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Pirates of Venus (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – September 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Carson Napier Venus Series

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Paperback, September 1, 2001
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Product Details

  • Series: Bison Frontiers of Imagination
  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Cmv edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803261837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803261839
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,437,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAME on August 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Originally serialized in "Argosy" in 1932, "Pirates of Venus" is the first story in the fourth longest series of pulp fiction adventures written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan is the longest, with Mars and Pellucidar coming in second and third). The authorial conceit this time around is that Carson Napier visits ERB before heading off to Guadalupe Island where he has a rocket ship in which he intends to travel to Mars. Carson establishes a telepathic link with Burroughs, which will allow him to communicate his adventures from afar. This becomes helpful, especially when Carson's rocket ship takes off for Mars and the adventurer discovers that he forgot something: namely the gravitational effects of the moon. However, in one of the great strokes of luck in science fiction history this ends up sending Carson and his rocket ship to Venus instead. The planet is said to be uninhabitable, but Carson has no other choice and when the rocket enters the dense atmosphere he jumps out in a parachute. Carson's luck continues because the air is indeed breathable and soon he is having a series of adventures on the planet's surface and meets up with the beautiful Duare. If you have read a lot of ERB's novels you know two things are going to happen between these two, namely that he will fall in love with her and at the end of the novel they will be separated by tragic circumstances (to be continued).

"Pirates of Venus" is a straightforward ERB adventure on one level, but you can also read it as a thinly disguised political satire aimed at the communists.
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Format: Paperback
"Pirates of Venus" begins the last major series by Edgar Rice Burroughs: the Venus novels. When it first appeared as a serial in the pulp magazine Argosy in 1932, Burroughs had already written Tarzan novels, most of the Mars series, and the novels of Pellucidar. The Venus novels were created partially as a response to Otis Adelbert Kline, a pulp author who wrote very much in the style of Burroughs. When Kline created a series of Venus-set novels made to imitate Burroughs's Martian novels, Burroughs fired back with his own series on Venus. He created a new hero, Carson Napier, who somehow manages to fire his rocket at Mars and end up landing on Venus. A jungle planet with tree-living humanoids battling a tyranny attempting to erase all class boundaries called 'The Thorists' (rather thinly disguised communists) and a horde of other monstrous menaces. Napier joins the fight against the Thorists and tries romancing the beautiful but unobtainable Duare.
It sounds like a typical Burrough adventure: plenty of colorful action, monsters, weird science, and crazy new cultures. But Burroughs was past his creative prime, and "Pirates of Venus" shows it. Phillip R. Burger, in his interesting afterword to this edition, sums up the problems in two telling sentences: "In the pantheon of Burroughs heroes, Carson Napier is considered a tad deficient." "I've become rather fond of 'Pirates of Venus' as well, in spite of the novel's rather glaring fault: no plot." Although Burger makes a spirited attempt to explain his liking for the novel, he's right about the flaws. Napier is a weak hero who doesn't really have any plan or direction, and the novel is really a loosely collected series of escapades and fights that lead nowhere in particular.
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45 years ago I read all the great author Edgar Rice Burroughs (one of my favorite authors) John Carter Mars series SF opera series books. All were great 5 stars. Another SF /fantasy opera series he did is the Carson Napier Venus series.

Pirates of Venus was a 173 page burner I read in 2 days. A lot of fun, excitement and suspense as Burroughs creates another hostile habitable world.

I wont ruin the story for you just give you a few tid bits. Carson Napier a rich, handsome blond haired, blue eyed man has the idea of exploring Mars. With the help of his friends and lots of money he has a sloping rocket rail system and a huge double walled projectile made for him to be shot toward Mars. Unfortunately the Moon's gravitational pull is not calculated . He just misses crashing on the Moon,and he is thrown toward the sun and impending vaporization. Luckily Venus's gravity captures the projectile and Carson is able to eventually parachute out over Venus.

Here Burroughs gives the reader a rich description of Venus with its thousand plus foot trees, vicious giant spiders, vicious ground beasts, flying birdmen strong enough to carry off people, and different humanoid tribes.

Carson is found by a human tribe of people and is under nice house arrest but treated very well. He is seen and sees a beautiful virgin 18 year old, daughter of the king.

I wont ruin the story by saying too much more.

Eventually he becomes a pirate on a ship on the ocean of Venus against an evil empire, not the good people who first captured him. He must rescue the captive princess. I won't ruin the great ending just say it sets up the next book beautifully.

Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter Mars series was so good...
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