The Moon Maid: Complete and Restored
he fanciful works of Edgar Rice Burroughs do indeed blend multiple genres. They also draw in discussions of ethics, war, cannibalism, power, and more.
In The Moon Maid: Complete and Restored, one of the points of pride for those who brought together this edition was to have gathered up the corrupted or excised portions of the text and bring together what the title promises. Compared to many of the other Bison editions, the font is small because no one, original copy could be used. That just means the pages bear all the more adventure and leave plenty of space for the full-page illustrations.
As the Editor in Chief, now Director, Gary Dunham explains, this volume is to take the place of the abridged 1926 edition: “This edition contains the text of the original serialization of The Moon Maid, and thus it encompasses and reflects the scope and depth of the original vision of its creator. But there’s more.” And our Director is too dedicated to restoring and reprinting classic science fiction to lie about that.
For those who fear the story would be cluttered or overwhelmed, the editors have also added a list of the alterations of the original, serialized text so you can keep track of where memory fails and where the changes really are.
For mild spoilers and my take on the "Maid," read on.
Yes, they do reach a lush, tropical paradise, and yes, there are irresistible women. With illustrations, no less. Elegant, trendy line drawings for the most part that blend the old, muscled torsos and thighs with the lighter, manga-inspired styles of more recent comics.
However, the women in this book, particularly the sometimes adventurous, sometimes cold, and always captivating Princess Nah-ee-lah, get to talk on par with the male explorers, explaining the complex relationships between the societies within the Moon and winning their arguments civilly and without apology for any “lesser” status. In one cataclysmic scene, even her sympathy for her dying subjects does not throw her into a fainting spell. Thank goodness. And no, Leigh Anna, she doesn’t say “Oh, Julian,” and throw herself into his arms. The narrator demonstrates better physical fitness, but seems to maintain a certain respect for the woman even when they disagree. This is lucky for us and for Burroughs, of whom my opinion would immediately have dropped.
All in all, I’m nowhere near finishing this 338 page book (that’s just the story, not the appendices, intros, afterwards, or glossaries) with scads of things to do piling up on my several desks, but I’m enjoying the ride.