City of the Beast (aka Warriors of Mars) (Trade Paperback)

****( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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by Michael Moorcock, with an introduction by Kim Mohan

Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion returns as Kane of Old Mars, a brilliant American physicist whose strange experiments in matter transmission catapult him across space and time to the Red Planet.

Kane’s is a Mars of the distant past, a place of romantic civilizations, fabulous many-spired cities, and the gorgeous princess Shizala. To win her hand and bring peace to Mars, Kane must defeat the terrible Blue Giants of the Argzoon, whose ravaging hordes threaten the whole planet!

Adventure in the Edgar Rice Burroughs tradition from the creator of Elric of Melniboné.

First stand-alone American printing since 1979!

160-page softcover trade paperback ISBN: 1-60125-044-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-044-5


About the Author

Michael Moorcock (1939– ) has been recognized since the 1960s as one of the most important speculative fiction writers alive. Born in London, Moorcock began editing the magazine Tarzan Adventures at the age of 15, and quickly gained notoriety for his character Elric of Melniboné, an anti-hero written as a deliberate reversal of recurring themes he saw in the writings of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard. Many of his works, including both the Elric books and those of his popular androgynous secret agent Jerry Cornelius, are tied together around the concept of the Eternal Champion, a warrior whose many incarnations battle to maintain the balance between Law and Chaos in the multiverse, a term popularized by Moorcock referring to many overlapping dimensions or realities. In addition, Moorcock has also been recognized for his non-genre literary work, and his influence today extends into music, film, and popular culture. His writing has won numerous critical accolades, including the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement award, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

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****( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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A Good Length

***( )( )

The first Planet Stories book I read was Michael Moorcock's City of the Beast. Moorcock is a famous fantasy writer (especially with his Elric stories), but this is the first time I've ever actually read one of his books. City of the Beast (originally titled Warriors of Mars) has a refreshing simplicity to it, insofar as it is very much straight-up heroic adventure. Except for a framing sequence, it's told from the first-person point of view of a character named Michael Kane. A modern-day physicist (who just happens to be an expert swordsman and military tactician), Kane is transported by accident to the Mars of thousands of years ago--a world which is a lush, fantastic place full of strange creatures, civilizations, and quasi-scientific technology. Kane immediately falls in love with a native princess named Shizala and goes on an epic quest to rescue her when she's kidnapped by a race of blue-skinned giants named the Argzoon. In other words, this is the story of a guy fighting monsters to rescue a princess: it is Super Mario Bros: The Novel. I say that facetiously, as it's fun to read a fantasy novel that is straight-forward and fast-moving (it weighs in at just over 150 pages) and that doesn't carry with it dozens of subplots and hundreds of characters. As much as I like the layered myth-making and deep characterization in stories like The Wheel of Time, a book like City of the Beast offers a nice change of pace.


Entertaining read.

****( )

I can't decide if this is really an homage to the John Carter novels or something else...

In either case it is a fun light read. I enjoyed it and Moorcock sticks to the same style and pace as the Burroughs novels.

I flew through the pages with ease. I look forward to the remaining books in the series, despite the reviews some of them have.


A fun, light read


This is the first Planet Stories title that I have read, and to be truthful I was a little skeptical if it would be any good.

I thought that I would find the whole earthman goes to mars (and a mars that seemed a little to far fetched to boot)to be too goofy to get into.

None the less the explanation for said planet hopping as well as the fantasy version of mars was well done, and the story was a fun, easy reading romp that was full of action and indeed left me looking forward to reading the next volume in the series.

I would give it a full 5 stars because it really was a great read, but I think that 5 stars should be reserved for only the most exceptional works.


****( )

Moorcock has written an unapologetic, no holds barred, Burroughsian rip..errr.. riff. :) Complete with the same lack of wardrobe for the characters.

Michael Kane, a physicist, becomes involved with a project that can transport consciousness, it appears. Think Adam Strange sort of thing, complete with limited time of travel.

It also happens, than growing up, he lived near a French fencing master, who gave him many, many lessons.

Needless to say, he ends up projected to Mars, meets a princess, fights Blue Giant armies, has an evil raven haired sorceress femme fatale lust after and want to kill him, after seducing his princess' fiance, no less.

He also happens to rescue a relative, make friends with an enemy, and all that sort of thing.

Pure escapism, and a lot of fun.


A fun pulpy read

***( )( )

I don't have a large background in reading the classic sword & planet genre. What drew me to this was the description of the main character as a physicist swordsman. Brains and brawn combined in a protagonist sounded like a fun read. Thankfully, the book turned out to be just that.

If you've ever read John Carter, Warlord of Mars, then you know how this book begins. Earthman is transported to Mars through mysterious device and quickly becomes acclimated to the the Martian environment and culture. Moorcock explained away the obvious disconnect with what was actually known of the real Martian surface in the 1950's with a clever time travel element. The book plays out with fun fight scenes, classic tropes of the pulp era stories, such as fights with swords and ray guns, flying ships, princesses to be rescued and delves into the depths of the planet. The dialog doesn't flow easily at all times, and the plot is very reminiscent of the John Carter books, but City of the Beast is a fun ride as you read along, and I'm looking forward to the next title in this series.


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