A strange thing happened in the John Carter trailer

I had no idea that there were plans to make a movie from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series.

Like many other grade-school boys, I read the science fiction fantasy novels such as The Princess of Mars and the Gods of Mars with gusto over thirty years ago. I have not seen a copy of any of them in that time, and if you had asked me prior to this year, I would have been able to give but faint recollections of the stories in the Burroughs classics.

But an odd thing happened during yesterday’s Super Bowl.

I was multi-tasking, as usual, watching the game with one eye while reading with the other and herding the proverbial cats which are our children with a rudimentary form of mind control when the first moments of a television ad caught my eye. In a split-second I processed an other-worldly battle scene, the chief warrior of which was tall and green with four arms and tusks. With only that brief data, I said to my wife “I think I read that –” when I was interrupted by the voice-over describing “John Carter of Mars” and completing my thought for me.

Strange. Strange that Burroughs’ description of his characters was so good and so impressive (in the sense of making an indelible impression) that thirty years after reading them I recognized them in the depictions that someone else made from them.

Odd, indeed. And full of import for ultimately recognizing things we’ve never seen. And reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’ suggestion that humans who believe in Jesus Christ and the afterlife feel a sort of nostalgia for heaven, even though we’ve never been…yet.

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