The Amtor or Venus Series is a science fantasy series consisting of four novels and one novelette written by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Most of the stories were first serialized in Argosy, an American pulp magazine. It is sometimes known as the Carson Napier of Venus Series, after its main character, Carson Napier. Napier attempted a solo voyage to Mars, but, because of mistaken navigational calculations, he finds himself heading toward the planet Venus instead. The novels, part of the Sword and Planet subgenre of science fiction, follow earthman Napier's fantastic adventures after he crash-lands on Venus, called Amtor by its human-like inhabitants. Unlike Barsoom, the desert planet of Mars, these stories are set upon a waterworld like Earth. Most of the events of the series take place on the island of Vepaja, the kingdom of Korva on the island of Anlap, and the city-states of Havatoo and Kormor on the tropical continent north of Vepaja.

As is common in Burroughs' works, the hero is bold and daring, and quickly wins the heart of the Vepajan princess (or janjong) Duare, though class prejudices long inhibit her from expressing her love. Napier meets many varied peoples, including the Vepajans, refugees from an overthrown empire; the Thorists, thinly disguised communists who ran the Vepajans out of what is now the Thoran empire; pirates; the super-scientific eugenicists of Havatoo; the zombies of Kormor; the fascistic Zanis of Korva; and the hideous Cloud People.

In the course of his adventures within the series, Napier becomes a pirate (twice), escapes from the dread Room of the Seven Doors, and is finally made a prince, or tanjong, of Korva after the overthrow of the Zanis. Napier also rescues princesses from incomparable dangers innumerable times.

Amtor/Venus Series
Pirates of Venus
Pirates of Venus, first edition

AuthorEdgar Rice Burroughs
No. of books5

Amtorian geography

1934 map of Amtor drawn by Edgar Rice Burroughs for the end-papers of his Venus books.

Amtor is a verdant world shielded from the heat of the sun by a (nearly) perpetual cloud cover. The portion depicted, largely confined to the southern hemisphere's temperate zone (or Trabol, as it is known to its inhabitants), is primarily oceanic, but includes two continents and a number of large islands.

The main continent is Thora, extending also far into the tropical zone of Strabol and the arctic zone of Karbol -– possibly as far as the south pole. The Great and Small Circles correspond to the Antarctic Circle and Tropic of Capricorn on Earth (although Burroughs does erroneously state in the second book, Lost on Venus, that the Small Circle is the equator, and Strabol in the Northern Hemisphere, forgetting that the tropics are on both sides of the equator). Several smaller land masses projecting into Trabol from Karbol appear to be peninsular extensions of Thora; these include Bombaj, Ator, Rovlap, Vodaro, and Vaxlap. Interspersed among these are the great islands of Ganfal, Malpi, Donuk, Movis, Nor, Anlap, Vepaja, Trambol, and Zanbo. The unnamed second continent is a largely tropical landmass north of Vepaja and west of Thora.

Amtorian vegetation, particularly on Vepaja, tends to be gigantic. Vepaja is notable for the enormous forests Napier first encounters upon his arrival, with trees reaching into the inner cloud envelope. Elsewhere, the geography of Amtor is more varied, and he also travels through a dismal pine forest, grassland plains, glacial valleys, and several mountain ranges. Amtorian animals likewise tend to be larger than their Earthly equivalents, and the large species are much more common than they are on Earth, which makes them much more dangerous than Earth fauna and has helped limit exploration of the planet by its natives.

