When scientists early in
the Twentieth Century looked at Venus and saw only clouds they concluded
that the planet must be dripping wet. Another theory was that Venus was
a younger version of Earth and was possibly in its own age of dinosaurs.
Ray Bradbury wrote a powerful story called "All Summer in a Day" and set
on the dripping wet Venus; you probably read the story in high school English
class. Science now knows that Venus is a *very* inhospitable place, but
that doesn't make Bradbury's story any less powerful. Nor does it make
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Venus adventures any less fun.
Burroughs began his Venusian
series in 1931, twenty years after his very first novel. Pirates of Venus
introduces Carson Napier (a somewhat more cautious hero than John Carter),
who builds himself a rocketship and blasts off for Mars. (How did he get
to Venus? You'll just have to read the book.) Beneath the cloud cover of
Venus Carson discovers a world of sky-high trees, warring kingdoms and
princesses in need of rescue. But, more often than not, it seems that Carson
is the one in need of rescuing!
The world of Amtor (as the
Venusians call their planet), like Barsoom, is very advanced in some ways
and very backwards in others. Scientists have harnessed atomic power for
their sea-going ships, but are completely ignorant of the concept of flying
machines ~ until Carson builds one. Whichever means of travel you use,
don't stray too far from land. Amtorians think their world is a flat disc,
and if you travel to the rim you might freeze to death in the frozen wastes
at the edge, and if you venture toward the center of the disc you could
die from the heat. With their belief that the equator is where the North
Pole is ~ and vice versa ~ you can get lost on Amtor pretty fast.
On your Amtorian travels,
be careful when you enter the forests of Vepaja ~ home to targos and tharbans
and bastos. Be on the lookout for klangan ~ the flying men of Amtor. If
the Thorists capture you they might lock you up in the Room of Seven Doors;
one door leads to freedom, the other six to certain death! Havatoo is a
lovely city to visit, but only if you're perfect; if you fail their tests,
the Havatooans will destroy you for the benefit of all humanity. If you
manage to get out of Havatoo, try to avoid the neighboring city of Kormor
~ it's inhabited entirely by reanimated corpses (they make for very docile
citizens) and the ruler of Kormor is always looking for new recruits!
With fish men, beast men,
plant men and even amoeba men causing mischief, a trip to Amtor is bound
to be loaded with adventure and thrills. And if you run across Carson Napier,
give him a hand out of his current predicament ~ after all, he did land
on the wrong planet....
The complete Venus series:
Wizard of Venus