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Volume 1737
The ERB / Lin Carter Connection

Part 7 of a series of 12
by Den Valdron

Lin Carter Callisto Articles by Den Valdron

Carter's Callisto
Shape of Thanator
Alien Races of Callisto
Civilization of Callisto
Barsoom-Thanator Connection
Callisto Pellucidar
Callisto Future
Literary Zanthodon
Literal Zanthodon
Linguistic Zanthodon, 
Pellucidar, Mangani, Pal-ul-don
. .
Colonial Barsoom
Colonial Appendix
Things never stand still.   The Barsoom of the time of Llana of Gathol was a very different place, in many ways, from the world that John Carter found.   New races are found, new technologies developed, the existing order of powers is disrupted, with new powers and new arrangements taking their places.   The world changes.

So too with Lin Carterís Callisto.  In the course of eight books, the balance of power on Callisto changes dramatically.  Zandahar, the Chaac Yuul and the Mind Wizards are taken off the map.  The Yathoon are set for changes under Kojaís leadership.  A new alliance of city states is formed, a new hemisphere is opened up, more economic and political changes are in the offing.

Iíll confess, this sort of thing interests me.   So in the hopes that it may interest you who have read Carter's books, or perhaps merely found these essays interesting, I want to sketch out some of the potential major developments affecting Thanatorian society in the next generation or two.

Thanator World Wars

This was already in the offing as of renegade of Callisto.   The situation was directly attributable to Jandar.  Prior to Jon Dark, the political situation of Thanator was stable.   There were the four Perush cities, forming a loose confederation or empire based on shipping over the waters of the Corund Laj.  There were three inland cities, Tharkol, Ganatol and Shondakar.  Ganatol and Shondakar had trade contact with Perush by virtue of their rivers.  Tharkol was fairly isolated, but ethnically part-Perush.   Neither Tharkol, Ganatol or Perush had more than superficial contact and no real trade with each other, their trade was all directly with the Perush network.  In short, it was a world arranged economically around the Perushtar.

Politically, however, the Perushtar were subordinate.   Zandahar, through air power, had an overwhelming military and technological superiority.   Zandahar lacked the economic resources to fully dominate the world, and instead settled for military domination, suppressing and inhibiting Perushtar ambitions.  The related Chaac Yuul also provided both a form of stability and weakened the militaries of the city states.

Into this economic and political stability comes Jandar, who blows Zandahar off the face of the map.  The Empire of Perushtar now no longer has any real constraints.   Of course, since Perushtar is still the worldís dominant economic power, thatís no big deal.  It just means that they donít have to pay tribute and they keep more wealth.

However, there is a power vaccuum, and Tharkol attempts to enter it, reproducing the Sky Pirates technology.   The first target of Tharkol is Shondakar, the most isolated of the cities after Tharkol itself and the furthest from Perushtar influence.  But its worth noting that this provoked an immediate military response by the Perush city of Soraba which was not threatened.

The result of Mad Empress of Callisto, however, was a new political alliance of three cities - Tharkol, Shondakar and Soraba.   Worse, it appears that by the time of Renegade of Callisto, this political alliance has major economic consequences.   The three cities are forming a trading bloc.  The sharing of airship technology threatens to overcome the geographical obstacles separating the three and redraws the map of the world.   Airship technology means that the traditional trading routes and trading monopolies are obsolete.  It also means that the Perushtar are vulnerable once again, although it will be a while before the three cities aerial fleet is as large or as dangerous as Zandaharís was.

The result is not just a hypothetical political threat, but a military and economic threat to the Perushtar Empire.   The response?   Consolidation.   The Perushtar begin to put heavy pressure on Ganatol, the last unaligned city.   If Ganatol can be forced into line, the expansion of the Three City Alliance is blocked.  Perushtar pressure can bring Soraba back into the fold, and the remaining cities of Tharkol and Shondakar can trade with each other without the advantage of a key economy.

This is why, in Renegade of Callisto, Ganatol is sending an urgent diplomatic mission featuring one of the royal family to Shondakar.   Up to now, Ganatol hasnít had any real contact with Shondakar, but theyíre under pressure and looking for an ally.   What it comes down to is that Ganatol enters the three city alliance.

Which means that all of the cities of Thanator are now grouped into two giant rival blocs, one of which is growing economically and politically at the expense of the other.

Thereís a recipe for a war to break out, if Iíve ever heard one.  It might be a recipe for several wars.  The twentieth century saw two world wars.   The eighteenth century saw five, culminating with the Napoleanic wars.   A running conflict between Perush cities and Alliance cities may flare up two or three times.