The other impediment to communication, Amtor's quirky cartography, stems from the inhabitants' bizarre cosmology, which at least in the southern hemisphere where Napier lands holds that the world is a flat disc floating on a burning sea of lava, with a rim of ice and a center of fire. As the "rim" is actually the south pole, and the "center" the equator, Amtorians have an extraordinarily distorted, backward view of their planet's surface, and their maps are warped accordingly. Due to the near-perpetual overcast, they have no celestial markers to correct their geographical mismeasurements, let alone on which to base the concepts of a solar system, other worlds, or the stars. On those rare occasions when the sun does appear through a hole in the clouds, its searing light and heat (twice that on Earth) starts to burn everything; at night, when a hole reveals a few stars, the Amtorians think they are "sparks" from the lava sea supposedly surrounding the planet, and are thus unaware that they are fixed, and have never tried plotting them. All this also means that, unlike Napier, they do not suspect that the northern hemisphere even exists. Napier tries to correct them, but they subscribe to a "theory of relative distance" formulated by one of their scientists, Klufar, and would not accept Napier's correction. The difference between the observed and theoretical versions of geography are reconciled by a pseudo-scientific "Theory of Relativity of Distance", which resolves the problem by multiplying by the square root of minus one. Napier finds it difficult to counter this rationale, noting that "You cannot argue with a man who can multiply by the square root of minus one." Such wry digs are typical of the series. Ironically, Napier finds the simpler Thorans more amenable to his ideas (including believing that he came from another planet) than the more sophisticated Vepajans.

Amtorian culture

Aside from the sophisticated, cultured, and advanced Vepajans that Napier first meets, the human natives of Amtor are generally inhospitable, often trying to murder Napier, kidnap his princess, or both. Their nations are rather loosely connected, partly because the geography is strewn with impassable mountains, impenetrable forests, and unnavigable seas (which Napier nevertheless passes, penetrates, and navigates), and partly because Amtorian maps are inaccurate. In spite of their relative isolation from each other, a worldwide language is current among all peoples. The level of culture runs the spectrum from savagery to advanced technology; some nations possess a longevity serum, atomic ray guns, and nuclear powered ships. (Burroughs speculated on Element 93 being used for nuclear power, specifically, for RTGs; in reality, certain uranium and plutonium isotopes are used.) Radio is unknown (the ships are reduced to communicating by flags), and there are no native aircraft. In fact, Napier himself designs and builds the first based on Earth technology, which if anything, is an improvement over Earth aircraft in its use of an Amtorian RTG, which enables it to fly silently, hover, and to run almost indefinitely without refueling.

The Amtorian language is described as having a fairly simple agglutinative grammar, enabling Napier to learn it fairly quickly. The plural prefix is kloo- (kl- if the noun begins with a vowel), and the definite article is voo. Napier uses an Anglicized spelling (such as often writing /u/ as oo [the Amtorian u does actually look like a ligature of two Amtorian o's, as shown on Burroughs' map of Amtor], or referring to the diphthong /ai/ as "long i"), but describes the vowel system as being simple five-vowel one which renders Amtorians unable to correctly pronounce many English vowels. As with the speakers of many Earth languages, including Spanish, Georgian, or Japanese, and based on the Amtorian placenames and personal names in the story, the vowels appear to simply be /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/. Napier does explicitly exclude /ɔ/ and /ɪ/ from the vowel inventory, along with the diphthong /ei/, as he states, "The native Amtorians are unable to pronounce a long A or a short O, and the I is always long". Note that /i/, where it exists, is spelled with an Amtorian e, as in Duare, and possibly with y as well; /ai/, as Napier suggests and as the Amtor maps show, has its own single letter. Punctuation marks are similar to ones on Earth in most respects, although Amtorians also have equivalents to the Spanish inverted marks.

Vepaja: This society is the one Napier first encounters upon landing on the planet. They are described as of being of a medium skin tone, with dark hair and eyes (comparable to Middle Easterners on Earth), and good-looking. They take an anti-aging serum which extends their lifespan indefinitely, so they all appear to be in their 20s or 30s. There are few children; as space in the society is limited, the Vepajans issue just enough permits to their women to have children to replace those Vepajans who get killed or kidnapped. Also, about half of the women are infertile, apparently eventually undergoing menopause despite the anti-aging serum, so the Vepajans actually issue two childbearing permits for every lost Vepajan. However, Venusians appear to under normal conditions live and age about as long as Earth humans do; Princess Duare was 18 when she and Napier first met. The Vepajans were once the elite of a nation that controlled the continent of Thora until the Thorist Revolution, when many were killed and the remainder fled to the isolated island with gigantic trees where they could hide. However, they are still subject to raids and abductions by the Thorists, whose society is decaying due to the lack of intelligent, competent people.

