I’m a big fan of Burroughs’ Mars books. I discovered them in my late twenties and read the snot out of them. I guess that makes me a fan of the nearly extinct sub-genre known as the ‘planetary romance.’ I don’t care that their swashbuckling space operas are full of anachronisms and casual chauvinism. Most of their failings are artifacts of their time, and sometimes I tire of the modern tendency for heroes to be brooding and fallible. Sometimes I just want a rip-roaring adventure with dashing heroes and beautiful damsels.
Last week I snagged a copy of Jane Carver of Waar from one of my co-workers. How could I pass up an homage/parody of John Carter. The cover featured a buxom, sword-wielding heroine battling tiger-centaurs in an alien vista. In a word: groovy. Not to mention that it was published by Night Shade, a publisher who provides more hits than misses for my sensibilities.
The book starts with a bang. Our heroine, Jane, is an ex-Army Ranger, biker chick on the run from the cops. She stumbles upon a device that transports her to the alien planet of Waar. So not only does she find herself buck-naked on an alien world, but no sooner than she regains her feet, she witnesses a massacre and finds herself captured, along with a handsome noble, by the fearsome tiger men depicted on the cover.
The rest of the novel is an adventuresome romp through genre tropes as Jane struggles to adapt to an even more patriarchal society than the one she left behind on Earth and stay alive long enough to find a way home. From this we get some daring getaways, bloody gladiatorial arenas, dashing villains and some sky pirates. The action is well described and the pace moves along well. I was a bit put off by Jane’s constant attacks of conscious and some of the gratuitous sexuality, but otherwise it worked for me.
It’s not the most high brow of novels, but a great planetary romance with fun and excitement. Grab a copy and give it a read!