Best Edgar Rice Burroughs Books – Sci-Fi + Epic Adventures

If you’re a fan of science fiction and epic adventure stories, then you’ve probably heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the mastermind behind some of the most popular and beloved book series in literary history. From the iconic Tarzan to the fascinating worlds of Barsoom and Pellucidar, Burroughs’ works have captivated readers for generations. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best Edgar Rice Burroughs books and explore the fascinating worlds he created.

Best Edgar Rice Burroughs Books - Sci-Fi + Epic Adventures

A Brief Introduction to Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs, born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago, Illinois, was a prolific writer who created numerous book series and characters that continue to capture our imaginations to this day. Despite having no formal education beyond high school, he went on to become one of the most successful authors of his time.

Burroughs’ life and career were filled with interesting twists and turns. After a failed stint in the military, he bounced around from job to job, working as a railroad policeman and a pencil sharpener salesman before finally finding his calling as a writer.

The Life and Career of Edgar Rice Burroughs

Under the Moons of Mars

Burroughs began his career as a fiction writer in 1911, when he published his first story, “Under the Moons of Mars,” in The All-Story magazine. This story, which introduced the world to his Barsoom series, was an instant hit, and Burroughs went on to write many more books throughout his life.

In addition to his science fiction stories, he also created several other notable characters, including Tarzan and the inhabitants of Pellucidar. Tarzan, in particular, became a cultural phenomenon and remains one of the most recognizable fictional characters in history.

Despite his immense popularity, Burroughs struggled with financial difficulties throughout his life and was forced to declare bankruptcy several times. However, he continued to write prolifically and left behind a legacy that has endured for more than a century.

The Impact of Burroughs’ Work on Popular Culture

It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Edgar Rice Burroughs has had on popular culture. From movies and television shows to comic books and video games, his stories have inspired countless adaptations and spin-offs over the years.

His most famous creation, Tarzan, has been portrayed on screen by numerous actors, including Johnny Weismuller and Christopher Lambert. The character has also made appearances in everything from comic books to video games, cementing his status as a pop culture icon.

In addition to Tarzan, Burroughs’ other works have also had a lasting impact on popular culture. The Barsoom series, for example, has inspired numerous science fiction writers and has been cited as an influence on the Star Wars franchise.

Overall, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ contributions to literature and popular culture cannot be overstated. His vivid imagination and captivating characters continue to captivate readers and audiences around the world, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest storytellers of all time.

The Tarzan Series

One of Burroughs’ most enduring creations is undoubtedly Tarzan, a character who has become synonymous with the idea of the “jungle hero.” The Tarzan series is comprised of 24 novels and numerous short stories, each of which take readers on a thrilling adventure through the wilds of Africa.

Tarzan of the Apes: The Origin Story

Tarzan of the Apes

The first book in the Tarzan series, Tarzan of the Apes, tells the story of John Clayton, a British nobleman who is orphaned as a child and raised by apes in the African jungle. As he grows older, Tarzan discovers his true identity and returns to civilization, but struggles to find his place in the world.

Tarzan’s story is a classic example of the “nature versus nurture” debate. Raised by apes, Tarzan develops incredible strength, agility, and survival skills that serve him well in the wild. However, when he returns to civilization, he struggles to fit in with the societal norms and expectations of his fellow humans. This conflict between Tarzan’s upbringing and his true identity is a recurring theme throughout the series.

Despite his struggles, Tarzan is a hero who always stands up for what is right. He fights against injustice and protects those who cannot protect themselves. His loyalty to his friends and family is unwavering, and he will stop at nothing to keep them safe.

The Evolution of Tarzan Throughout the Series

As the Tarzan series progresses, we see the character grow and evolve in many different ways. He becomes a husband and father, battles against evil warlords and poachers, and even travels to space in one particularly memorable adventure.

Tarzan’s experiences throughout the series allow him to gain a greater understanding of the world around him. He learns about different cultures and ways of life, and is forced to confront his own biases and prejudices. Through it all, he remains a hero who fights for justice and protects those in need.

One of the most interesting aspects of Tarzan’s evolution is his relationship with Jane, a woman he meets and falls in love with in the first book. Jane is a strong and independent character in her own right, and their relationship is one of mutual respect and admiration. Together, they face numerous challenges and obstacles, but their love for each other remains a constant throughout the series.

Notable Adaptations of Tarzan in Film and Television

Over the years, Tarzan has been adapted into countless movies, television shows, and other forms of media. Some of the most notable adaptations include the 1932 film Tarzan the Ape Man, which starred Johnny Weismuller as the titular character; the 1999 Disney animated film, which put a modern spin on the classic story; and the recent live-action adaptation, The Legend of Tarzan, starring Alexander Skarsgård.

