The City Outside the World

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The City Outside the World
The City Outside the World.jpg
Cover of first edition
Author Lin Carter
Cover artist Ken Barr
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Mysteries of Mars
Genre Science fantasy
Publisher Berkley Medallion
Publication date
1977
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pagesviii, 215
ISBN 0-425-03549-2
OCLC 962099295
LC Class PS3553.A7823 C58 1977
Preceded by The Valley Where Time Stood Still  
Followed by Down to a Sunless Sea  

The City Outside the World is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the third in his Edgar Rice Burroughs- and Leigh Brackett-inspired series The Mysteries of Mars. [1] [2] [3] It was first published in paperback by Berkley Medallion in October 1977 and in reissued in trade paperback by Wildside Press in December 1999. The first hardcover edition was published by Wildside Press in February 2011. [3]

Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. In a science-fiction story, the world is scientifically possible, while a science-fantasy world contains elements which violate the scientific laws of the real world. Nevertheless the world of science fantasy is logical and often is supplied with science-like explanations of these violations.

Lin Carter American fantasy writer, editor, critic

Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor, poet and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin. He is best known for his work in the 1970s as editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, which introduced readers to many overlooked classics of the fantasy genre.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the jungle hero Tarzan, the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter and the fictional landmass within Earth known as Pellucidar. Burroughs' California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Contents

Plot summary

Mars, a world with a culture ages older than that of Earth, is a dying world, and has been in decline for eons. By the twenty-second century it has become a colony of the younger civilization of Earth, its natives oppressed by the rapacious Colonial Authority.

Mars Fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

Earth Third planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth orbits around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.

Martian extraterrestrial life

A Martian is a native inhabitant of the planet Mars. Although the search for evidence of life on Mars continues, many science fiction writers have imagined what extraterrestrial life on Mars might be like. Some writers also use the word Martian to describe a human colonist on Mars.

In Yeolarn, a city divided into Terran and Martian sectors, the Terran Ryker is on the lam from the CA and natives alike. He finds himself attracted to the native dancer Valarda, by whom he is enticed into a local slum. They fall afoul of a mob, who treat Valarda as a hated pariah; Ryker helps her elude them, and with the native boy Kiki they join a caravan departing for the northern desert to further shake their pursuers.

Later Valarda and Kiki disappear, along with an antique amulet in Ryker's possession. He trails the thieves to the ruins of Khuu and the Martian "sphinx", an ancient monument in the form of the insect-like Pteraton; Valarda's enemies also follow. The amulet proves the key to the structure, unlocking a time portal into a prehistoric era. Ryker, Valarda and Kiki are hurled into this past together with their hunters and the captive Terran scientist Herzog.

Beyond the portal is Zhiam, the original city whose ruins would one day become Khuu. It is the last refuge of the legendary lost tenth tribe of Mars, Valarda and Kiki's people. Branded devil-worshipping heretics by the nine other nations, it was almost exterminated in the Zhaggua Jihad in ages past. Valarda, the lost tribe's high priestess and last of its rulers, had ventured back into the world to retrieve the key that could betray their hiding place, only to be found out. Now that outsiders have breached the tribe's peaceful retreat, the age-old conflict breaks out anew.

The situation is resolved when the lost tribe's "devil" deity, a benevolent energy being called Zhagguaziu, the Child-of-Stars, intervenes to defeat and expel the intruders. To safeguard its worshippers it seals off the gateway between the prehistoric refuge and modern Mars permanently. It gives its blessing to Ryker and Valarda's mutual passion and instructs them to establish a new dynasty. The implication is that all the modern Martians will be their descendants.

Chronology

This story was the fourth published in the series, after "The Martian El Dorado of Parker Whitley," but in terms of events it comes third, following The Valley Where Time Stood Still . In both instances, it is followed by Down to a Sunless Sea . [1]

<i>The Valley Where Time Stood Still</i> book by Lin Carter

The Valley Where Time Stood Still is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the second in his Edgar Rice Burroughs- and Leigh Brackett-inspired series The Mysteries of Mars. It was first published in hardcover by Doubleday in December 1974 and in paperback by Popular Library in February 1976. It was reissued by Wildside Press in April 2008.

<i>Down to a Sunless Sea</i> (Lin Carter novel) book by Lin Carter

Down to a Sunless Sea is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the fourth in his Edgar Rice Burroughs- and Leigh Brackett-inspired series The Mysteries of Mars. It was first published in paperback by DAW Books in June 1984 and reissued in hardcover and trade paperback by Wildside Press in February 2008.

Reception

Den Valdron, assessing the series in ERBzine, rates the book together with The Valley Where Time Stood Still as "stand[ing] between" The Man Who Loved Mars and Down to a Sunless Sea , which he considers the best and least interesting of the series, "but each has their [sic] particular strengths." Over all, he feels "[t]here’s something a little extra in his Martian novels that puts them at the upper registers of Carter’s work," and "commend[s] them to the reader." [1]

<i>The Man Who Loved Mars</i> book by Lin Carter

The Man Who Loved Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Lin Carter, the first in his Edgar Rice Burroughs- and Leigh Brackett-inspired series The Mysteries of Mars. It was first published in paperback by Fawcett Gold Medal in March 1973. The first British edition was published in hardcover by White Lion in August of the same year. It was reissued by Wildside Press in December 1999. The novel has also been translated into German.

J. G. Huckenpohler, also writing in ERBzine, rated the series "among my favorites" of Carter's stories, "show[ing] more originality" than Carter's Zanthodon and Callisto books. Nonetheless, he "found them to be uneven," growing "increasingly repetitious, the last two [including "City"] especially." It shares what he identifies as the sequence's standard plot: "[a] Terran outlaw, an older Dok-i-tar, a Martian sidekick, originally an enemy, and a Martian girl find a lost city known only to the oldest legends of the Martians, unlock its secrets, and either remain as its rulers or escape to begin a new life." [2]

Callisto series novel by Lin Carter

The Callisto series is a sequence of eight science fiction novels by Lin Carter, of the sword and planet subgenre, first published by Dell Books from 1972-1978. They were written in homage to the Barsoom and Amtor novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Valdron, Den. "Colonial Barsoom: Lin Carter." In ERBzine 1784.
  2. 1 2 Huckenpohler, J. G. [www.erbzine.com/mag17/Lin_Carter.doc "Lin Carter: a Look Behind the Martian Stories."] in ERBzine.
  3. 1 2 The City Outside the World title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

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