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Volume 4514
How Carson and Duare Survived Venus
by John "Bridge" Martin

i. The Wizard of Amtor
ii. Health Care on Amtor

The Wizard of Amtor

Carson 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 " 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: " 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 first-ever doses.

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 13)

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 be born.

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 were right."

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.

1. Pirates of Venus
2. Lost on Venus
3. Carson of Venus
4. Escape on Venus
5. The Wizard of Venus 
   (Tales of Three Planets)

ALL ABOUT AMTOR by John Martin
INTRO | 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10


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