In the John Carter universe, the energy source is all about light waves. Light ships float on light waves, and different light waves unlocks energies unknown to men.
My question is: Was Mr. Burroughs inspired by anything that we know about at the time? Theories? Pseudoscience? The first discovery of solar panels 1883?
Most sci-fi works play on science, theories and sometimes pseudoscience, Star Trek's warp drives to take one example. In the classic work Journey to the Center of the Earth it becomes apparent in the book that this was a very shallow theory and they are surprised that they are not cooking far down in the Earth.