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

****( ) (based on 12 ratings)

Our Price: $12.99

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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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Product Reviews (13)
1 to 5 of 13 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 12 ratings)

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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.

Accomplishes what it sets out to do...

***( )( )

I should preface this review by specifying that I did not read the Planet Stories edition of City of the Beast, but the one that appeared in the White Wolf omnibus edition titled "Kane of Old Mars." That having been said, I imagine that little (if anything) has changed between the editions. Also, I generally consider myself a fan of Michael Moorcock, and have read dozens of his books (and have dozens more that I have not yet read). Finally, I expected not to enjoy "City of the Beast" because... well, the premise of a sci-fi/fantasy story set on Mars just didn't excite me. Still, given that I'm reading the White Wolf omnibus volumes in order of publication, I thought I would give it a shot.
Overall, City of the Beast was a so-so read (slightly more enjoyable than I expected). It's far from Moorcock's best, but it certainly isn't his worst, either. If you like action-packed novels that race along at a break-neck pace, then you'll probably enjoy this. Character development was limited to non-existent. I found that Michael Kane's character was a little bit too cookie cutter "flawless knight in shining armour" and wooden for my taste (the same goes for the other characters in the novel). He was nowhere near as gritty as Oswald Bastable, Elric, and many of Moorcock's other "anti-heroes" (some readers may find it refreshing that Moorcock seemed to develop a more traditional hero in this book, in contrast with his usual grim/cursed characters). Also, the speed with which Kane adapted to Martian society (and was accepted into it) was a little bit hard for me to swallow. I found the dialogue was a little clunky/cheesy at times.
On a positive note, the novel did contain suspenseful moments, and interesting twists and turns that kept you guessing what might happen next.
All in all, it's reasonably good mind candy. To judge the book on its own merit, I think it accomplishes what it set out to do.

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