Lost on Jupiter

by William Gilmour
Series: Barsoom fan fiction
Reviewed date: 2021 Apr 21
19 pages
cover art
cover art

A fun sequel to Skeleton Men of Jupiter.

About Lost on Jupiter
Lost on Jupiter is a John Carter story by William Gilmour, originally published in 1962 as a supplement to The Burroughs Bulletin #13. It was republished in 1974 in The Burroughs Bulletin #38. It's relatively easy to find today, with (expensive!) copies appearing on eBay from time to time, and a digital version of The Burroughs Bulletin #38 available at the Internet Archive.

Lost on Jupiter is a direct sequel to Skeleton Men of Jupiter, picking up the action where it left off.

An honest and enjoyable sequel, with some missed opportunities
I enjoyed this story because William Gilmour plays it straight: it's an honest attempt at a sequel in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs. There's no attempt to tell the story from a different perspective, or to add gritty realism, or to jazz it up with sex or gore or what-have-you. If you like ERB and want more, just like the original, Gilmour serves it up.

That being said, there were some missed opportunities. The story is a shade under 22,000 words but the plot is simple with no twists. A trusty sidekick, Go-gu, is introduced but almost immediately dropped. He barely figures into the plot. There should have been enough room to develop that friendship.

Also, no love story. It wouldn't have taken much to work it in: Ula was right there. Set her up with Jak. In fact (if I may be so bold) this all would have worked better if Ula had been Xog's daughter and Jak her betrothed, rather than Jak being the son of Xog and Ula just a beautiful girl with no suitor.

Jak, too, is ill-used. He could have been John Carter's friend and confidant, but the friendship was never developed. Jak is the author's main mouthpiece to inform John Carter and the reader about Haak, but he never rises above a mere authorial device.

Finally, if I may nitpick a bit more, there are lots of adjectives. Too many things are "amazing." If I notice the adjectives, they are overdone.

Don't get me wrong--I'm a fan, really. It's an engaging story and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's often easier to point out faults and things I disliked than to explain why a story is good. This is a good story and it's written well, in a style that does justice to John Carter.

It's worth a read.

John Carter
Kor Zan, village chief and father of Zan Dar
Jak, son of Xog
Xog, king of Haak
Rek, Haakian warrior
Ula, Haakian woman and daughter of Jud
Sar, usurper
Lon, Haakian warrior
Gof, Haakian warrior
Jud, Ula's father
Go-gu, a Duag
Vorion, a Morgor

Characters mentioned only: Zan Dar, Multis Par, Dejah Thoris, U Dan, Vaja, Tardos Mors, Rab (grandfather of Xog)

Eurobus, that is Jupiter, or Sasoom
Roharazen, a volcano in Haak
Haak, primary village in Haak
Valley of Spouting Waters
The Great Fountain

Places mentioned only: Helium, Ptarth, Kaol, Garobus (Mars, or Barsoom)

Savators, humans of Jupiter
Morgors, skeleton men of Jupiter
sorth, giant spider-like beast of Haak
Duags, ape-men of Haak
horyth, serpent monster of Haak

John Carter appears to the narrator and tells him the story.

A recap of events told in Skeleton Men of Jupiter.

Chapter I
John Carter approaches the Zanor village and tells his story to Kor Zan, the father of Zan Dar. U Dan, Dejah Thoris, and Zan Dar have not arrived in Zanor as expected.

Chapter II
The village consists of hundreds of solid stone huts which provide safety from mighty Jupiterian storms. Kor Zan brings John Carter to his home. A storm blows through. John Carter ventures out to move his ship to a safer location, but the storm blows him away, carrying him aloft into the air.

Chapter III
The storm deposits John Carter in a tree-top. He is stuck in a web. A twelve-legged spidery sorth is about to devour him when six warriors attack and kill it, then rescue John Carter from the web.

Chapter IV
John Carter's rescuers are Haakians and he is in the land of Haak, a country completely ringed by impassable mountain cliffs. In the center of Haak is Roharazen, a great volcano.

The Haakians are attacked by Duags, vicious ape-like creatures with swords. John Carter helps defeat them. Jak, son of Xog the king, invites John Carter to live with them in their village, also named Haak.

Chapter V
Jak leads the way back to the village of Haak. They pass through the Valley of Spouting Waters, a marsh filled with geysers. The biggest geyser, The Great Fountain, sends water miles into the sky and creates the clouds which bring rains to Haak.

The group spy a Haakian pursued by a Duag. Both are being hunted by a horyth, a great serpent. John Carter kills the horyth and spares the Duag's life. The Haakian is a woman, Ula, and she reveals that Sar has deposed Xog as king and is holding him prisoner.

Chapter VI
Ula recounts the events: Sar deposed Xog in order to restore the ancient custom of offering human sacrifices to the volcano Roharazen. Ula was arrested and taken to Sar's private chambers. She knocked him unconscious and escaped.

Chapter VII
They decide to rescue Xog first, then depose Sar. The Duag, Go-gu, swears allegiance to John Carter. They all approach the village of Haak and observe captives being led out to Roharazen to be sacrificed.

Chapter VIII
John Carter meets the procession at the rim of the volcano. He impersonates a fire demon and demands an end to the sacrifices. Sar lunges for him, trips, and falls into the volcano.

Chapter IX
The rest of the Haakian warriors switch their allegiance and help Jak, John Carter and the others rescue Xog from the dungeons. Sar's loyalists are killed, Xog is reinstated, and John Carter is hailed as Savior of Haak.

Chapter X
John Carter searches for a way out of Haak. He builds a large waterproof ball, lays it on a platform over the Great Fountain, and climbs inside. He hopes the geyser will propel him up and over the barrier cliffs of Haak.

Chapter XI
It works. John Carter lands in a lake outside Haak. He sets out on foot to find his way back to the village of Kor Zan. He collapses from hunger and thirst. A passing Morgor ship spots him. It is his friend Vorion. John Carter will soon be reunited with Dejah Thoris.

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