Yeah, sure ... so I'm a woman? I'm almost automatically a minority with respect to old-fashioned SciFi. Dig the cover of the first volume of the Mars stories, Princess of Mars. The cast for the movie is pretty impressive, too. You are surprised that I like this? I'm not.
Try those power-pusher women who guiltily read bodice rippers with throbbing members seeking her moist femininity with ... but I digress. Those are truly misogynistic, in a way that old male-driven SciFi can never hope to achieve. ... ... Old white guys in the '30s writing about women being subservient to men? So what's news? Middle-aged white women in the 21st Century demanding million dollar contracts for stories about young white women being frustrated in their social inequalities while putting out for some hunk they don't really want to like? Who's undermining socio-eco-political equality more? Some dead dude or a NY Times best seller author? (e.g. #4,8,9,16 on the mass market paperback list, 2/25/10.)
Hypocracy? No. Sure, I read them once in a while. But I don't read anything with guilt.
SciFi, possibly even more so in its own golden age in the 1930s, provides more fodder for the imagination. Those 'bodice rippers' truly pale in comparison to Pulp Science Fiction as a genre.
Quite often you at least need to use your imagination to see the world in a way beyond 'ordinary' fiction. Well, afterall, there was no Wikipedia in 1930 (unless it was the one entitled "Encyclopedia Britannica") ... yet there are plenty of photographs of just about anywhere in the UK or the Wild West the most popular locations for bodice rippers recently. John Carter of Mars starts off in the American Civil War. We even have photographs of that. But Mars? You need imagination, even with the author's words, to really enter into the story. Ray guns, interstellar travel, green skinned aliens ... Star Trek was not, by 80 years, unique.
I suppose Boris Valejo might be an okay artist, but boy, does he paint to his audience, which would be any white Euro-American male who discovered SciFi around the age of 12 and who likes big tits. I can only hope that - unlike Lord of the Rings - the director doesn't use the most popular art style of the source material as the basis for the art direction of the film.
What do I want to see on the big screen? John Carter of Mars? Or The Elusive Bride (#8, above)? Mars, hands-down. If there's a great-looking leading man in the "romance" story, his primary function is still going to be "good looking man"; at least in John Carter of Mars he gets to be "good looking man who can kick ass" and will still likely have sex in the movie, with fewer violins & no soft-focus.
Within recent literary consumption here in GopherLand was
David Weber, Shadow of Saganami (modern techno-heroine sci-fi)
Robert E. Howard, Solomon Kane (gothic/demon fantasy & yes, the author of Conan the Barbarian)
Cormac McCarthy, The Road (I can go finish the book now, film review coming eventually) &
Henning Mankell, Die Hunde von Riga got set aside when Mr.Gopher practically ripped it out of my hands and sucked it down whole ... I think instead of buying him books in English, I might want to switch languages - doubly so since we own a copy in German, but the original is Swedish which he no doubt would also enjoy)
Stieg Larsson, another Swedish offering, The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, a follow-up story to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. The latter of which is a cliff-hanger & I'm going to have to wait in line at the library for a copy.
Robert Howard's Solomon Kane is also on the slate for release as a movie
Had I been a 10 year old boy when I read either Solomon Kane or John Carter of Mars, I would likely have been found the next morning playing sword & pistol kill-the-demons in the back yard. I am a 44 year old woman, and I would still rather read them than the mysogenistic lame-o excuses for un-erotic literature currently marketed as "romance". (a completely different rant)
Who would I rather close my eyes and imagine being? A beautiful never-over-25 woman who is oppressed and dismissed by society but can't manage to either keep her legs together or pull her head out of her ass and become her own woman .... ... or the sword-wielding powerful hero(ine) destroying evil and receiving adulation from all?
Seriously ... Cerebus the Aardvark: yes; Arwen the Elf, no.
So, it is with no guilty pleasure that I look forward to both Solomon Kane and John Carter of Mars on the silver screen. Or if someone manages to make anything from E. E. Smith (e.g., Galactic Patrol), or (almost) anything else from Boroughs. but lord, lord, lord, not another dorky Tarzan!. Afterall, I really liked The Mummy, too.