Ask the Author: The Book that Inspired You - Part II

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  • Wednesday, March 27, 2013
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  • Greig Beck
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  • Part II of Ask the Author, where we pose a question to some of our host authors. 

    Our topic is: What is one book that helped inspire you to write thrillers? What was it about that book that made it an inspiration?

    Greig Beck and Warren Fahy respond. 


    Exactly 100 years ago, just last year, Edgar Rice Burroughs achieved his first fiction sale. It wasn’t to be his more famous Tarzan story, but a small work originally titled: Under The Moons of Mars, and released under the pen name, Norman Bean. His Barsoom series (his name for Mars) launched one of the most magnificent and prolific imaginations into the world. 

    In 1917 the story was rereleased as The Princess of Mars, and I read and collected the entire series when I was about 14… then read them again at 18, and again at 25. Part sci-fi, part horror, part romance with huge helpings of action and adventure – it is a magical book. 

    In the tale, John Carter, a Civil War veteran is mysteriously transported to the surface of Mars. But there he doesn’t find a planet that is dry, lifeless and filled with nothing but red-dust. Instead, it is a place full of monstrous green giants, four armed beasts of all kinds, beautiful red maidens, and a world and princess in need of saving. Added to this, on his new world he finds himself gifted with near super powers due to the difference in gravity (Carter’s leaps were the basis of the
    Superman character).

    John Carter came from a time when heroes were heroic, and fantastic adventures needed a fantastic character within them. The Barsoom series inspired a number of well-known 20th century sci-fi authors such as Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein. 

    For those who like who new worlds, fantastic creatures, and adventures of the highest order, I urge you to read this. It was the inspiration for my Alex Hunter, Arcadian series, and one I still dearly love. 

    PS. Momentum Publishing has a special deal on right now – Princess of Mars for a couple of bucks – My view; get it quick! 


    When I was 13 years old I read two books that were certainly keystones in my literary imagination. I was already a turbo-nerd, having been not only a member of a club called the Young Inventors, but also the president. 

    There was a book sale at the middle school I was attending where you could buy used books for a quarter. I picked The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton and The Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boule. The DNA of these books is probably present in everything I’ve written since, but none so much as Fragment and Pandemonium. 

    Both writers deeply impressed me with their with fantastic and imaginative stories and settings made utterly convincing by their careful, scientific and rational tone. There is no question that they formed almost a proscenium framing the stage on which my own imagination would live from that point forward. 

    Other influences would follow, of course, but these two, bought and devoured at the same time, are in my genes now and always will be.


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