Two Moons in the Unending Sky

Quote from the first Zero's Familiar opening—which, come to think of it, is very much in the vein of John Carter type stories. If Dejah Thoris were an utter screwup whose incompetence masks a long-lost power, and were also a Kugimiya Rie tsundere character.

Remember how I said John Carter of Mars is basically a sword-and-sorcery set on a world that happens to share a name and surface gravity with ours? Turns out it's actually in a genre called "sword-and-planet", which makes me happy. It's different from planetary romance, because of the spelling (and because planetary romance runs the full gamut of scientific verisimilitude, whereas sword-and-planet does not give a tinker's damn).

Well, actually, it doesn't share a name (its name is Barsoom), but it does share an orbital order.

Please recall, Carter's only basis (and yes, I have read the books) for saying he's on Mars, is that he sees a diagram showing Barsoom as the fourth planet. But at no point do any of them travel across the intervening space; they teleport. Actually in the book Carter, dying, is rather inexplicably transported to another world (possibly summoned by a find familiar gone awry?); the Therns of the books are just an ancient, decadent race, remnants of the (more or less extinct) White Martians who gave rise to the Red Martians.

But the movie, and some descriptions in the books, give me further basis for describing Burroughs' Mars as another planet. In both, the two moons are portrayed as big, honkin' dealies, each nearly as big as Luna, if not bigger—more in common with the moons of Nirn or the world in Zero no Tsukaima.

This, on the other hand, is what Phobos and Deimos look like:Obviously not the same moons. Incidentally, isn't it cool that we have a picture like this? On the Wikipedia page I got this from, their transit is animated!

Oh, hell, one more.This is sunset on a Martian winter solstice. But no, man, the space program is totally unnecessary.

Also, any writer worth his salt can get a lot outta the fact that Mars's natural satellites can only be called "the Terror Moons".

If John Carter is still in theaters in your area, go see it. Who cares that it's not really Mars? It's some war-world called Barsoom. And ignore that the Red Martians are just spray-tanned—go see it for the Tharks.

1 comment:

penny farthing said...

That movie was awesome! I too am glad sword-and-planet is a thing. I loved the Tharks. Not only were they a cool civilization with mad skills and cool face-horn clashing when they are mad, but they just looked and moved awesome (ly)! Take that Navi - these aliens actually have weight when they move, and that alone makes them better. Weight is the holy grail of animators, and for some reason, many of the fanciest effects seem to miss it. Also - cool airships, cool evil city that destroys all in its path, cool Princess Bride wedding thing, and very cool characters. It's just a fun adventurous movie that doesn't lack brains while indulging in fantasy.

Although I gotta say, the real pictures from Mars are just as exciting. I love space.