The Yathoon Become Involved With Humanity

With the ascension of Koja to the throne of the Yathoon as Arkon, at the end of Renegade of Callisto, big changes are in store.   Koja has spent several years traveling among humans, being exposed to new technology, new ideas, new ways of living, new forms of organization.  These experiences have given him an insight into the handicaps and problems of Yathoon society, as well as ideas and options for new ways of doing things.   Koja intends to be a transformative force modernizing Yathoon society.

In human societies, reformers and revolutionaries often meet up with resistance from conservative elements.   The Yathoon are extremely traditional.   On the other hand, they are rather more logical and pragmatic.  So, while its possible that Kojaís reign will be a short one, it is more likely that heís going to succeed.

One of the elements behind his success, proposed by Jandar, may be a peace treaty and an alliance with the Three (Four?) Cities Confederation.   This may have major impacts on Yathoon society and in particular on the wealth, food and technology available to the Yathoon.  This may in turn perpetuate social change and population growth.

Of course, peace and trade with human societies will result in closer ties.   So, assuming that the Alliance gets into a war with the Perushtar Empire, the most likely outcome is that Koja will take the Yathoon into the war on the side of the alliance.

War is actually the single best thing that the Yathoon can accomplish.  They are superb fighters, their heightened senses, extended reach, remarkable facility with bow and arrow and spear and their nomadic lifestyle makes them exemplary mercenaries.  A lifetime of the hordes fighting each other prepares them for the hordes to replace the Chaac Yuul by fighting for human cities.   It is likely that the Yathoon hordes will in the future enter into alliances or commercial arrangements with various human cities.

The Age of Airships

Zandaharís monopoly on airships ended with the end of their city, and Shondakarís inheritance of two ships in Sky Pirates of Callisto.  Subsequently, in Mad Empress of Callisto, we find that Tharkol has rediscovered much of the technology and has discovered a new source of lifting gas in the black mountains.  The White mountains undoubtedly contain other pockets of lifting gas.  Tharkol is now building balloons and airships.  By Renegade of Callisto, Shondakar has its own shipyards and is building its own airships.  Meanwhile Sorabaís merchants are commissioning new ships and new designs.   Finally, to better propel the airships, Jandar has forced the development of an internal combustion engine, with potentially revolutionary applications, not just for airships, but for technology as a whole.

This means that the Three Cities Alliance has a crucial advantage, technologically, economically and militarily through domination of the air.  The Perushtar will be desperate for their own airships.  Jandar writes that many other airships undoubtedly survived the destruction of Zandahar but with the destruction of the city, these ships have no place to go and nowhere to be refueld or resupplied with lifting gas, and ultimately, all would become derelict.  This was, at best, dramatically optimistic.  It is likely that many of these ships will return to Zandaharís territory.  However, the chances are good that some will find their way to other city states, particularly those of the Empire of Perushtar, the richest of the city states.   This may not, however, translate into Perushtar obtaining or reverse engineering the airshipís technology.

Nevertheless, the result will be an airship race, as each of the City-states, or blocs, rushes to build or obtain as many airships as it can in order to preserve its economic and military position.   The race for air will also spur the development of balloon caravans, and other alternatives to aerial power, such as Zarkoon janissaries or Ghastosar domestication.  The influx of new airships will change trade routes and trading patterns.   It will also open up previously inaccessible areas, resulting in new settlements and possibly new cities.

Because a central issue for airships is lifting capacity, the trade emphasis will be on processed goods, luxury goods, and other fungibles.  Material which may require storage or preservation, like foodstuffs (the exception being Xanga preserved meat) and bulk raw materials like ore will not be valuable for trade.  The emphasis will be on local manufacturing or refining at the point of extraction.

The Perushtar will continue to have an economic advantage since they can move bulk goods, raw materials and much greater tonnages by water.  They will likely use this to perpetuate their economic advantages.   The inland cities will partially compensate for this with Ďballoon trainsí, using simple balloons to negate the weight of goods and hauling them relatively quickly by caravan.

Rebuilding of Zandahar

The population of Shondakar was 250,000 of which 50,000 resided in the city proper, and the remainder in satellite communities, farms, outposts, etc. If we assume that Zandahar was similarly organized, then the destruction of the city itself would have taken out only about a fifth to a third of the Zandahar population, as well as its urban commercial and command centre.  That is pretty damned harsh, but not necessarily fatal.

Was Zandahar similarly organized?

Well, it seems to have been a pretty big place.  But itís aerial fleet could not possibly have imported enough food to feed the population, and that food supply would have been too vulnerable.  So we have to assume that Zandahar was fed by farms and farming communities throughout the region.   Probably weíd be looking at terraced agriculture on lower slopes.

