Edgar Burroughs: Escape on Venus

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Edgar Burroughs Escape on Venus
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    Escape on Venus
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    Прочие приключения / на английском языке
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    Английский
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Escape on Venus is the fourth book in the Venus series (Sometimes called the "Carson Napier of Venus series") by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It consists of four interconnected stories published in Fantasic Adventures between 1941 and 1942: "Slaves of the Fishmen," "Goddess of Fire," "The Living Dead," and "War on Venus."

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Edgar Rice Burroughs

Escape on Venus

To Brigadier General Kenall J. Fielder

Foreword

Venus at its nearest approach to Earth, is still a little matter of twenty-six million miles away—barely a sleeper jump in the vast reaches of infinite space. Hidden from our sight by its cloak of enveloping clouds, during all time its surface has been seen by but a single Earth man—Carson of Venus.

This is the fourth story of the adventures of Carson of Venus on the Shepherd’s Star, as narrated by him telepathically to Edgar Rice Burroughs at Lanikai on the island of Oahu. It is a story complete in itself. It is not necessary even to read this foreword, unless you happen to be curious to learn how Carson navigated interplanetary space and something of the strange lands he has visited, the vast, deserted oceans he has navigated, the savage beasts he has encountered, the friends and enemies he has made, and the girl whom he won over apparently insuperable obstacles.

When Carson of Venus took off from Guadalupe Island off the west coast of Mexico in his giant rocket ship his intended destination was Mars. For more than a year his calculations had been checked and rechecked by some of the ablest scientists and astronomers in America, and the exact moment of his departure had been determined, together with the position and inclination of the mile-long track along which the rocket ship would make its take-off. The resistance of the Earth’s atmosphere had been nicely calculated, as well as the Earth’s pull and that of the other planets and the Sun. The speed of the rocket ship in our atmosphere and beyond had been as accurately determined as was scientifically possible; but one factor had been overlooked. Incomprehensible as it may appear, no one had taken into consideration the pull of the Moon!

Shortly after the take-off, Carson realized that he was already off his course; and for some time it appeared likely that he would score a direct hit upon our satellite. Only the terrific velocity of the rocket ship and the pull of a great star saved him from this; and he passed over the Moon by the narrowest of margins, scarcely five thousand feet above her loftiest mountains.

After that, for a long month, he realized that he was in the grip of the Sun’s attraction and that he was doomed. He had long since given up hope, when Venus loomed far ahead and to his right. He realized that he was going to cross her orbit and that there was a chance that she might claim him rather than the Sun. Yet he was still doomed, for had not Science definitely proved that Venus was without oxygen and incapable of supporting such forms of life as exist upon Earth?

Soon Venus seized him, and the rocket ship dove at terrific speed toward the billowing clouds of her envelope. Following the same procedure that he had purposed using in making a landing on Mars, he loosed batteries of parachutes which partially checked the speed of the ship; then, adjusting his oxygen tank and mask, he bailed out.

Landing among the branches of giant trees that raised their heads five thousand feet above the surface of the planet, he encountered almost immediately the first of a long series of adventures which have filled his life almost continuously since his advent upon Amtor, as Venus is known to its inhabitants; for he was pursued and attacked by hideous arboreal carnivores before he reached the tree city of Kooaad and became the guest-prisoner of Mintep, the king.

It was here that he saw and loved Duare, the king’s daughter, whose person was sacred and upon whose face no man other than royalty might look and live.

He was captured by enemies of Mintep and put upon a ship that was to carry him into slavery in a far country. He headed a mutiny and became a pirate. He rescued Duare from abductors, but she still spurned his love. Again and again he befriended, protected her, and saved her life; but always she remained the sacrosanct daughter of a king.

He was captured by the Thorists, but he escaped the Room of the Seven Doors in the seaport of Kapdor. He fought with tharbans and hairy savages. He sought Duare in Kormor, the city of the dead, where reanimated corpses lived their sad, gruesome lives.

He won renown in Havatoo, the perfect city; and here he built the first aeroplane that had ever sailed the Amtorian skies. In it he escaped with Duare after a miscarriage of justice had doomed her to death.

They came then to the country called Korvan, where Mephis, the mad dictator, ruled. Here Duare’s father was a prisoner condemned to death. After the overthrow of Mephis, Duare, believing Carson dead, flew back to her own country, taking her father with her. There she was condemned to death because she had mated with a lesser mortal.

Carson of Venus followed in a small sailing boat, was captured by pirates, but finally reached Kooaad, the tree city which is the capital of Mintep’s kingdom. By a ruse, he succeeded in rescuing Duare; and flew away with her in the only airship on Venus.

What further adventures befell them, Carson of Venus will tell in his own words through Edgar Rice Burroughs who is at Lanikai on the island of Oahu.

The Editor

I

If you will look at any good map of Venus you will see that the land mass called Anlap lies northwest of the island of Vepaja, from which Duare and I had just escaped. On Anlap lies Korva, the friendly country toward which I pointed the nose of our plane.

Of course there is no good map of Venus, at least none that I ever have seen; because the scientists of the southern hemisphere of the planet, the hemisphere to which Chance carried my rocket ship, have an erroneous conception of the shape of their world. They believe that Amtor, as they call it, is shaped like a saucer and floats upon a sea of molten rock. This seems quite evident to them, for how else might the spewing of lava from the craters of volcanoes be explained?

They also believe that Karbol (Cold Country) lies at the periphery of their saucer; whereas it is, as a matter of fact, the Antarctic region surrounding the south pole of Venus. You may readily perceive how this distorts their conception of actual conditions and is reflected in maps, which are, to say the least, weird. Where actually the parallels of longitude converge toward the pole, their conception would be that they converged toward the Equator, or the center of their saucer, and that they were farthest apart at the periphery of the saucer.

It is all very confusing to one who wishes to go places on the surface of Amtor and must depend upon an Amtorian map, and it seems quite silly; but then one must bear in mind the fact that these people have never seen the heavens; because of the cloud envelopes which enshroud the planet. They have never seen the Sun, nor the planets, nor all the other countless suns which star the skies by night. How then might they know anything of astronomy or even guess that they lived upon a globe rather than in a saucer? If you think that they are stupid, just bear in mind that man inhabited the Earth for countless ages before it occurred to anyone that the Earth was a globe; and that within recent historic times men were subjected to the inquisition, broken on the rack, drawn and quartered, burned at the stake for holding to any such iniquitous theory. Even today there is a religious sect in Illinois which maintains that the Earth is flat. And all this in the face of the fact that we have been able to see and study the Heavens every clear night since our earliest ancestor hung by his tail in some primordial forest. What sort of astronomical theories do you suppose we would hold if we had never seen the Moon, the Sun, nor any of the planets and myriad stars and could not know that they existed?

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