The Wizard of Amtor
Napier had the ability to use his mental powers in such a way that he could
literally cause others to see and hear things.
This ability was unveiled to the reader beginning with
the opening line of Pirates of Venus: "If a female figure in a white
shroud enters your bedchamber at midnight on the thirteenth day of this
month, answer this letter. Otherwise, do not."
That's how Carson introduced himself to ERB. If his experiment
worked on ERB, it would mean that he and the author were in mental harmony,
and Carson could probably easily communicate with him from outer space,
so that a waiting world would be able to learn of his adventures there.
The experiment was successful. ERB saw the vision Carson
sent and accurately heard what it said, and he and Carson were in business.
The California adventurer had acquired this skill while
living in India as a child. Carson had studied under a Hindu mystic named
Chand Kabi, who taught him enhanced telepathy skills.
In his Foreword to The Wizard of Venus, ERB said
that he had often wondered why Carson used his mystic power so infrequently
"...to meet the emergencies which so often confront him."
It was true that Carson had used his projection powers
sparingly, but he did sometimes report on other uses of his abilities.
Aboard the Sofal in Pirates, Carson claimed his gift of
psychic powers was what justified his pursuit of Duare: "...from the first
moment that I had seen this girl watching me from the garden in Vepaja,
I had been impressed by an inner consciousness of her interest in me, her
more than simply interest. It was just one of those things that are the
children of old Chand Kabi's training, a training that has made me infinitely
more intuitive than a woman." (Chapter 12)
Carson once claimed a foresight ability, but probably
only as a ruse. When confronting Zani prison guard Torko, Carson said,
"I'm psychic... I even know things are going to happen before they do."
(CV, Chapter 15). Here Carson was not actually relying on special
abilities, but on preplanned tactics he had set in motion.
Carson's telepathic abilities may have worked against
him when he and Duare were taken prisoner by the Myposans in Escape
on Venus, Chapter 4: "Perhaps there are few people more gifted with
telepathic powers than I, yet I do not always profit by my knowledge. Had
I, I should not then have thought about my pistol, for while I was wondering
why Ulirus had not taken it from me, he pointed to it and asked me what
it was. Of course it might have been only coincidence."
In Wizard, Carson gave full reign to his mystical
powers, making several people "see things" so he and Ero Shan could rescue
Vanaja and others from the psychological, not magical, spell that had been
cast by Morgas.
After freeing Vanaja by use of his powers, Carson decided
not to fully explain to Ero Shan -- right then -- exactly what he had done.
"Had I, Vanaja would doubtless have immediately jumped to the conclusion
that I was a wizard, and I had good reason to suspect that wizards might
not be overly popular with the Pandar family."
However, with Carson prevailing in the preliminary and
final showdowns with Morgas, and with the known accomplishments of his
psychic training, including his successful transmission of all the Venus
stories to ERB, we conclude that Carson Napier is, after all, the true
"Wizard of Venus."
Health Care on Amtor
Doctors and Scientists
Carson Napier's teacher in Vepaja was Dr. Danus. In Pirates
of Venus, Chapter 4, we learn that Danus, in addition to other duties,
was "chief physician and surgeon of his country, physician and surgeon
to the king, and head of a college of medicine and surgery."
All of those duties might keep a fellow pretty busy, but
Danus didn't have to run a day-to-day practice because the Venusan longevity
serum "...not only provides immunity from all diseases but insures the
complete restoration of all wasted tissue." (Chapter 5)
So, the times when Danus's services would be needed was
usually only when someone got injured. He had plenty of free time to spend
teaching Carson the history of Vepaja, Amtorian geography and the like.
The enemy nation of Thora, however, came into being with
an uprising that resulted in elimination of much of the cultured, educated
class. So the Communist-like Thorans conducted raids on Vepaja with the
goal of kidnapping intelligent people, including doctors, to serve their
diseased and aging population.
Thora's tactics were similar to those of the Kalkars,
the Soviet-like conquering aliens in ERB's The Moon Men, published
in 1925. After taking over the Earth, "Practically all the men who understood
the technical details of operation and maintenance, or engineering and
mechanics, belonged to the more intelligent class of earthmen and were,
consequently, immediately thrown out of employment and later killed." (Moon
Men, Chapter 2)
When Carson and Kamlot were captured and brought aboard
the Thoran ship Sofal, (PV, Chapter 8), the captain asked, "Is either
of you a doctor?"
Kamlot spoke up first and gave his occupation as a hunter
and woodcarver. Carson at first identified himself as an aviator, which
the Venusan skipper could not pronounce, spell or understand. Then, when
asked if he were a doctor, the quick-thinking Carson replied "Yes." As
the captain ordered them to be taken away, he told the guard: "...be careful
of this one; he is a doctor."
Later, when Moosko the ongyan, blazing mad at Carson's
disrespect for him, brought the earthman before the jong of the Thorist-satellite
Kapdor, the jong wanted to know if Carson was a doctor and Moo-sko told
him it didn't matter; he deserved to be executed regardless because he
had grossly disrespected the Thoran ongyan.