It also boasted a large community of merchants and artisans, which also suggests that in addition to building and maintaining the airships, there was a lively manufacturing sector.   How does this affect things?  Raw materials.  A manufacturing sector is oriented towards taking bulk raw materials and refining and rendering it into finished goods.   This contradicts the dynamics of aerial piracy.  Normally, because it weighs less, youíd be importing finished goods and not raw materials.  So, a manufacturing/artisan sector suggests that Zandahar had raw materials gathering operations and outposts.  Probably we would see logging operations from the forest slopes as well as mining, quarries, herd animals, tanneries, fuel and other resource extraction techniques.   Their mountaintop city was sitting on top of the volatile lifting gas, so raw copper, iron, gold, silver and other ores would have to be mined elsewhere, and probably refined on site.  Similarly, with logging operations, weíd probably see a lot of on site stripping and cutting, to make things easier for transport.   Transport in and out of mountain valleys and up the sides of mountains would probably be Ďair tugsí, short range craft which are guided by or pulled along by lines.  Bottom line is that you would see a large portion of the Zandahar population, and a large part of its industrial base located outside the city proper.

So, the basic bedrock of Zandaharís population would survive and re-establish its city... Possibly on the same site, or perhaps on an adjacent site. The larger portion of the fleet which was outside the city would survive and return. It is likely that the white mountains contain other reserves of lifting gas.

However, Zandahar would suffer a major and permanent loss of economic status. Part of this would be the loss of wealth, and particularly, of knowledge and skilled personnel, as well as the larger part of its fleet. The larger blow would be the loss of the monopoly on the skills and technology needed to build aerial ships. This technology is now possessed by Tharkol as well, and by Shondakar. It may have spread to Soraba or other Perush states.    Tharkol has pioneered the ballon, a cheaper and easier lifting device, while Shondakar has developed the internal combustion engine.   So not only has Zandaharís technological edge been lost, but it has been exceeded.

However, Zandaharís biggest advantage would probably have been its monopoly on the White Mountains lifting gas.   That monopoly on lifting gas is over.  They still have a competitive advantage, however.   Tharkol and Shondakar have access to the Black Mountains supply, but must proceed by lengthy caravans. Ganatol and the Perush cities have no direct access. Zandaharís economy was at least partially based on tribute and piracy, this is much less viable in a situation where at least two and possibly other city states possess their own airships.

The bottom line is that Zandahar will rebuild, but it has lost considerable assets, including a huge chunk of its most skilled population, its primary wells, potentially a lot of its technical secrets, a lot of its industrial base, and the economic foundations of tribute.   This suggests that the rebuilding will be slow and the Zandahar will be staying out of sight.  The world that they emerge into is going to be a lot less easy than the world that they were blown out of.

Will Zandahar participate in the coming World War?  Itís possible that it will stay out.  But the Zandahar are badly in need of capital to reconstruct their city, and the Perushtar are the wealthiest players.  They may become a mercenary aerial power.  Or they may even be forced to sell their technology to the Perushtar or other cities.  So they may complicate things.  Even after the destruction of their city and a large part of their fleet, they may still have the largest fleet of airships left.  On the other hand, Jandars crossbows and internal combustion engines, and Tharkolís balloons means that theyíve lost their technological edge.

Remnants of the Mind Wizards

According to Jandar in Lankar of Callisto, about fifty Mind Wizards came from their nameless world to Thanator.   Of these, one died leading the Chaac Yuul, another died in Tharkol, two died in accidents in Zandahar and one renegade was killed when Zandahar fell.  Seventeen were killed in Kuur.

Which leaves almost thirty unaccounted for.   Itís likely that all of them died prior to Jandar.  But itís possible that a few survived here and there.  Given their history of infiltrating City States and warrior bands, like Zandahar, the Chaac Yuul and Tharkol, itís quite possible that some of them may yet be hidden in or manipulating Perushtar or one or more of the other Perush cities.  This certainly makes a Thanator World War more likely.

Itís possible that they may be hiding out, or trying to sell their services.  Or simply keeping a low profile.

The Flowering of Tharkol

With its new balloons and airships, as well as the mastery of those technologies for other purposes is probably about to undergo a renaissance. Historically, it has been an inland Perush backwater, isolated on the plains, probably near a lake or water source. Itís new command of the Air will allow balloon caravans and aerial freighters, allowing it to trade. It is likely to become, instead of a backwater, the cutting edge of Perush culture and the leading Perush city, particularly in alliance with Soraba. Tharkol is also a gateway to the Far Side, which may or may not become important.  Throw in the alliance with Shondakar, and Tharkol is sitting pretty.

