moved into conflict. Finally, Burroughs devises fantastic and fascinating names of characters, animals, and places; the reader learns the Barsoomian language as a companion to Ape-English.

The chief change in technique from the Tarzan tales concerns the shift to a first-person narrator, Carter himself in the opening trilogy. In using first-person rather than the omniscient approach of...

(The entire section is 346 words.)