Saturday, 3 June 2017


Dominic Flandry led the Intelligence operation when the Terran Empire annexed the planet Brae.

John Carter led the green hordes that sacked Zodanga, a city of the red men but also the main adversary of Helium. Carter married the Princess of Helium. The sack of Zodanga involved a unique and temporary alliance between Thark, Warhoon and lesser hordes.

Our heroes are someone else's villains. ERB always portrayed enemies of Helium as discreditable and reprehensible but they must also have included decent people with genuine grievances.

We have compared Dominic Flandry with James Bond and also with John Carter. Can anyone give us a three way comparison? (Britain was no longer conquering in Bond's period.)

On Flandry's first command, his executive officer, Rovian of Ferra, resembles an ERBian green Martian in several respects:

he is naked except for weapons and insignia;
the lower of his two pairs of arms can be used as legs, increasing his speed;
he does not understand human morality, e.g., sees nothing wrong with repression unless it provokes revolt;
he is amused by human formalities - and Flandry and he avoid formalisms when alone.

However, Rovian has dark fur and a large tail so he is not exactly like a Thark or Warhoon.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And one point to remember about the conquest of Brae was that there was no good REASON for it! Merely the pique of the governor of the bordering sector of the Empire being annoyed at the Braean High Temple turning down his suggestions. The annexation of Brae violated the standard policy of the Empire to avoid further conquests unless DRIVEN to it by military necessity (such as the need to thwart Merseian aggression or intrigues). The Brae affair was an example of how badly things were being managed in Josip's lax reign.

Yes, it does make sense to think the enemies of Helium, John Carter, and their friends/allies were not always bad people, altho we don't get to see their sides of the arguments. ERB was a writer good enough that his pulp cliches did not ruin his stories.


S.M. Stirling said...

In the later books, ERB showed Zodanga as a hotbed of organized crime, as well as quasi-terrorist resistance to Helium.

Mind you, John Carter is trying to end the incessant warfare between the Red Martian kingdoms and city-states. That necessarily involves a limitation of their sovereignty, and nobody likes that.

I set part of "The Jasoom Project" in Zondanga to give some of their perspective on the whole thing.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Ah! So ERB was capable of offering more nuanced views in his Barsoom stories. Both in what you said about Zodanga and the Warlord's efforts to end the wars waged by the red Martian kingdoms and city states against each other.

You've given me yet another reason to seek out your Barsoom story!