Untold Tales of Venus
Edgar Rice Burroughs's goal in writing about Venus was to tell stories
in such a way that readers would be eager to buy the magazines and books.
His purpose was not necessarily to close every loop while doing that.
So, there are things in the Venus novels which were introduced and then
aban-doned, much as we live our own lives in situations where some circumstance
seems important for awhile, but then we move on to something else entirely
and the other thing no longer occupies our thoughts.
One such "untold Venus story" is discussed elsewhere in this series
of studies on Amtor: "Duare, Frosty Fille to Femme Fatale." What was her
story during the time she and Carson were separated in their escapes from
Skor's gloomy castle? We never find out.
Here are some other untold tales:
KAMLOT—What adventures were experi-enced by this great friend of Carson?
In Pirates of Venus, Kamlot became Carson's first and best friend. They
went tarel hunting together, an expedition which ended in disaster when
Carson thought Kamlot had been killed. He had so much regard for his friend
that he carried his body through the trees until he was able to find a
suitable spot for a proper burial.
Then, after Kamlot regained consciousness, there was a second disaster:
They were kidnapped by klangan and flown to a Thorist ship.
Working together, they led a mutiny and took over the ship. Eventually,
they rescued the Janjong Duare and it was only then that Kamlot discovered
that Carson was intent on courting Duare and becoming her partner, something
so foreign to the traditions of Vepaja that we earthmen find it difficult
Kamlot was honor-bound to kill Carson for such intentions and he came
close to doing it. No sooner had Carson declared that he intended to marry
Duare then Kamlot "...leaped to his feet and whipped out his swod. It was
the first time that I had ever seen him show marked excitement. I thought
he was going to kill me on the spot."
Kamlot ordered Carson to defend himself and Carson asked him if he'd
gone crazy. Kamlot dropped his sword then and said, "I do not wish to kill
you.... You are my friend, you have saved my life—no, I would rather die
myself than kill you, but the thing you have just said demands it."
So, a strong bond of friendship between these two had saved Carson's
But, after Carson was swept overboard by the storm, what did Kamlot
have to do to return to Vepaja?
Did he become the captain of the Sofal and lead many successful raids
on behalf of Vepaja, or did he just happen to wend his way home more quietly
and once again become a simple tarel hunter?
We know he did get back to Vepaja because, in Carson of Venus, Chapter
14, the rescued Mintep tells Carson: "When Kamlot returned to Kooaad, he
told me of all that you had done to serve my daughter, Duare."
THE PASSAGE TO KORMOR—Beneath the River of Death was a secret passage
which zombies from the dead city of Kormor used to sneak into the Utopian
city of Havatoo across the river, and there kidnap new victims for Skor
to turn into the walking dead.
In Lost on Venus, after Carson followed the passage to rescue
Nalte, and discovered that Duare was there too, they returned to Havatoo
via the same passage.
What did the leaders of Havatoo do once they learned of the passage's
existence? Did they board it up? At the very least, they likely did that.
Did they do anything else, such as send a raiding party through it to put
an end to the evil in Kormor once and for all? Did they conduct a successful
search for other such passages and board them up, too?
What of the future of Kormor and the nation of Morov? With Skor dead
and most of the residents zombies, who would take over? There were some
humans in Kormor that were untainted by Skor, but they were elderly. Whatever
happened to that city?
JIMMY WELSH—This young man in Pirates of Venus was Carson's friend
and co-worker, who helped him build his rocket ship. He was close enough
to call him "Car." Carson said, "It was going to be like parting with a
brother....but I could not risk a single life unnecessarily."
Jimmy wanted to travel into space with Carson, but it wasn't to be.
Carson did tell Jimmy he could have his airplane, a Sikorsky amphibian.
So whatever happened to Jimmy and his airplane? What adventures did
he have in that airplane, this rugged soul who towered head and shoulders
above the other laborers, mechanics and assistants who built Carson's rocket?
The story of Jimmy Welch remains untold.
But maybe he went on to an adventurous career that did not involve flight.
