The Gods Of Xuma: A Review

The Gods Of Xuma
Barsoom Revisited
David J. Lake
Daw Books, 1978 No. #279 $1.50

In the year March 26, 2143 the starship Riverhorse came upon the planet 82 Eridani 3.  Aboard were fifty men and fifty women, who had been traveling frozen for many years searching for a planet that could support their life form.  They had fled the moon of the planet earth.  Long ago the people of earth had a World War almost destroying all, but a few survived on a colony on the moon.  Now war threatened again and earth was not safe to return to yet, so man searched for a new planet to colonize.

The Riverhorse crew captured a couple of specimens of 82 Eridani 3, one being a human of that world.  The creature appeared to be around seventeen and had red skin, black hair, had sex fingers, and was sexless.  They learned all children on Xuma, as was the planets name, were sexless.

Then around eighteen they turned into males, then at thirty-six he changed into a female, and then after eighteen more years turned into elders, which were also sexless.  There was another group called kurar, which was one who did not go through the sex changes correctly.  If one was to turn into a woman before a man she usually became a pleasure woman for the army.

It was through this captive named, Saimo, that the hero, Tom Carson, learned the language of Xuma. He was nice to Saimo, and the youth took quite a liking to him.  Carson learned that there was only one language spoken upon the entire planet, and that Xuma was made up of many city states.  

On July 3, 2143 Carson and Saimo left the Riverhorse to land on Xuma, near Saimo's home city of Yelsai.  On the way to the city the two witnessed an attack on some field workers by enemy warriors from Xarth.  Carson destroyed the raiders with his laser, and the simple field workers mistook him for a god.  Soon Carson came in contact with the Queen, and after he made an alliance with her other humans from the Riverhorse landed.

The humans destroyed the city of Xarth for their new allies, and the Queen's son became its new ruler.  The Riverhorse crew searched Xuma over for a sight to build their new colony, but they could find no better place suitable for their life form than Yelsai.  The agreement the invaders made with the Xumans, was that both races were to live together in peace and as equals.

However, after a short time some members of the Riverhorse crew began to treat the people of Yelsai as servants and underlings.  Soon a split occurs between the crew.  Tom Carson and his friends side with the people of Yelsai, while the  others act as their conquerors.  In the meantime the Riverhorse receives a message from the moon saying war has broken out, and they are now on their own and no others are to follow.

The Xumans destroy the Riverhorse with a space canon left by an alien race in ancient times.  The uprising Xumans killed all those that tried to enslave them, but they allowed Tom Carson and his friends to live with them as equals.  To make sure nothing like that could occur again the two groups destroyed all the modern weapons, and the book closes with Carson taking up the sword.

The only thing that links The Gods Of Xuma with Edgar Rice Burroughs is that Tom Carson was a big science fiction fan, and his favorite was John Carter Of Mars.  All through the book he is constantly comparing himself to John Carter, or Xuma to Barsoom.  There is no tharks, banths or any other Barsoom creatures.  The red men of Xuma are far different than Edgar Rice Burroughs' very human ones.  All in all it was a nice adventure, and it is worth reading.

David J. Lake 1929-2016
Don Maitz

James Michael Moody