I like people. I like to be with my family, my friends, my fighting men; and probably just because I am so keen for companionship, I am at times equally keen to be alone. It is at such times that I can best resolve the knotty problems of government in times of war or peace. It is then that I can meditate upon all the various aspects of a full life such as I lead; and, being human, I have plenty of mistakes upon which to meditate that I may fortify myself against their recommission. When I feel that strange urge for solitude coming over me, it is my usual custom to take a one man flier and range the dead sea bottoms and the other uninhabited wildernesses of this dying planet; for there indeed is solitude. There are vast areas on Mars where no human foot has ever trod, and other vast areas that for thousands of years have known only the giant green men, the wandering nomads of the ocher deserts.
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Llana of Gathol consists of four, connected novelettes published in Amazing Stories pulp magazine in while ERB was living in Hawaii.
These magazine stories were illustrated by J. Allen St. It is absolutely spectacular and captures the essence of thoats in a way that places this work among the masterpieces of Burroughsian art. There is no doubt that JCB was inspired by fantastic beasts. John Carter battles with a green man, both warriors riding on the backs of leaping war thoats. They have four legs on either side and a broad, flat tail, larger at the tip than at the root, that they hold straight out behind while running.
Their gaping mouths split their heads from their snouts to their long, massive necks. This picture is executed with great accuracy and excitement -- a masterpiece of both masters father and son working together to create a memorable moment of Burroughsian story-telling and art.
Frontispiece "The creature leaped for my throat. Ordinarily ulsios are about the size of an Airedale terrier. This scene is from chapter 5 of "The Ancient Dead" as revealed by the mouldering skeleton and the chests of magnificent gems.
John Carter is unarmed, so he is about to bash the ulsio with a torch or lantern that shines brightly in the darkness of the pits. Plate 1 "Kam Han Tor commenced to shrink and crumble. He stands before a tower that is also slowly melting away into the sands before it -- a powerful monument to the inevitability of mortality in all the races of the universe.
It is a haunting and tragic evocation. Plate 2 "Carved a bloody cross upon his left breast. A grand, dramatic scene. He has been given a shorter sword than his adversary, the great swordsman, Nolat. He is pointing to a piece of parchment upon which something has been written.
I find it to be a masterly presentation of a villain - - it literally oozes evil with the free brush strokes of paint. However, the tankard on the table reveals the true subject to be the drunken Phor San who signed the order that gave John Carter the command of the ship Dusar just before he passed out. Plate 4 "My blade moved with the swiftness of light.
One man hangs by one arm from a rope attached to the flyer. He has just defeated a man who is falling to the ground. Another warrior on the ground approaches with sword drawn from the left side of the painting. A towering Barsoomian city rises in the background.
Llana Of Gathol
Edit Seeking solitude, John Carter flies northwest as far as the deserted city of Horz. Afterwards he is however taken prisoner by other white men, despite the protests of Pan Dan Chee. Carter is to be delivered to Ho Ran Kim, the Jeddak of Horz, who tells him they are Orovar , a race that has been living in this hidden city for centuries. Despite being grateful for his help, they will have to kill John Carter to keep their existance a secret.
Llana of Gathol
Thoughts of the past, mere vague imaginings, were passing idly through my mind one night that I could not sleep and was sitting on the lanai watching the white maned chargers of the sea racing shoreward beneath the floodlight of the Moon. I saw the giant kings of old Hawaii and their mighty chiefs clothed in feather cape and helmet. Kamehameha came, the great conqueror, towering above them all. Down from the Nuuanu Pali he came in great strides, stepping over cane fields and houses. The hem of his feather cape caught on the spire of a church, toppling it to the ground.