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Literature / Amtor
aka: Pirates Of Venus

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The first novel of the series.
Amtor, known on Earth as the planet Venus, is the setting of a Planetary Romance series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. The hero of the series is Earth-man Carson Napier, who travels to Amtor in the first novel of the series, Pirates of Venus.
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Burroughs completed four novels in the series, each of which was published as a magazine serial before being collected in book form. He began work on a fifth in the early 1940s but abandoned it in favor of working as a war correspondent when the USA entered World War II. The completed first section of the novel was published as a short story after his death.

  1. Pirates of Venus (magazine 1932, book 1934)
  2. Lost on Venus (magazine 1933, book 1935)
  3. Carson of Venus (magazine 1938, book 1939)
  4. Escape on Venus (magazine 1941, book 1946)
  5. "The Wizard of Venus" (1964)

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This series contains examples of:

  • The Ageless: The people of Vepaja are ageless thanks to an anti-aging serum.
  • Amazon Brigade: The women of the Samary people do all of the hunting and warfare, kill strange men on sight, and only (barely) tolerate their own men for procreation's sake. Samary men are smaller than their women and rely on them to provide food and protection.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: After spending the entire first novel denying any affection for him, Duare gives one to Carson at the end of Pirates of Venus when he is facing imminent capture and she is unwillingly being carried to safety by the last surviving angan. Once they are reunited in the following book, she insists that she didn't really mean it.
  • Artificial Zombie: Skor's experiments in Lost on Venus allows him to reanimate dead bodies to act as his subjects.
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  • Badass Bookworm: Carson builds a spaceship capable of reaching Venus (originally intended to reach Mars) in the 1930’s with only a few years’ experience in rocketry at most and is able to speak Amtorian conversationally after about three weeks’ worth of tutelage. He is also a former stuntman, single-handedly kills a targo on his first outing into the forest, leads a successful slave uprising after being taken prisoner by the Thorists, and is able to tread water for hours after falling overboard in a storm.
  • Beauty = Goodness: A subversion; the people of Havatoo are uncommonly beautiful and quite pleasant, but this is because they zealously weed out physical and psychological defects from the population. Carson is initially sentenced to death because they are afraid he might contaminate the gene pool generations down the line.
  • Bird People: The klangan (literally "bird men" in the Amtorian language).
  • Boarding Party: Carson's preferred modus operandi as a pirate is to get as close to his target as possible without arousing suspicion and then overwhelm the opposing crew with sheer weight in numbers. This is understandable as his first raid is as much a rescue mission to save Duare as anything else, and most subsequent raids are conducted to capture supplies and valuable prisoners from Thorist ships.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Carson tasks an angan with carrying Duare back to his ship to prevent her from being recaptured by the Thorists. However, because the angan was part of the group that kidnapped Duare from the ship in the first place, he is afraid of being killed by the vengeful crew and instead turns her back over to the Thorists.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The Thorists lock Carson in the Room of Seven Doors, a Cliché Storm of death traps, but nobody bothers to monitor the room from the outside to make sure any of them actually work, allowing Carson to find a means of escape.
  • Canon Welding: The series is explicitly part of The ’Verse Burroughs had previously established by welding together the Pellucidar, Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars series, all of which share the premise that Burroughs is acting as an intermediary for the accounts of the heroes. When Carson Napier visits to ask Burroughs to be his intermediary as well, Burroughs is receiving an update on the doings in Pellucidar from Jason Gridley.
  • Cool Plane: The Anotar (literally “Bird-ship”), an airplane Carson builds in Lost on Venus using Amtorian technology. It is completely silent, never needs refueling, has retractable wheels and pontoons to land on both land and sea, seats four and can be flown from any of the four seats. During the siege of Sanara, it is converted into a bomber to attack Zani positions.
  • Damsel in Distress: Duare is almost constantly being captured and needing to be rescued by Carson.
    • Nalte also spends the good majority of her appearances either captured or evading capture.
  • Death World: Practically every creature Carson encounters is a vicious predator attempting to make a meal of him, and the entire planet is divided into numerous warring factions.
  • Direct Line to the Author: At the beginning of the series, Burroughs claims to be basing the stories on accounts received telepathically from Carson Napier on Venus (who oddly enough, rarely uses his psychic powers for anything other than giving Burroughs infodumps).
  • Door Roulette: The Room of Seven Doors in Lost on Venus. Only one of the room's doors led to safety; all the others were deathtraps. (Once the jailers brought you in and left, the lights went out and the floor spun for a while so you'd lose track of which was the safe door.) Food and drink were provided — most of it poisoned. Oh, and to discourage hesitation, after a while dangerous snakes started slithering in.
  • The Dreaded: Carson's plane becomes this simply because most Amtorians have no idea what the hell it is and refuse to go anywhere near it.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Duare of Vepaja.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Carson’s trip to Mars is immediately derailed because he forgot to factor the Moon into his calculations, and is thrown off-course by its gravitational pull. He even lampshades it:
    • "With all our careful calculation, with all our checking and rechecking, we had overlooked the obvious; we had not taken the Moon into consideration at all."
  • Fate Worse than Death: Skor’s undead subjects openly state that they would prefer to return to the oblivion of death over the artificial life that Skor’s experiments gave them.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The men of the Samary tribes have names like Lula, Vyla, and Ellie. This is probably deliberate as the Samaryans seem to flip traditional gender roles (the women are warriors and hunters, while the men make sandals and loincloths). When Carson first meets Lula, Lula finds Carson to be a more feminine name (by Samary standards) than his own.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: After Carson inherits a considerable fortune from his mother (via his great-grandfather), he becomes a pilot and a Hollywood stuntman before travelling the world, learning rocketry in Germany and eventually deciding to build a rocket to carry him into space.
