The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Readings of some of the greatest imaginative fiction ever written. Edgar Rice Burroughs, best known for his creation of Tarzan of the Apes, was a prolific author of what would come to be known as "science fiction" or "swords and sorcery." Accomplished film and TV actor David Stifel is your narrator and host. Join us for the adventures of a lifetime!

Welcome to the Fantastic Worlds!

First off, for those of you who came here for the author of Naked Lunch, you want the other Burroughs. This site is for that master of adventure, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and for his fans and for his soon-to-be fans.

I grew to love this author at the age of 11, when one afternoon I whined one time too many to my Mom about being bored. She went to her bookshelf and handed me one of the red volumes you see in the above picture - the one that says Tarzan of the Apes. I devoured it - and went on to read non-stop the remainder of those red books - I loved 'em. (And please don't think this site is just for kids - I was reading many grade levels beyond my age - and Burroughs's appeal still is more adult than juvenile).

There was however a lingering mystery about the tantalizing phrase that was printed on all the Tarzan title pages - "Author of ..... The Mars Books, ....". THAT sounded REALLY cool, but getting my hands on one of those "Mars" books proved well nigh impossible in 1960.

So it went until 1963 when something astounding happened. Somebody was asleep at the switch and had let all the Burroughs copyrights expire. Yep, somehow the Burroughs rights had fallen into public domain - and a paperback feeding frenzy ensued. Two publishers, Ace and Ballantine, rushed reprints of the ERB canon as fast as they could get the product out there. Seemingly overnight, all my friends were packing books by ERB. And among the first titles to show up were The MARS books! Tarzan was great fun - but JOHN CARTER on MARS was a hero for the space age. And a whole new generation of Americans came to love Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Well, folks - tighten your seat belts, because another generation is about to be introduced to ERB - next year the Disney/Pixar film John Carter of Mars is slated to open what is hoped to be a brand new multi-film franchise. But just as with Tarzan, check out the originals - no one has ever done a Tarzan movie that really did justice to the books.

So here's the deal. This year I'm planning to read the first 3 Mars novels and make them all available here. I'll be releasing two episodes per week - usually on Wed. evenings and Saturday evenings. If you miss an episode, don't worry - everything will be available at this site so you can catch up. First up will be A Princess of Mars.

The first episodes will be posted the weekend of May 15. So visit often - and enjoy!

Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 10:34pm PDT

About Copyrights

I mentioned in the previous post how in 1963, the copyrights to ERB's works had been allowed to lapse. That mistake was corrected, and ERB's works copyrighted in and after 1923 are still protected.  His books from before 1923 are considered public domain in the USA. This site will release only readings from Ed's public domain works.

Our show's theme music, from The Planets: Mars, the Bringer of War, by Gustav Holst,  is also in the public domain. My performances (readings) of ERB's books, and my rendition of Mars, the Bringer of War are fully copyrighted by myself, David Stifel, 2011.

Which brings me to the main delight of this post, the unveiling of the first book's artwork for the podcast, courtesy of my brother.  It is copyright by Ernest Stifel, 2011.   A tip of the Hatlo hat to bro, Ern! (Anybody else remember that reference?)

Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 10:21pm PDT

Music - Mars, the Bringer of War

It's about one week before this podcast's official launch. To whet our appetites, here's a piece I produced for the first book's theme music; Mars, the Bringer of War from Gustav Holst's The Planets. I've only performed the first two minutes.   Just click the grey icon above that says "POD".  Until next weekend, enjoy!

Direct download: Holst_-_Mars_Rev_1.0.mp3
Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 5:46pm PDT