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The Globe and Mail

A gallery of Egdar Rice Burroughs pulp covers

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Edgar Rice Burroughs published his first John Carter story in 1912 and went on to produce of a prolific series of stories based on the heroics of a Civil War veteran who ends up on Mars.

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The pulp stories with which Burroughs is synonymous were first published in Argosy magazine in the late 1800s.

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Burroughs read some of the original stories in Argosy, which weren't all that good. "I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines," he is quoted as saying.

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During their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, the pulps gave the world such adventure writers as H. Rider Haggard (She, the Lost World), Robert E. Howard (Conan the Adventurer) and the most influential of them all, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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"The Synthetic Men of Mars" was part of the John Carter series and another Burroughs blockbuster.

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Burroughs's Tarzan series became his most well known, but his John Carter series is more often cited as an influence by modern science-fiction writers and filmmakers.

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Among those who have claimed the John Carter stories as influences are Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, who wrote that “Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.”

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