The San Francisco News reported the following story on May 26, 1952, just
over two decades after Carson blasted off for another world: "Flying Saucer
is Captured by Officer"
Daly City, Calif.—At last one "flying saucer" mystery has been solved—thanks
to the fast action of Daly City Police Officer James Welsh.
Welsh was in his patrol car on el Camino Real early yesterday when a
passerby ran up, pointing and exclaimed: "Look, there's a flying saucer
Sure enough, a bright globe was moving slowly across the sky.
Without waiting for help, Welsh took off in pursuit and was rewarded
to see the object alight in Greenlawn Cemetery in Colma. With drawn pistol,
The "flying saucer" turned out to be a 10-inch rubber balloon, with
a flashlight battery and bulb attached.
"Some joker's idea of humor," Welsh reported.
Sadly, the only story on record about the man who may have been ERB's
Jimmy Welsh is one in which he was the victim of a practical joke. But
it doesn't mean that he didn't have a distinguished career, and probably
brought many bad men to justice, even as Carson was doing on another planet.
It's for sure that Jimmy would never have forgotten Carson and, if that
real-life police officer in the San Francisco newspaper was really ERB's
Jimmy, then perhaps, when he saw that strange flying object, he pursued
it so swiftly because he thought maybe, just maybe, Carson had found a
way to return to earth.
But Jimmy would have had no way of knowing that Carson would never come
back, unless he could bring his beloved princess with him.
Unless, of course, Jimmy had read the Venus series by Edgar Rice
Burroughs and was aware of what was happening all along!
THE KLANGAN—The klangan, the flying creatures that are both bird-like
and human-like, are a symbol of the planet Amtor, due to the penchant for
artists, almost universally, to feature them on the covers of the first
book in the series, Pirates of Venus.
They may have gained the status of a well-known symbol of Venus, but
we actually know very little about the klangan (plural for the singular
angan, which means "bird man.").
The first appearance of the klangan comes at the end of Pirates,
Chapter 7, when Carson cried, "Look, Kamlot! What are those" The birdmen
are revealed for what they are in the next chapter, as five of them fly
about the tarel-hunting twosome and drop wire lassoes on them.
The appearance of the creatures is, at first, frightening, but that
image quickly softens. Even though Kamlot and Carson were taken captive
and being flown to the Thorist master of the klangan, their captors are
next described in a less-threatening manner: "The klangan talked a great
deal among themselves, shouting to one another and laughing and singing,
seemingly well satisfied with themselves and their exploit. Their voices
were soft and mellow, and their songs were vaguely reminiscent of Negro
spirituals, a similarity which may have been enhanced by the color of their
skins, which were very dark."
Carson goes on to describe the physical makeup of the klangan in detail,
in-cluding their growth of feathers in place of hair, their multiple colors,
and their hollow bones, similar to those of earth's birds. In Chapter 14,
Carson adds that klangan are great talkers, in the gossiping sense.
In chapter 11, we learn that klangan don't have minds of their own,
so to speak.
As they plot mutiny aboard the Sofal, Carson wonders whose side the
klangan will be on, prompting this response from Ki-ron: "They have no
initiative. Unless they are motivated by such primitive instincts as hunger,
love, or hate, they do nothing without orders from a superior."
Zog adds: "And they don't care who their master is. They serve loyally
enough until their master dies, or sells them, or gives them away, or is
overthrown; then they transfer the same loyalty to a new master."
After Carson and Duare both end up on shore, they find themselves in
control of one angan, and the book ends with Carson ordering the birdman
fly Duare back to the ship, even though he has to ar-gue a bit to get him
to do it.
In the start of Lost on Venus, we find out the angan never made it to
the ship, fearful that he would be punished for hav-ing earlier helped
kidnap Duare. That's why Carson ends up in the company of Duare for good,
starting in the second book of the series.
That's about it for the klangan in the Venus series. They are great
fodder for an untold tale of Venus: Where do most klangan live? What is
their normal lifestyle when not serving as someone's slave? Are there any
angan among them who have a bit different mindset, who have leadership
skills and the abilities to help their fellow klangan?
Too bad Carson never got to explore the world of these strange creatures
a bit more.
So those are some of the untold sto-ries of Venus that could be fleshed
out by a good pastiche writer. And there are oth-ers besides those!