Thora: The former land of the Vepajans, it was taken over by the Thorists and named after Thor, the leader of the Thorist Revolution. Burroughs based Thorism on Communism or Marxism, and Thor based his revolution on overthrowing the elites of Vepaja in a class war and replacing them with his own party's members. High Thorist officials, known as ongyans, are now the elite of Thora. However, due to the fact that the Vepajan elite was more capable at running the country than the Thorists, the Thorists now attempt to kidnap Vepajan men to help keep the infrastructure running, and Vepajan women for eugenic purposes. In addition, as the Thorists have lost knowledge of the Vepajan anti-aging serum, they now once again age and die from disease just like humans on Earth; Vepajan doctors, who are rare in Vepaja itself, are in particular demand. Thorist towns are described as dingy and ugly, with coldly utilitarian buildings, and Thorans are described as being considerably uglier than, and not as intelligent as, the Vepajans. Their internal problems notwithstanding, the Thorists have also established colonies in other places, such as the town of Kapdor on the coast of Noobol, and are the closest thing on Amtor to a world power.

Angans: They are winged humanoids whose faces somewhat bear a resemblance to a bird, with long beaky noses. Those that Napier encounters are also dark-skinned, like Africans on Earth. As they are Thorists, they are often enlisted to capture Vepajans due to their ability to fly. They have hollow bones like Earth birds to reduce their weight, although their bat-like wings are barely strong enough for them to carry one regular human. Normally, to aid mobility, raiding parties are structured so that two angans carry one human.

Nobargans: These are described as brutish humans barely separated from apes, ugly and covered with hair, who live in the country of Noobol (at least). They, or at least their chieftains, are able to speak, and use the same language as the other societies on the planet, although their vocabulary is limited. At least some nobargans are cannibals.

Morov: A country to the west of Noobol, it is ruled by Skor, who is originally from further north in Strabol, but who is at enmity with both his former homeland as well as the Thorans. Unfortunately, Skor is an arrogant mad scientist who captures people and turns them into zombies. Morov's main city is Kormor, on a wide river across from the larger city of Havatoo (which Skor is also at enmity with). All of Skor's own subjects are zombies, although a tribe of hostile pygmies also lives in one area, and a few of Kormor's original living inhabitants also remain in the city, although they are now all elderly. The zombies are capable of speech, and occasionally infiltrate Havatoo by disguising themselves, and if caught, are executed by decapitation and cremation, as they are very difficult to "kill", being already technically dead.

Havatoo: A larger city directly across from Kormor, it is a society that practices eugenics, and is ruled by a five-man council consisting of a biologist, psychologist, chemist, physicist, and soldier, and the classes of Havatoo are built around each of these professions, with the city sectioned accordingly. Like the Vepajans, the Havatooans are good-looking, intelligent, and cultured, and take youth serum, but limit their own lifespans to three hundred years to enable the eugenics to proceed. Napier, who actually failed his own eugenics test but was spared due to his coming from Earth and the useful knowledge he had constructed Venus' first aircraft in Havatoo. Also, to support himself while there, he taught successful, in-demand astronomy classes.

(Note that Burroughs never uses either the term "zombie" or "eugenics" in the books.)

Samary: A tribe that lives down-river from Havatoo in a set of caves. Somewhat like the mythical Amazons, their sex roles are flipped, with the women being larger, stronger, and more aggressive than the men, who have feminine-sounding names. Napier has to rescue Duare from one of their cave villages, Houtomai.

