Edgar Rice Burroughs is beyond doubt one of the most widely-read and enjoyed authors in 20th century literature. An unassuming American writer, his tales have been translated into thirty or more languages…. Burroughs’ works have become literary classics. Formal recognition of this fact came in 1962 when a study-edition of his first story, A Princess of Mars, was published for British school use, as one volume in a series comprising such native authors as Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Shakespeare. and the publisher who ranked ERB as the only American among this distinguished company was none other that the venerable Oxford University Press. … “He being dead yet speaketh.” And we shall not soon see his like again.
— Reverend Henry Hardy Heins – A Golden Anniversary Bibliography of ERB – 1964
Mr. Burroughs convinced me that I could talk with the animals, even if they didn’t answer back, and that late nights when I was asleep my soul slipped from my body, slung itself out the window, and frolicked across town never touching the lawns, always hanging from trees where, even later in those nights, I taught myself alphabets and soon learned French and English and danced with the apes when the moon rose. But then again, his greatest gift was teaching me to look at Mars and ask to be taken home. I went home to Mars often when I was eleven and twelve and every year since, and the astronauts with me, as far as the Moon to start, but Mars by the end of the century for sure…. We have commuted because of Mr. Burroughs. Because of him we have printed the Moon. Because of him and men like him, one day in the next five centuries, we will commute forever, we will go away…And never come back….And so live forever.
— Ray Bradbury — May 8, 1975
I can remember as a child reading with breathless fascination the Mars novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I journeyed with John Carter, gentleman adventurer from Virginia, to “Barsoom,” as Mars was known to its inhabitants. I followed herds of eight legged beasts of burden, the thoats. I won the hand of the lovely Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. I befriended a four-metre-high green fighting man named Tars Tarkas. I wandered within the spired cities and domed pumping stations of Barsoom, and along the verdant banks of the Nilosyrtis and Nepenthes canals. Might it really be possible – in fact and not in fancy – to venture with John Carter to the Kingdom of Helium on the planet Mars? Could we venture out on a summer evening, our way illuminated by the two hurtling moons of Barsoom, for a journey of high scientific adventure? … I can remember spending many an hour in my boyhood, arms resolutely outstretched in an empty field, imploring what I believed to be Mars to transport me there.
— Carl Sagan — Cosmos
When Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote “Dejah Thoris, A Princess of Mars” in 1911, he had no idea that he was opening a new era in the science fiction field. Over a period of thirty years, Burroughs wrote ten Martian tales…the story of life and death, romance and tragedy on the Red Planet is undoubtedly one of the greatest series of all time. Burroughs created a world of dead sea beds, towering mountains, polar ice caps, underground rivers… he peopled the planet with four different human races and one semi-human. He gave Mars a history, several phases of civilization and an assortment of religions. He added dauntless heroes, beautiful maidens, evil villains and fearful monsters — all the ingredients necessary for a series of thrilling adventures on any world!
— John Flint Roy — A Guide to Barsoom – The Mars of ERB
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ stories about Tarzan, John Carter and David Innes were great. His characters are true classics…everything I read in comics and books made me want a life of adventure. In that respect, (they were) a motivating factor — a strong one at that. And I can say (that such) characters helped me be honest and morally strong. They were good examples to emulate when you are growing up. The people who write science-fiction stories are dreamers. They create the ideas from which scientists begin their search. Just think what this country would be like if we did not have writers who dream of making things better…. Without the dreamers, our country could be in pretty bad shape. Science fiction is the material from which dreams begin their initial journey to reality. Without that first building block, we, as a nation, cannot advance and we would eventually stagnate. A stagnating civilization will eventually collapse in on itself. I would have never gone into space had it not been for someone in the past who one day wondered if space travel was possible — that person dreamed the dream and I was very fortunate to be able to fulfill his dream from long ago.
— Terry Wilcutt – NASA Astronaut and Shuttle Commander
Edgar Rice Burroughs (l875-l950) is known as the Grandfather of American Science Fiction. He predicted the invention of radar, sonar, television, teletype, the radio compass, the automatic pilot, homing devices on bombs and torpedoes, genetic cloning, living organ transplants, antigravity propulsion and many other concepts deemed totally fantastic in his time. His soaring imagination, coupled with the sure instinct of a master storyteller, assures him a position of honor among American writers of the twentieth century.
— George T. McWhorter — Curator, Burroughs Memorial Collection / Editor: BURROUGHS BULLETIN
For years he thought himself a failure . . . then he wrote a story. It sold and he wrote others and they too sold. Success no longer eluded him. His romantic fantasies were transformed into a world of vast adventure and excitement. He was imitated by many but none could equal him; none could match that special quality that set him apart. For each of those worlds he created was unique and fascinating and believable in its own right.”
— ERB Creator of Tarzan Website introduction, (www.tarzan.com)
The creations of Edgar Rice Burroughs continue to live on in the imagination of his readers in a way that few authors ever achieved. No matter where you go in this world, everyone knows of Tarzan. The imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs is with us today and endures.
— Robert B. Zeuschner, ERB: The Exhaustive Scholar’s and Collector’s Descriptive Bibliography
Edgar Rice Burroughs…could pace, he was accessable, he was a brilliant inventor of languages, and he told emotionally satisfying morality plays in an action/adventure framework. He had the capacity to imagine fully-fleshed worlds by the carload. …no one since then …has created a greater number of wildly popular imaginative series. Yes, he was followed by many better, more subtle, more erudite writers …most of whom built upon his foundation…but…he was the first, and he is still very readable and very popular, and what more need you ask of a pioneer?
— Mike Resnick — The Burroughs Style – A Writer’s Analysis
Edgar Rice Burroughs was to become the acknowledged master of the scientific romance. In stories of this nature, colourful adventure in the classical sense is seasoned with just enough science to lend wonder and enchantment to the background and locale. …The rousing enthusiasm that greeted his first novel, A Princess of Mars, was to usher in a golden era of escape science fiction. Burroughs completely divorced the reader from association with reality and carried him off to a never-never world of his own creating. …He was a natural storyteller. His style never jarred. It flowed along, quickly and smoothly, weaving the reader into the spell of the story. …Literary critics, judging ERB by absolute literary standards, have never been kind. They have pointed out that his plots are repetitious, his prose construction often hasty, with an overwhelming emphasis on action and violence and the fact that some of his novels seemed to be a pointless procession of incidents rather than a completely co-ordinated whole. Burroughs never denied the charges and with almost a note of apology frequently explained that it was his purpose to write for those who desired entertainment and escape and that he expected his works to be judged by that standard. …In all the literature of mankind, only Sherlock Holmes is nearly as well known as Tarzan. This popularity is justified. Tarzan of the Apes is a great and fabulous adventure epic. …it seems likely that at least Tarzan will be printed and read long after many authors “with pointed messages for our times” have been forgotten.
–Sam Moskowitz — 1958
The novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs have acted as dream catalysts, spanning the planet with an uncountable number of mind dramas. …We have shared the dreams he invoked. In a very real sense the spirit of that great Magician of Dreams pervades these pages. His magic took hold of (our) minds…it has reached across the decades to draw us together…. We are fellow wayfarers. Sometimes, of course, the magic fails; and so we have critics who look on in amazement at the phenomenon that is ERB. The dreams have gone unrecognized, perhaps hidden behind failing of language and character and plot — dingy gold, cast aside for brass. The loss, of course, is theirs. All man’s works are flawed, if one looks closely enough, and there is little to be gained — much to be lost — by judging a work on its failing rather than its successes. Magic is fragile and does not bear close scrutiny.
–Patrick H. Adkins — Dream Vaults of Opar — 1984