Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American writer in the adventure, science fiction, and fantasy genres. He is best known for creating the characters Tarzan and John Carter, but he also wrote many series and standalone novels.

Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago to a wealthy family and educated at various private schools, including Phillips Academy and the Michigan Military Academy. After finishing his education, he worked a variety of jobs, including as a cowboy and a gold miner.

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Writing Career

Burroughs started writing at the age of 35 after he failed to make a success of his various businesses. He began with science fiction stories, but it wasn’t until he wrote about a man raised by apes in the African jungle that he found success. “Tarzan of the Apes,” was published in 1912 and was an instant hit.

After the success of Tarzan, Burroughs wrote many books featuring the character, including “The Return of Tarzan,” “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,” and “Tarzan the Terrible.” He also wrote several other series, including the Pellucidar series, the Amtor series, and the Caspak trilogy.

Burroughs was known for his fast-paced writing style and his ability to create memorable characters and exotic worlds. His stories were often set in fantastic landscapes, and he had a talent for making his readers feel right there with his characters.

Exploring the Impact of Edgar Rice Burroughs on Fantasy Writing and Films

Burroughs’ Impact on Fantasy Writing

Burroughs has had a significant impact on the world of fantasy writing, inspiring countless writers. Some of his most notable contributions to the genre include:

The Barsoom Series

The Barsoom series, also known as the John Carter of Mars series, is a science fiction series that follows the adventures of a Civil War veteran who finds himself transported to Mars. The series is widely regarded as a classic of science fiction and has inspired countless writers and filmmakers.

The Tarzan Series

The Tarzan series follows the adventures of Tarzan, a man who was raised by apes in the jungle and who possesses incredible strength and agility. The Tarzan series was known for its exotic settings, thrilling action sequences, and memorable characters. It has had a profound impact on the world of fantasy writing, inspiring countless writers to explore themes of wilderness, adventure, and heroism. Its influence can be seen in works such as the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling and the Indiana Jones movies.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Other Works

Burroughs wrote numerous works in the fantasy genre, including the Pellucidar series, which takes place in a hollow earth, and the Venus series, which explores a jungle planet inhabited by dangerous creatures and exotic cultures.

Influence on Other Fantasy Writers

Burroughs’ imaginative world-building and swashbuckling adventure stories inspired numerous writers to explore similar themes in their works. Some of the most notable examples include:

Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, was heavily influenced by Burroughs’ works. Howard was a fan of the Tarzan and Barsoom stories and incorporated similar themes and tropes into his own work, such as the depiction of exotic locales and larger-than-life heroes.

George Lucas

George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise, has cited Burroughs’ works as a significant influence on his own. The Barsoom series, in particular, inspired the design of the planet Tatooine and its inhabitants, as well as the concept of a princess in distress.

J.R.R. Tolkien

While J.R.R. Tolkien’s works are often associated with high fantasy, his early works were heavily influenced by Burroughs’ adventure stories. Tolkien was a fan of the Barsoom series and incorporated similar themes, such as the depiction of strange creatures and cultures, into his own work. Although, upon being questioned about Burroughs influencing his giant spiders in the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien said, “I developed a dislike for his Tarzan even greater than my distaste for spiders. Spiders I had met long before Burroughs began to write, and I do not think he is in any way responsible for Shelob. At any rate I retain no memory of the Siths or the Apts.”

Edgar Rice Burroughs and His Influence on Fantasy Films


Edgar Rice Burroughs’ influence on fantasy films can be seen in the numerous adaptations of his works. Some of the most notable adaptations include:

  1. Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
  2. The Land That Time Forgot (1975)
  3. At the Earth’s Core (1976)
  4. The People That Time Forgot (1977)
  5. Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)
  6. Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)
  7. John Carter (2012)

Edgar Rice Burroughs: A true crossover from pulp to fame

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ impact on fantasy films is undeniable. His works have inspired generations of writers, filmmakers, and artists. The enduring popularity of his characters, such as Tarzan and John Carter, is a testament to his talent. Easily was one of the most influential writers of his time, his impact on fantasy at large cannot be overstated. His works have inspired countless adaptations and continue to captivate audiences. Burroughs’ legacy is secure, and his influence on the sci-fi and fantasy genres will continue to be felt for generations.

Burroughs was the greatest storyteller of our century. He was a master of pure adventure.

Ray Bradbury

Burroughs was and is a seminal figure in the development of the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Stephen King

Burroughs was a pioneer, his novels took readers to exotic, far-off worlds, filled with strange creatures and adventure.

George R.R. Martin

Burroughs had a unique imagination and the ability to create worlds that were unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.

Arthur C. Clarke

Edgar Rice Burroughs was the one author whose works I read as a boy that had the greatest influence on me.

Robert A. Heinlein
Dense Dark Jungle