This seventh of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels was probably my least favorite so far. What does it mean to be disappointed in a book in a series of books that, we can all surely acknowledge, aren’t actually that good, at their best?
Mastermind reads like ERB fan fiction. By the way, did you know that some fans of the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs will call him ‘ERB?’
It’s ironic that it reads that way, because the main character, Ulysses, is a fan of the earlier stories (you see, John Carter would sometimes return to Earth and tell his tales of Martian adventures to ERB, who then published them. Well, Ulysses is a fan and when things go badly for him WWI, he… wills himself to travel to Mars (known to the inhabitants as Barsoom). There, he learns how to transplant brains into new bodies, marries a princess and all the usual derring do, but he seems to lake the verve of John Carter and the heroes of the first six books. But I will keep on reading them, gosh darn it!