The Age of Shondakar

In order to keep up with Tharkol, confront Perushtar and deal with a recovering Zandahar is also likely to leap ahead economically and culturally.   It has already obtained airships from Zandahar and airship technology from Tharkol.

Itís big advantage will be John Dark and the bits and pieces of knowledge of Earthly technology and techniques which he can supply, which includes everything from commercial insurance to internal combustion engines.

Shondakar also sits at the centre of an expanding political and economic alliance which includes the cities of Soraba, Tharkol, Ganatol and the Yathoon nation.

Jandarís Technology

In Sky Pirates of Callisto, Jon Dark introduced the crossbow as an artillery piece.  In Renegade of Callisto, with the power and wealth of a Prince, and bits and pieces of Earth knowledge, he managed to get Artisans to cobble together a working internal combustion engine.

So what else might he do?   Found universities or technical schools?  Gather all available knowledge together into the form of an Encyclopedia?   Invent gunpowder and crude firearms?  Hospitals?  Chartered accounting?  Modern medicine?   New irrigation techniques?  Indoor plumbing?  Modern banking and business structures?

Letís not get ahead of ourselves.   Jandar isnít an engineer or scientist, heís a soldier of fortune.  Just because he knows what an internal combustion engine is, and might even be able to fix one, doesnít mean he could build one from scratch.  Same with gunpowder, water pumps, radio, electric lights or motors.  But he is half-bright.  He knows what these things are, and knocking around the world, he may even have picked up enough science and engineering, enough knowledge of how things work to be able to point people in the right direction.   He does after all know they work and has a basic idea of how....  This gives Thanatorís scholars and artisans a huge head start, given that Earthlings had to bumble their way slowly through each step.

Apart from the half-bright knowledge wrapped in his head, Jandarís big advantage is that heís a Prince.  Thus, he can throw immense amounts of money, resources and artisans at a problem and give them enough information that eventually, they can get it.  The Thanatorian internal combustion engine is proof of the success of this approach.

On the other hand, that internal combustion engine represents the Thanatorian equivalent of the Manhattan Project.   Itís probably no great shakes...  Oversized, loud, smelly, unreliable and radically underpowered.   And it probably represents the absolute pinnacle of Thanatorian accomplishment.

They can barely manage a crude internal combustion engine.  They couldnít manage a jet engine.  They might manage crude cannonís or muskets, but not a rifle or pistol and certainly not a machine gun.

Ultimately, the underlying technology, the metallurgy, the industrial and refining processes are high renaissance at best.   Nothing to sneeze at.  But the technology to turn out .... oh say machine screws, or mass production of components, various machine tools, just donít exist.   So everything is painstakingly handcrafted with inferior tools and techniques.

Moreover, the population and economic base to rapidly upgrade just doesnít exist.  Shondakarís population is only 250,000, of which only a fifth actually lives in the city as urban dwellers.  The human population on the planet is only a few million at best.   Thatís not much of a foundation.

Bottom line, Thanator wonít be approaching Earth levels of sophistication any time soon, though they may leap ahead in certain areas, to 17th or 18th century levels of technology.  Musketeers, anyone?

The Cor Az Confederation

The Cor Az basin is the home of two tribes, the Cave and River people, who are now being exposed to civilization.   Arguably, they would like the benefits of civilization, ranging from woven cloth, to metal pots and pans, steel weapons, better ropes, etc.  Does civilization want anything they have?   Likely the jungle contains a great many medicines, foodstuffs and recreational substances (coffee equivalents, tea, or perhaps drugs) which might be valuable to the cities.  They have a useful domesticated food animal to trade.  There may be new kinds of food plants.  So, itís quite possible that the Cor Az cultures will do very well in contact with the cities.

Itís also possible that they will be victimized and overwhelmed by the City States.  Against this, we have Jandarís moral sentiments.   Itís also possible that it wouldnít be easy.   The Europeans dealt on a relatively even basis with technologically inferior societies for a long time before their technological advantage became overwhelming.

So, it is quite possible that the Cor Az peoples will adapt and change and meet the City States on equal terms, perhaps even modernizing and forming their own rough political equivalent to a City State.

The Free City of Kuur

Itís likely that the alliance will maintain a garrison in Kuur in order to guard against the return of any leftover surviving mind wizards.   The ruins of Kuur would also make an ideal station point for a major trading mission to deal with the Cor Az.   Inevitably, a combined military garrison/trading mission would require its own support staff, and a thriving little town would develop.   Throw in farmerís settling in the valley, the development of local artisans and manufacturing to refine raw materials for shipping, and Kuur would potentially quickly develop into a city.  The three or four cities in the alliance would have a vested interest in not allowing any one city to rule Kuur as a colony.  Thus, it would probably be administered as a free port jointly managed by the alliance, and eventually self governing.

