Tuesday, April 3, 2012

pulp classics

I finished a couple more classic books.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars. One source for the recent movie John Carter. It's a really good book. There are elements of the colonialist white-hero thing (torn to shreds in lovely short essays here and here), but while Carter does come in and save Martian society #1--a more advanced society than Earth)--he does it by helping them make peace with Martian society #2, and the allied natives win their war against Martian society #3. Deliciously absent is the arrogance of the white hero not only marrying the native princess, but defending the nature-loving natives from the other white men.

H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines. Apparently the first of the Lost World literary genre, it's a rollicking adventure read, but HOLY CRAP, so racist. It's set in South Africa, future home of apartheid, in the 1870s or so, and...yeah.
"I do perceive that now as ever thy words are wise and full of reason, Macumazahn [Allan Quatermain, the narrator]; that which flies in the air loves not to run along the ground; the white man loves not to live on the level of the black or to house among his kraals [villages]."
I just finished re-reading Huckleberry Finn, finally, but Twain is clearly anti-racist. Haggard...not so much.

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