  • Giant Spider: The targo which are native to Venus. The Venusians gather their webs, called tarel, which has thousands of uses.
  • Gladiator Games: The city of Havatoo hosts such games at least monthly, with an annual event known as the “Great War Game”: two teams of 100 men armed with swords and shields trying to capture each other’s queen as many times as possible in an hour, like some macabre game of capture the flag. When Carson questions how the normally pacifistic and cultured people of Havatoo can enjoy such spectacle, Ero Shan claims that the city’s lack of conflict necessitates the games to act as outlets for the citizen’s more primal urges.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Duare of Vepaja, the Venusian princess and Carson Napier's love interest.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: When disguised as an Amtorian in Carson of Venus, Carson briefly adopts the alias of Homo Sapiens (Homo for short).
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: While hiding from Skor’s undead minions among a group of elderly living people, Carson, Duare, and Nalte use makeup to make themselves appear older. When the undead search the house they are in, they make no effort to hide and the undead (not being remotely intelligent) hardly pay attention to them as they’re so focused on looking for hidden persons.
  • Honor Before Reason: Arguably one of Carter's biggest flaws:
    • Despite being a novice with an Amtorian sword, Carson insists on engaging the captain of the Sovong in a swordfight rather than shoot him after he’d disarmed the captain of his pistol. Carson spends the entire fight on the defensive and only wins by pure luck.
    • Carson refuses to kill a barely conscious and completely helpless Skor, despite Skor being a Complete Monster.
    • Carson begins to get suspicious about the message Muso tasks him with delivering, but continues his assignment out of a sense of duty. Only when he learns that Muso has ties to Mephis, the leader of the Zani, does he finally see fit to read the message and discover Muso’s treachery.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Carson puts a man he just met in charge of single-handedly guarding a very valuable political prisoner. Even when Carson walks in on the pair of them behaving suspiciously, Carson gives the man the benefit of the doubt until the pair of them escape with Duare
  • Human Aliens: The people of Vepaja slightly resemble Middle-Easterns on Earth.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The River of Death, which separates Havatoo and Kormor. So named because of the Inevitable Waterfall just downstream of the two cities.
    • Kormor itself is sometimes referred to as the City of the Dead.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: The Vepajans consume an anti-aging serum that extends their lifespan and allows them to live indefinitely. Half their women are also infertile, and the other half is allowed to breed a limited number of children to avoid overpopulation.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Carson shoots a fleeing animal from the cockpit of his airplane with a pistol.
  • Language Equals Thought: Discussed; because the skies of Venus are perpetually cloudy, the Venusians have no concept of anything beyond their own atmosphere and thus no words to describe things like the sun, space, stars and planets. Carson finds it difficult to convince people that he is from another planet.
  • Martial Pacifist: Carson always gives his opponents the opportunity to surrender peacefully, and makes it a point of emphasis that he will not tolerate his men engaging in needless slaughter. He also refuses to kill an unarmed and unconscious man, even when he is completely justified in doing so.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Samaryan people consist of brutish, Amazonian women and frail, timid men.
  • Mighty Whitey: Carson Napier gets thrust into a "savage" environment and thrives.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Amtor is culturally diverse, with at least half a dozen different nations and cultures depicted.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The primary villains of Carson of Venus are the militaristic, dictatorial Zani Party, complete with an incompetent ally from a nearby city named Muso.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: The Room of Seven Doors runs on this trope, given that six of the seven doors lead to death traps, six of the seven different foods and drinks in the room are poisoned, all of the furniture in the room is embedded with metal spikes, snakes are released into the room within minutes of the prisoner being locked inside, and there is a noose hanging from the ceiling in case the condemned would rather take their own life rather than deal with any of the unpleasant deaths that await them behind the doors.
  • Not Quite Dead: Kamlot is bitten by a targo on Carson’s first expedition to collect tarel and apparently dies. Carson carries his body through the trees and down to ground level for the better part of a day, digs a grave and is about to bury him when he notices that Kamlot is still breathing.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: An in-universe aversion; Carson’s captors take great pains in describing each of the Room of Seven Doors' various death traps contained within, particularly the fifth door, which leads to a room containing a tharban (an animal Carson had never before heard of), with one of the captors even commenting that he thinks it would be more terrifying if Carson knows what it is than if he remains ignorant.
  • Older Than They Look: Because the serum of longevity stops the natural aging process, everyone who takes it maintains the appearance of someone in their physical prime, even if they are several hundred years old.
  • Panthera Awesome: The tharban, an animal that Carson frequently compares to a lion.
  • Perma-Shave: The Venusians naturally don’t grow any facial hair. Carson accepts a salve from Danus that permanently removes his facial hair after seeing how negatively Duare reacts to the sight of a man with a beard.
  • Pirate: Pirates of Venus.
  • Planetary Romance
  • Significant Anagram: The main villains in Carson of Venus are the Zani Party.
  • Society of Immortals: The Vepajans become immortal thanks to a life-extending drug that slows down aging indefinitely.
  • Stripperiffic: Any Amtorian (Venusian), male or female, will wear a belt and weapons harness (male), jewelry (female) and that's pretty much it. Even when they're going into battle.
  • Venus Is Wet: Amtor is an oceanic world with a tropical climate.

Alternative Title(s): Pirates Of Venus, Lost On Venus, Carson Of Venus, Escape On Venus

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