The jong briefly objected: "But we need doctors badly.
We are dying of disease and old age. If we do not have a doctor soon, we
shall all be dead." LV, Chapter 2
Later in Lost, Chapter 7, Skor said he was from
the northern part of Strabol, the hot region, and disparaged the level
of science in that area. "It is a land of fools. They frown upon true science
and progress." So, presumably, their health care system was lacking.
Of course, Skor was no model scientist. He was more of
a Dr. Frankenstein, complete with castle. He himself apparently had access
to the Venusan longevity serum, as he said he left the land of his birth
100 years before. How did he manage to obtain such a serum in the unscientific
region? He didn't say. But while he apparently had solved his own health
problem, his idea of immortality for others was to turn them into zombies,
or revenants, with limited will power. Carson and Duare had to contend
with these walking dead not only in the castle but later in Skor's capital
city of Kormor.
Long Life for Carson and Duare?
A longevity serum, that doubled as an immunity and rejuvenation
shot, would make a lot of health care programs unnecessary on Amtor.
In Pirates of Venus, Chapter 6, Carson received
an injection of the longevity serum, which could help someone live indefinitely,
as long as they got repeat doses every two years.
Just how long one could live with regular doses is not
known, but Danus had told Carson that the serum had been perfected 1,000
years before and there were some people still around who had gotten the
Carson left Vepaja involuntarily. But subsequent events
convinced him it was a great idea to stay clear of the place. So what would
happen when his two-year inoculation wore off?
Luckily for him, he eventually wound up in Havatoo, a
city greatly advanced in science.
In Havatoo, there was good news and bad news. The good
news was that they had a serum that would give immunity from old age for
two or three hundred years. The bad news was that you wouldn't get a second
dose. Ero Shan explained: "It was quite apparent that if we lived forever
the number of children that could be permitted would be too small to result
in any considerable improvement of the race, and so we have refused immortality
in the interest of future generations and of all Amtor." (LV, Chapter
So, their logic was different from those in Vepaja. Since
the Vepaji did like the idea of living as long as possible, they solved
the overpopulation potential by limiting the number of children which could
After Carson passed muster and was declared fit to remain
as a fully honorable citizen of Havatoo, he was accorded all rights and
privileges of citizenship. The book doesn't say if or when he was given
their 200-300-year serum, but one would conclude he had received it, because
in Chapter 13, when Korgan Kantum Mohar, the warrior physicist, asked Carson
to build the first airplane on Venus, Carson replied that it might take
a lot of experimentation to construct a successful one. The smiling Mohar
responded: "You have two or three hundred years."
Yet, in Carson of Venus, Chapter 4, Carson made
a passing reference to the longevity serum he had received from Danus,
but made no mention of the more powerful shot he likely received in Hava-too.
In Carson, Chapter 5, he mentioned that a year had passed since
Duare had originally been kidnapped from Vepaja. Since Carson left Vepaja
about the same time, that means that-- if he was relying only on the inoculation
from Vepaja -- he was one year away from needing the booster shot!
And what about Duare? She was only 18 when kidnapped by
the Klangan and may not have even been old enough to receive her first
shot! If she hadn't, and if she was counting on maintaining her young,
20-something good looks for awhile, she would soon need either her first
shot, or a booster, as well!
In Escape on Venus, Chapter 2, Carson and Duare
were flying in the anotar when Carson talked as if he had received a full
1,000-year serum. "...for while I live I shall never admit the possibility
of death," said Carson. "Somehow, it doesn't seem to be for me—at least
not since Danus injected the longevity serum into my veins and told me
that I might live a thousand years. You see, I am curious to know if he
Later in Escape, Chapter 39, the mostly paralyzed
Carson was on exhibit in Voo-ad while Duare was stuck flying around in
the anotar with Vik-yor, continually trying to get the upper hand so she
could return and rescue Carson. In a confrontation with an attacking tharban,
Duare thought: "She was about to die, and Carson would never know. He would
hang there on that wall until death released him, the longevity serum with
which he had been inoculated in Vepaja, a curse rather than a blessing."
So it seems that both Carson and Duare forgot that serum
"booster shots" must be given every two years, and Carson had completely
forgotten about the 200-300 year serum he had most likely received in Havatoo.
Both were expecting to live 1,000 years without benefit of repeat doses.
At the end of Escape, Carson noted that another
year had passed since their adventure in Korva. So, adding the year that
Carson mentioned at the start of Carson of Venus, they had now been
adventuring for two years, and if Carson had actually not received an inoculation
in Havatoo, they were both due for a shot now!
Ah, but since Carson and Duare wound up as residents of
the city of Sanara, and since the pair had re-established friendly relations
with Havatoo, one can imagine that both Carson and Duare would some-how
manage to get the needed injections some day to keep them alive, adventuring,
and good-looking for years to come.