Each of these adaptations brings something unique to the table. The 1932 film is a classic of the adventure genre, while the Disney animated film is a family-friendly take on the story. The Legend of Tarzan, on the other hand, offers a more modern and action-packed interpretation of the character.

Despite the many adaptations of Tarzan that have been made over the years, the character remains as popular as ever. His enduring appeal is a testament to the timeless nature of his story, and the universal themes of identity, belonging, and justice that it explores.

The Barsoom Series

If you’re a fan of science fiction and adventure, the Barsoom series is a must-read. Written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the series is set largely on the planet Mars and follows the adventures of John Carter, a Civil War veteran who finds himself transported to a fantastical world populated by all manner of strange creatures and advanced civilizations.

But what makes this series so special? Let’s take a closer look.

A Princess of Mars: The First Adventure

John Carter  A Princess of Mars (Illustrated)

The first book in the Barsoom series, A Princess of Mars, is a thrilling read that introduces readers to this strange and fascinating world and its inhabitants. From the tall, green Martians to the beautiful, red princess Dejah Thoris, the characters in this book are among Burroughs’ most memorable creations.

The story itself is a classic adventure tale, full of daring escapes and epic battles. But it’s also a story about love and sacrifice, as John Carter risks everything to save the princess he has fallen in love with.

The Continuing Saga of John Carter

As with the Tarzan series, the Barsoom books follow the adventures of a single character throughout his life. John Carter becomes embroiled in numerous conflicts, falls in love, and experiences triumphs and tragedies along the way.

But what sets the Barsoom series apart is the sheer scope of its world-building. As the series progresses, we see Carter exploring other planets and encountering even more bizarre creatures and civilizations. From the savage Tharks to the sinister Therns, the Barsoom series is full of fascinating and unique cultures.

The Influence of Barsoom on Science Fiction

The Barsoom series has had a profound influence on the science fiction genre as a whole. The idea of a dying planet inhabited by strange creatures and advanced societies has been used in countless stories and films over the years, and the character of John Carter has inspired many other heroic adventurers in his wake.

But perhaps the most significant impact of the Barsoom series is its influence on the concept of planetary romance. This subgenre of science fiction focuses on adventure and romance in exotic, otherworldly settings, and owes much of its existence to the Barsoom series.

So if you’re looking for a series that’s full of adventure, romance, and unforgettable characters, give the Barsoom series a try. You won’t be disappointed.

The Pellucidar Series

The Pellucidar series is less well-known than Burroughs’ other works, but it’s no less fascinating. This series takes place within the Earth itself and follows the adventures of David Innes and Abner Perry as they discover a hidden world populated by prehistoric creatures and lost civilizations.

At the Earth’s Core: A Journey to the Center of the Earth

At the Earth's Core [Illustrated] (Pellucidar Book 1)

The first book in the Pellucidar series, At the Earth’s Core, sees Innes and Perry using a drilling machine to journey to the center of the Earth. Once there, they discover a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.

The Pellucidar series is a thrilling mix of science fiction and adventure, full of danger and excitement at every turn.

The World of Pellucidar and its Inhabitants

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Pellucidar series is the world that Burroughs created. The creatures that inhabit this world are unlike anything found on the surface of the Earth, and the civilizations that have arisen there are just as unique.

As Innes and Perry explore this hidden world, they encounter everything from giant bugs to intelligent reptiles. It’s a thrilling and imaginative series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Legacy of the Pellucidar Series

While not as well-known as the Tarzan or Barsoom series, the Pellucidar books are still beloved by many fans of science fiction and adventure. The ideas and concepts that Burroughs introduced in these books have influenced many other writers and filmmakers over the years, proving that his imagination was truly ahead of its time.


Edgar Rice Burroughs was a visionary author whose works continue to inspire and entertain us more than a century after they were first published. Whether you’re exploring the African jungle with Tarzan, battling for survival on the surface of Mars with John Carter, or delving deep into the Earth with David Innes and Abner Perry, there’s something for every reader in the worlds that Burroughs created.

If you haven’t yet experienced the thrill of his stories, now is the perfect time to discover the best Edgar Rice Burroughs books for yourself.


Who is Edgar Rice Burroughs?

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American novelist best known for creating Tarzan.

In what period did Edgar Rice Burroughs write?

Burroughs was born in 1875 and died in 1950. Many of his best works emerged during the 1910s, however, he continued writing until his death, producing his famous John Carter novels in the 1940s.

In what genre did Edgar Rice Burroughs write?

Edgar Rice Burroughs was not tied to one genre, however, his most popular works sit within the fantasy, adventure, and science fiction realms. 

YouTube video
Eddison Monroe
Latest posts by Eddison Monroe (see all)