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Ed's fifth MARS novel was written in 1921 - ten years after his first attempt at writing, A Princess of Mars. It was his 39th book! In little more than ten years!

The notion of chess matches fought by living pieces is a popular one. If it did not originate with Ed, he certainly popularized the idea to his readers and the society at large. The holographic monster chess set used in Star Wars and the life sized chess pieces in the first Harry Potter book both owe their genealogy to Mr. Burroughs.

In Chessmen, we meet and follow John Carter's daughter, Tara of Helium, as she adventures across Barsoom. A different kind of heroine from Dejah Thoris or Thuvia, she's similar to the Kate Capshaw character in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - "just like a woman". The title of the first chapter says it all - "Tara in a Tantrum".

For many years, Chessmen was my personal favorite of the Mars novels. The two symbiotic races of the heads without bodies (the superiors) and the cattle-like bodies without heads (the inferiors) spoke to my nerdish proclivities, and to my anti-jock biases. Of course, these novels play to each one of us who wishes he were the ultimate jock, John Carter.

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