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!

The Warlord is coming!

The final episode of The Gods of Mars will post Wednesday night - and then we're on to The Warlord of Mars starting Saturday night.  This podcast site is committed to bringing you the best possible readings of the ERB public domain canon. Accordingly, Mars 4 and 5 are fair game after I finish Warlord - then I will have to choose a different series - I'm thinking Pellucidar.

Again thanks to brother Ernest Stifel for this book's icon shown here.

Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 10:40pm PDT

Princess Adieu! Gods Hello!

So if you've been paying attention, the first book of the Martian series, A Princess of Mars, is now complete and available here on this site!

And a rousing welcome to Book 2 - The Gods of Mars! (In all honesty, the first three books are really one continuous tale, separated by cliffhangers at the end of books 1 and 2.) Edgar Rice Burroughs was writing for his primary outlet at the time, monthly "pulp" magazines, in which cliff hanging endings of episodes were standard fare to keep bringing readers back for more.

The Gods of Mars was written in 1912, only several months after the completion of A Princess of Mars. In the intervening time, Ed had written two other books - The Outlaw of Torn, and a little gem entitled Tarzan of the Apes. Amazing to consider what can be accomplished in only a few months. So please visit often and enjoy The Gods of Mars as the story unfolds.

Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

Click Here to Play Episode 1      Right Click Here to Download

Foreword and Chapter 1 “The Plant Men”

In Book One, A Princess of Mars, we met Captain John Carter of Virginia, who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars. On Barsoom, Carter has many adventures culminating in his marriage to the incomparable Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium.  After 10 years on Barsoom, Carter attempts to save the planet from extinction by sacrificing his life in unlocking the planet’s atmosphere factory – but by so doing he finds himself back on Earth, unable to return to his beloved wife and Barsoom.

Direct download: 01_The_Gods_of_Mars.mp3
Category:The Gods of Mars Episodes -- posted at: 12:35am PDT

Click Here to Play Episode 1      Right Click Here to Download

Foreword and Chapter I "On the Arizona Hills"

Amazingly enough, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote this novel 100 years ago!  Imagine the world of 1911. Heavier than air flight had just barely become a reality, the old Wild West was still a living memory if not a reality, World War I was yet to happen, radio broadcasts didn't yet exist,  and Edgar Rice Burroughs had decided to try his hand at writing a novel.

The result was so speculative, so outlandish, so "fantastic" for its day, that Ed decided not to use his real name when submitting the manuscript to pulp fiction publishers. He was afraid he'd be branded a nut case. Therefore,  Ed used the pseudonym "Normal Bean" as the author of the work. Very quickly, that name was dropped, and Edgar Rice Burroughs's incredible writing career was launched with this, his first novel, A Princess of Mars.

Direct download: 01_A_Princess_of_Mars.mp3
Category:A Princess of Mars Episodes -- posted at: 4:38pm PDT

Princess Launches in 24 hours!
Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 2:38am PDT

I'm the proud papa of his very first ERB Mars first edition - I acquired a first edition copy of Thuvia. The above post is a photo of a page from that volume.  I had been wondering what precis I could post to precede the first episode - and here it was in my brand new 1920 vintage book - tailor made for this site!

Category:Blog Entries -- posted at: 2:34am PDT

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