Korva: A kingdom in the land of Anlap, across the sea to the northwest from Vepaja. Its capital is Amlot. The people there are normally sociable, but Carson and Duare arrive there in the midst of a civil war, while a group of revolutionaries known as the Zanis, which had previously seized the capital, are besieging and attacking the city of Sanara. The fascistic Zanis, whose troops are noted for their mohawk haircuts (and whose name is a transparent alteration of Nazi), have a hatred for anyone with ancestry from Ator, another land across the ocean to the southwest of Anlap, because of their large ears.

The novels

In 2011, the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate commissioned a sixth Amtor novel, Skies of Venus, from writer Neal Romanek.

Comic books

When DC Comics had the rights to various Burroughs properties, they did an adaptation of Pirates of Venus (in Korak, Son of Tarzan #46-53, partially reprinted in Tarzan Family #60-65) and started an adaptation of Lost on Venus (in Korak #54-56 and Tarzan #230), with art by Michael Kaluta.

Later, Dark Horse Comics obtained the rights of the Burroughs properties, and published a 4-issue mini-series with Tarzan meeting Carson on Venus, which was later collected in a trade paperback.

Feature film

In 2004 an option for the entire Venus series were secured by Angelic Entertainment, Inc. a film production company based in San Diego, California. They have since lost the option rights to this property. The entire Venus Series property is under option by Jupiter 9 Productions, which is developing the books as a series of features.[1]

External links


  1. ^ James Sullos, the president of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
Amateur radio

Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, describes the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication. The term "amateur" is used to specify "a duly authorised person interested in radioelectric practice with a purely personal aim and without pecuniary interest;" (either direct monetary or other similar reward) and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

The amateur radio service (amateur service and amateur-satellite service) is established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through the Radio Regulations. National governments regulate technical and operational characteristics of transmissions and issue individual stations licenses with an identifying call sign. Prospective amateur operators are tested for their understanding of key concepts in electronics and the host government's radio regulations.

Radio amateurs use a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications modes and have access to frequency allocations throughout the RF spectrum. This enables communication across a city, region, country, continent, the world, or even into space. In many countries, amateur radio operators may also send, receive, or relay radio communications between computers or transceivers connected to secure virtual private networks on the Internet.

Amateur radio is officially represented and coordinated by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which is organized in three regions and has as its members the national amateur radio societies which exist in most countries.

According to an estimate made in 2011 by the American Radio Relay League, two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio. About 830,000 amateur radio stations are located in IARU Region 2 (the Americas) followed by IARU Region 3 (South and East Asia and the Pacific Ocean) with about 750,000 stations. A significantly smaller number, about 400,000, are located in IARU Region 1 (Europe, Middle East, CIS, Africa).

An Atlas of Fantasy

An Atlas of Fantasy, compiled by Jeremiah Benjamin Post, was originally published in 1973 by Mirage Press and revised for a 1979 edition by Ballantine Books. The 1979 edition dropped twelve maps from the first edition and added fourteen new ones. It also included an introduction by Lester del Rey.

To remain of manageable size, the Atlas excludes advertising maps, cartograms, most disproportionate maps, and alternate history ("might have been") maps, focusing instead on imaginary lands derived from literary sources. It purposefully omits "one-to-one" maps such as Thomas Hardy's Wessex (which merely renames places in southwest England), but includes Barsetshire and Yoknapatawpha County, which are evidently considered to be sufficiently fictionalized. The emphasis is on science fiction and fantasy, though Post suggests there exist enough mystery fiction maps to someday create The Detectives' Handy Pocket Atlas. Other maps were omitted due to permission costs or reproduction quality.

The maps are reproduced from many sources, and an Index of Artists is included.

Antenna feed

In telecommunications and electronics, an antenna feed refers to several slightly different parts of an antenna system:

The antenna feed is the wire or cabling (transmission line) that connects between the antenna and the radio, specifically called the feed line.

The antenna feed is the location on the antenna where the feedline from the receiver or transmitter connects or attaches.

