Description

    Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Chessmen of Mars. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1922. First edition of the fifth book of the Mars series. Octavo (7.25 x 4.875 inches; 185 x 125 mm.). [8], 375, [1, blank] pages. Eight sepia plates, including frontispiece, by J. Allen St. John (1872-1957). "M. A. Donohue & Co., Printers and Binders, Chicago" (verso of title-page). Published November 29, 1922. 12,500 copies printed. Original red cloth lettered in black on front cover and ruled and lettered in black on spine. Slightly skewed; corners very lightly bumped; cloth beginning to fray at corners and spine ends; a bit of recoloring at spine ends and top corner of front cover; tiny ding at outer edge of front cover; slight discoloration to free endpapers. Evidence of biopredation to the surface of the cloth, at the hinges, and on the top edge; tiny adhesions in the outer margin of several leaves. Slight offsetting from the frontispiece to the title-page and from the remaining plates to facing text plates; over-opened in a few places. A very good copy. In the original color pictorial dust jacket with artwork by J. Allen St. John on the front panel (repeated on the plate facing page 292), and with a brief description of the book and the $1.90 price in a circle within a stylized chess board on the rear panel. Jacket professionally backed and restored, repairing a few tears and small areas of loss; a few small areas of neat recoloring; small portion of the rule at the bottom of the spine supplied; scratch mark on the rear panel, affecting a couple of letters in the blurb; a couple of small dark spots on front panel of dust jacket just above Gahan of Gathol and his mount. The jacket is still quite attractive, housed in a blue cloth slipcase.

    More Information:

    There is a three-page appendix (pages 373-375) entitled: "Jetan, or Martian Chess," in which "Burroughs provides a glossary of Martian terms and the rules for playing jetan. Small points like these delighted his fans" (Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years): "For those who care for such things, and would like to try the game, I give the rules of Jetan as they were given me by John Carter. By writing the names and moves of the various pieces on bits of paper and pasting them on ordinary checkermen the game may be played quite as well as with the ornate pieces used upon Mars" (page 373).

    First published as a seven-part serial in Argosy All-Story Weekly, February 18-April 1, 1922, with a front cover illustration by P. J. Monahan (1882-1931) on the February 18 issue.

    Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years, 308 ("The fifth book in the Martian series, in this instance featuring the beautiful but spoiled Tara, Daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris"); Bleiler, The Checklist of Science-Fiction and Supernatural Fiction (1978), p. 35; Heins CM-1; Reginald 02278; Zeuschner (1996) 92; Zeuschner (2016), p. 61, no. 2.

    "Another marvellous Martian yarn by the man whose wondrous imagination has thrilled two continents. The story mainly concerns the adventures of Tara, Princess of Helium, daughter of the Warlord, among strange races in remote regions of the Red Planet. Among other astounding things we are shown the land of headless men, creatures with the power of detaching their heads from their bodies and replacing them at will" (blurb on rear panel of dust jacket).



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