The Zarkoon War

The Zarkoon existed as a barrier to entry to the Far Side and particularly to Harangzar and Cor Az. While no significant interchange existed between Far Side and Near Side and while the Zarkoon were largely mythic, they remained unmolested.

However, changing circumstances, particularly the re-emergence of Kuur and the development of interhemisphere trade between Cor Az and Kuur on one side and the nearside city states would bring the Zarkoon and Humans into conflict.

This would inevitably result in the Zarkoon war in which several human cities prepare a military force to clean out Zarkoon mountains.

Although a campaign would be bent on extermination, it would be hard to completely wipe out a population of flyers.  Approximately half of the Zarkoon are destroyed, the rest dispersed on a Ďtrail of tearsí, with small colonies and family bands re-establishing themselves throughout the Near and Far sides and becoming a bigger pest than ever.

Some captive Zarkoon are enslaved, beginning a secondary slave population.  In particular, the Perushtar nations will be particularly interested in finding and raising a force of Zarkoon slave soldiers to try and overcome the Four Cities Alliance lead in aerial warships.  Zarkoon slaves may also become useful in airship servicing, helping to dock ships.

Domestication of the Ghastozar

Jandar successfully rides one in Mad Empress of Callisto.  In Lankar of Callisto and Yllanna of Callisto we discover that the Mind Wizards are able to use their powers to ride them at will as beasts of burden.  They are large enough and powerful enough to carry two or three humans.

The Ghastozar, if domesticated, would prove immeasurably superior to the small flying airships.  These ships are fragile, slow, too small for internal combustion engines and powered by muscle power.  The Ghastozar in numbers would even be a real threat to large warships.

So, who will domesticate the Ghastozar?   Jandar and the Mind Wizards have shown that it is at least superficially feasible.  So, absent luck and mental powers, its just a matter of trying.  The Perushtar cities are desperately motivated to find a counterweight to Four Cities Alliance aerial superiority.  On the other hand, this may be an innovation Jandar pioneers.   The likelihood is that once word gets out, there will be a multi-city race to domesticate the beasts and train Ghaz riders.


Represent a hidden population and hitherto unknown race around the Sanmur Laj. Poor water sources limit the growth and inhibit cities from emerging, so populations are probably distributed through a series of towns or tribes. Water based trade and fishing ties the communities together into a federation of sorts.   What role these people might have is an open question.

Regular Contact with Earth

Would remain unlikely.   There are a number of obstacles.  From the terrestrial side, the intervening Khmer Rouge regime and Vietnamese occupation and attendant guerilla war would close the region for an extended period of time.   Still, there is a risk that some group, perhaps a Khmer Rouge fringe might realize what the gateway was and send a small army over.   Arriving naked, they might not pose much of a threat initially, but they could cause trouble, particularly if they brought the right skills with them.  The discovery or use by Earthís governments of the Gateway might make for interesting storylines.

On the other hand, there are very little in the way of opportunities.  Jandar has no urge to return to Earth, even to visit, heís content to send manuscripts.  Of course, he could ask for textbooks to be sent.  Books on chemistry, mechanics, Victorian era technology could be revolutionary for Thanator.  The trouble is that these books, containing artificial compounds, probably wouldnít go through.  But with extra expense, they could be copied onto natural ink onto handmade paper.  Those would probably go through.   The trick would be getting it past the Khmer Rouge or the Vietnamese.  Most Thanatorians could jump through the gateway, but only the Ganatol would be able to pass ethnically anywhere on Earth.

Still, the overall likelihood is that passage through the gateway is a rare event, considered fictional by most groups, and is known to be real only by a small group of people on Earth, who might well have an interest in concealing that knowledge.

Bottom Line...

Thanator of Jon Darkís future could be quite an interesting place.   A place of new cities and settlements, new races mixing.   Itís a world which will see great wars and great changes.   A world where Yathoon and Zarkoon walk the same cities as humans, where Musketeers or Marshalls ride Ghastozarís to keep the peace.   Where change and opportunity, growth and adventure are around every streetcorner.

 Lin Carter Callisto Articles by Den Valdron
Carter's Callisto
Shape of Thanator
Alien Races of Callisto
Civilization of Callisto
Barsoom-Thanator Connection
Callisto Pellucidar
Callisto Future
Literary Zanthodon
Literal Zanthodon
Linguistic Zanthodon, 
Pellucidar, Mangani, Pal-ul-don
. .
Colonial Barsoom
Colonial Appendix

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