When the Princess Disappeared

by David Bruce Bozarth, Andy Nunez, Don Bearden, and Terry Klasek
Series: Barsoom fan fiction
Reviewed date: 2007 May 15
175 pages
cover art

Edgar Rice Burroughs only wrote eleven Barsoom novels, but his fans have rectified this error. When the Princess Disappeared is a fan fiction novel by some excellent writers. Nobody can perfectly reproduce Burroughs's style, but Bozarth and company have done a fair job.

Have you ever thought "Edgar Rice Burroughs is OK, but what would be really awesome is if we punched up his stories by adding some gritty realism, a bit of swearing, and some allegories to racism and slavery in America. Oh, and some strong female characters, an emphasis on women's issues, and let's have the whole story revolve around a pregnancy."

Well, somebody did, and that somebody was David Bozarth. When the Princess Disappeared follows the adventures of Dejah Thoris when she absconds from palace life to have some time alone. She loves her husband, but finds her marriage dull and confining, and her status as a princess is even more confining. So when she has a chance encounter with Junie Watts, a starving pregnant black woman from Earth, Dejah Thoris decides on a whim to help the poor girl.

Dejah Thoris takes Junie off to a remote city and nurses her to health. They enlist the help of a local doctor, Milieos, who does what he can. But mostly they have to rely on Junie's own knowledge of pregnancy and childbirth; because Barsoomians do not give live birth, they have no idea what to expect.

It's not all childbirth and PMS, though. Dejah Thoris manages to help save a city from destruction and wipe out a whole army of savage Warhoons. It's well written, but personally I like my Barsoom books to be idealized, romanticized stories of larger-than-life heroism and epic battles. A Barsoom book about pregnancy, racism, and women's issues wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it is an interesting and different take on ERB's Mars.

When the Princess Disappeared is freely and legally available online at Tangor's Pastiche and Fan Fiction.

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