The antenna feed is the matching system at the attachment point that converts the feedline impedance to the antenna’s intrinsic impedance, and makes any balanced-to-unbalanced conversion (if necessary).In a transmitting antenna system the term can refer to any one or all of the components involved conveying the RF electrical current into the radiating part of the antenna, where the current is converted to radiation; in a receiving antenna, the term refers to the parts of the system that convert the electric currents already collected from incoming radio waves into a specific voltage to current ratio (impedance) needed at the receiver.

Because of the several meanings, “antenna feed system” is used to specifically refer to all of the parts of the antenna feed between the radio and the radiator.

Bronze Age of Comic Books

The Bronze Age of Comic Books is an informal name for a period in the history of American superhero comic books usually said to run from 1970 to 1985. It follows the Silver Age of Comic Books, and is followed by the Modern Age of Comic Books.

The Bronze Age retained many of the conventions of the Silver Age, with traditional superhero titles remaining the mainstay of the industry. However, a return of darker plot elements and storylines more related to relevant social issues, such as racism, drug use, alcoholism, urban poverty, and environmental pollution, began to flourish during the period, prefiguring the later Modern Age of Comic Books.

Callisto series

The Callisto series is a sequence of eight science fiction novels by Lin Carter, of the sword and planet subgenre, first published by Dell Books from 1972-1978. They were written in homage to the Barsoom and Amtor novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American fiction writer best known for his celebrated and prolific output in the adventure and science-fiction genres. Among the most notable of his creations are the jungle hero Tarzan, the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter and the fictional landmass within Earth known as Pellucidar. Burroughs' California ranch is now the center of the Tarzana neighborhood in Los Angeles.


The Hellschreiber, Feldhellschreiber or Typenbildfeldfernschreiber (also Hell-Schreiber named after its inventor Rudolf Hell) is a facsimile-based teleprinter invented by Rudolf Hell. Compared to contemporary teleprinters that were based on typewriter systems and were mechanically complex and expensive, the Hellschreiber was much simpler and more robust, with only two moving parts. It has the added advantage of being capable of providing intelligible communication even over very poor quality radio or cable links, where voice or other teledata would be unintelligible.

The device was first developed in the late 1920s, and saw use starting in the 1930s, chiefly being used for land-line press services. During WW2 it was sometimes used by the German military in conjunction with the Enigma encryption system. In the post-war era, it became increasingly common among newswire services, and was used in this role well into the 1980s. In modern times Hellschreiber is used as a communication mode by amateur radio operators using computers and sound cards; the resulting mode is referred to as Hellschreiber, Feld-Hell, or simply Hell.

List of amateur radio modes

The following is a list of the modes of radio communication used in the amateur radio hobby.


Navtex (Navigational Telex) is an international automated medium frequency direct-printing service for delivery of navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, as well as urgent maritime safety information (MSI) to ships.

Navtex was developed to provide a low-cost, simple, and automated means of receiving this information aboard ships at sea within approximately 370 km (200 nautical miles) off shore.

There are no user fees associated with receiving navtex broadcasts, as the transmissions are typically transmitted from the National Weather Authority (Italy) or Navy or Coast Guard (as in the US) or national navigation authority (Canada).

Where the messages contain weather forecasts, an abbreviated format very similar to the shipping forecast is used.

Navtex is a component of the International Maritime Organization/International Hydrographic Organization Worldwide Navigation Warning Service (WWNWS). Navtex is also a major element of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). SOLAS Convention mandated certain classes of vessels must carry navtex, beginning August 1, 1993.


