The Outlaws of Mars (Trade Paperback)

2.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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by Otis Adelbert Kline, with an introduction by Joe R. Lansdale

Sentenced to Death!

A master of the sword and planet genre, Otis Adelbert Kline is considered by many to be the only true equal of Edgar Rice Burroughs. From his position on the original editorial staff of Weird Tales and as the literary agent for Conan creator Robert E. Howard, Kline was instrumental in shaping the face of science fiction as we know it.

Now, in its first complete edition since 1934, Kline blasts off to Mars with the story of Jerry Morgan, a disgraced American soldier convinced he has nothing left to live for. Nothing, that is, until his eccentric scientist uncle offers to make him the first man to explore the Red Planet in person. Transported through space by powers beyond his understanding, Jerry lands on Mars only to find himself sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. Hunted by both sides of a vicious civil war and spurned by the beautiful princess he loves, Jerry Morgan is left with only one choice: to unite the slaves and malcontents of the Red Planet beneath his own banner, and take the throne himself as an outlaw of Mars.

“Enough action for three novels... court intrigue, treachery, weird inhabitants, sword fighting, and one hot mama.” —Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of “Bubba Ho-Tep”

304-page softcover trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-151-0

About the Author

Known today primarily as the literary agent of Conan creator Robert E. Howard and supposed rival of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in his day Otis Adelbert Kline (1891–1946) was nearly as popular as Howard and Burroughs themselves. Though Kline's famous feud with Burroughs, in which the two published competing Mars and Venus books in constant attempts to one-up each other, may have been the creation of imaginative fans, there can be no doubt that the two authors shared both style and subject matter. Indeed, Kline has frequently been called Burroughs's only true competitor. While he produced only a handful of novels before his death at the age of 55, Kline's presence on the original editorial staff of Weird Tales and his sword-swinging romances on the red and green planets did much to influence the genre, and his legacy lives on in the tradition of sword and planet novels to this day.

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2.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Avoid It.


The Outlaws of Mars fits very firmly in what's been called the "sword-and-planet" genre. The hero, Jerry Morgan, a former American soldier, gets transported to Mars via a special craft. There, he instantly falls in love with a Martian princess of indescribable beauty, but palace intrigue and war keeps them apart until near the end. In many ways it's a very standard work in the genre--low on characterization, but extremely high on action (and a quick, easy read). One problematic part of this novel is the implicit racism--a woman is described as "beautiful, despite her dusky skin" and there's a whole history of Martian civilization that explains how the white race came to power over the brown race, etc., with a lot of details I don't want to get into (the main villain is of "the brown race", for example). Overall, not one worth seeking out.


The second of Kline's Martian Planetary Romances again sees a man with reasons to be happy to get the hell out of dodgy planet Earth. This time, Jerry Morgan, a falsely disgraced army officer ends up with his wealthy uncle.

Who just happens to be Richard Morgan (also writing something that just may be planetary romancesque, too, in The Steel Remains).

Richard Morgan happens to have hopefully perfected a way to transport a man to Mars, as opposed to doing the body inhabiting-mentality switching type trick employed elsewhere.

Once he makes it there, Jerry is propelled into sword swinging action, as he becomes embroiled in an interracial conflict and war - and is also caught between two space princesses and their various relatives who would like to see him lose a few vital body parts.

Some great monsters in here, flying beasties, sentient vegetable balls and more, including the trusty dalfs.

Not quite as good as the first, but certainly still up there with Burroughs best few Mars books, by way of comparison.

3.5 out of 5

Outlaws by the numbers


I wavered on giving this either 2 or 3 stars. Kline delivers a yarn that is passable and in some aspects improves upon the book's predecessor (Swordsman of Mars). Yet there is little remarkable in this rather formulaic story. The derring-do, near escapes from certain death, damsels in distress and the bug eyed monsters are all there but little stands out as Kline's characters and world come across as fairly drab.
Once the novel gets going the plot moves along at a snappy pace to its foregone conclusion. Kline's action reads well and luckily his stilted love scenes are mercifully short usually cut off by some iminent peril of the bug-eyed variety.
A quick note re the racism present in the text. The novel is a product of the 1930s and it shows but it is at least far less blatant and outright hostile than say the Fu Manchu or various Yellow Menace serials of the time. It is there, quite visible, but no moreso than you would find in many Jack London, Robert E.Howard tales or the like. Kudos to Planet Stories for presenting this text warts and all.

When and if do you plan to release Kline's Venus trilogy, and will you release any of his other work like Maza of the Moon?


Barsoomian White Ape wrote:
When and if do you plan to release Kline's Venus trilogy, and will you release any of his other work like Maza of the Moon?

We would of course love to, but that all depends on whether readers decide to pick up The Swordsman of Mars and The Outlaws of Mars...

Wow I remembering reading this almost 35 years ago glad to see they are being reprinted going to have to get them thanks for rekindling old memories of the old Burroughs/Kline rivalry/feud over planet jumping

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Love the cover art!

Man with shotgun in one hand and a barely dressed hottie on the other! His life must be good! :D

has anyone read this yet im thinking of checking it out

the cover looks awesome anyone have any feedback on the book

I haven’t read it yet. Just wanted to make sure you knew, it’s the sequel to The Swordsman of Mars, so you might want to look into that first.

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