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Pirates of Venus (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – 1 Jan 2002

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About the Author

Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of Tarzan of the Apes and dozens of other famous novels, was a pivotal figure in the history of American science fiction. His books include At the Earth's Core, Beyond Thirty, and The Land That Time Forgot, all available in the Bison Frontiers of Imagination series. A noted horror and science fiction writer, F. Paul Wilson is the author of such best-selling novels as The Keep, The Tomb, and Conspiracies. Thomas Floyd is a graphic designer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 29 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
ERB's hero Carson Napier aims for Mars, lands on Venus... 5 Aug. 2004
By Lawrance Bernabo - Published on
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. This would be the bit about the Thorists, who start a revolution for their own benefit in which they cheat the uneducated masses, kill or drive off the educated people, and are themselves pretty much just a collection of idiots (I did not say it was profound political satire on the level of George Orwell). As an adventure yarn this is one of ERB's better stories from the decade of the 1930s and in it you will find a strange world of amazing landscapes, fantastic creatures, and people with bizarre customs. The adventure elements are from Burroughs' well developed formula, so you might as well pay attention to the wonderful world of Amtor he has created. Still, special mention has to be made of Carson Napier having more of a sense of humor than Tarazn, John Carter, and David Innes put together (my favorite is his definition of "golf" as "a mental disease").
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The weakest Burroughs series, but interesting nonetheless 19 July 2004
By Claude Avary - Published on
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. The novel hardly even ends; it just stops -- setting up the inevitable sequels (which, for the record, are "Escape on Venus," "Lost on Venus," and "Carson of Venus"). Napier is maybe a more modern, realistic hero than Tarzan or John Carter of Mars, but that's not exactly what you want from an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.
Nonetheless, "Pirates of Venus" is quintessential reading for Burroughs fans and pulp lovers. This excellent edition from Bison Books, complete with new illustrations, a glossary, and great essays from F. Paul Wilson and Phillip Burger, is the first time the book has been back in print for many years; many Burroughs readers probably haven't had a chance to experience Burroughs's last series, and here it is in quite handsome form. And, despite all its shortcomings, "Pirates of Venus" does offer simple action and adventure entertainment. Newcomers to Burroughs should first experience "Tarzan of the Apes," "Under the Moons of Mars" (a current volume from Bison Books that collects the first three Mars novels), "At the Earth's Core," and "The Land That Time Forgot" (all in print) before reading this later and lesser work from the creator of the modern action/adventure novel.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
My Favorite Burroughs 17 May 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Carson Napier has been my favorite Burroughs hero from about page 25 of my very old paperback copy of this book. He has all the heroic charms of John Carter while not quite being as over the top as the Warlord of Mars.
For plotting this book is stock Burroughs and his many imitators. If you loved John Carter try his not quite so wonderful brother. If you love the Green Star novels read the originals (much as the Calisto books are Carter's version of Barsoom so is Green Star Carter's version of Amtor). If you love Norman's Gor, Aker's Antares, or Carter's Calisto then do yourself a favor and read the lesser know inspiration for them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Scam! 14 Mar. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This IS NOT the book. .99 for 18 pages of a book is shameful. Amazon doesn't list critical details like that in their android app. Spend your money on the actual book from an honest seller.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Burroughs at his swashbuckling best 19 April 2008
By wiredweird - Published on
Carson Napier sets out to test his new rocket - and what better test than a quick trip to Mars, just to shake the bugs out? Off he goes, but realizes too late that he forgot something important: the moon! Can hardly blame the guy. He had a lot on his mind, so it was easy to skip a little thing like a planetoid 2000 miles in diameter. So, instead of flying towards Mars, away from the sun, he makes a gravity-slung U turn, towards certain death by solar incineration. Then, by remarkable coincidence, Venus just happens to be in the exact spot along its 400 million mile orbital path to draw his ship in - mighty convenient, that.

That sets the mood for another story cast in the classic Burroughs mold. It features the manly questing, swords and ray guns, bumbling romance (resolved in the end, of course), treachery, lower races conveniently available as domestic help, and repeated rescues of the princess who repeatedly needs rescuing. Oh, and pirates. The real yo-ho-ho and prepare-to-be-boarded kind.

If you want chaste adventure and escapist fantasy, Burroughs delivers. Where else could you hope to find this kind of writing: "As a mistress, death seemed sadly lacking in many essentials. Therefore, I decided not to die." They just don't write like that any more - and it might be a good thing, too.

-- wiredweird
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