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
His purpose was not necessarily to close every loop while
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
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 to understand.
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
So, a strong bond of friendship between these two had
saved Carson's life.
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,
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
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 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 or something."
Sure enough, a bright globe was moving slowly across the
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, he approached.
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
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
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
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
to 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