PACTOR is a radio modulation mode used by amateur radio operators, marine radio stations, military or government users such as the Department of Homeland Security, and radio stations in isolated areas to send and receive digital information via radio. A robust network of PACTOR stations has been established to relay data between radio stations and the Internet, extending Internet access to sea based and other isolated users, led by volunteers involved with Winlink, under the auspicies of a Florida non-profit, ARSFI. PACTOR utilizes a combination of simple FSK modulation, and the ARQ protocol for robust error detection and data throughput. Generational improvements to PACTOR include PACTOR II, PACTOR III, and PACTOR IV which are capable of higher speed transmission. Pactor modes other than level 1 (P1) are not open source ,are unspecified, and not publicly documented, and therefore cannot be decoded by anyone else over the air, other than the two stations locked in an email or file transfer, and this is believed by many to be an improper use of amateur radio and a violation of numerous US FCC Part 97 rules, as well as the rules of other governments.

Pirates of Venus

Pirates of Venus is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first book in the Venus series (also called the "Carson Napier of Venus series"), the last major series in Burroughs's career (the other major series were Tarzan, Barsoom, and Pellucidar). It was first serialized in six parts in Argosy in 1932 and published in book form two years later by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. The events occur on a fictionalized version of the planet Venus, known as "Amtor" to its inhabitants.

The novel contains elements of political satire aimed at communism. The novel's villains, the Thorists, start a revolution in the nation of Vepaja for their own good only, cheating the uneducated masses and killing or driving away those doctors and other highly educated that form the foundation of the society. Throughout the book the Thorists remain distant and unreal, and those few that the hero Carson Napier meets are often stupid or incompetent. The Kalkars, villains of Burroughs' other novel The Moon Maid, were also modeled on the Russian Communists.)

Planetary romance

Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. Some planetary romances take place against the background of a future culture where travel between worlds by spaceship is commonplace; others, particularly the earliest examples of the genre, do not, and invoke flying carpets, astral projection, or other methods of getting between planets. In either case, it is the planetside adventures which are the focus of the story, not the mode of travel.The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction mentions two caveats as to the usage of the term. First, while the setting may be in an alien world, its nature is of little relevance to the plot, as is the case of James Blish's A Case of Conscience. Second, hard science fiction tales are excluded from this category, where an alien planet, while being a critical component of the plot, is just a background for a primarily scientific endeavor, such as Hal Clement' s Mission of Gravity, possibly with embellishments.

A significant precursor of the genre is Edwin L. Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905).In Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels (1985), editor and critic David Pringle named Bradley and Anne McCaffrey two "leading practitioners nowadays" for the planetary romance type of science fiction.There is a significant overlap of the genre with that of sword and planet.


Radioteletype (RTTY) is a telecommunications system consisting originally of two or more electromechanical teleprinters in different locations connected by radio rather than a wired link. These machines were superseded by personal computers (PCs) running software to emulate teleprinters. Radioteletype evolved from earlier landline teleprinter operations that began in the mid-1800s. The US Navy Department successfully tested printing telegraphy between an airplane and ground radio station in 1922. Later that year, the Radio Corporation of America successfully tested printing telegraphy via their Chatham, Massachusetts, radio station to the R.M.S. Majestic. Commercial RTTY systems were in active service between San Francisco and Honolulu as early as April 1932 and between San Francisco and New York City by 1934. The US military used radioteletype in the 1930s and expanded this usage during World War II. From the 1980s, teleprinters were replaced by computers running teleprinter emulation software.

The term radioteletype is used to describe both the original radioteletype system, sometimes described as "Baudot", as well as the entire family of systems connecting two or more teleprinters or PCs using software to emulate teleprinters, over radio, regardless of alphabet, link system or modulation.

In some applications, notably military and government, radioteletype is known by the acronym RATT (Radio Automatic Teletype).


SITOR (SImplex Teletype Over Radio) is a system for transmitting text messages. Although it uses the same frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulation used by regular radioteletype (RTTY), SITOR uses error detection, redundancy, and/or retransmission to improve reliability.

There are two SITOR modes:

SITOR-A is used for point to point links. SITOR-A uses automatic repeat request (ARQ) to gain reliability. If the receiver detects an error, it requests a retransmission.

SITOR-B is used for broadcast links. SITOR-B transmits each character in a message twice to gain reliability. If the receiver detects an error in the first character, it uses the copy. If both characters are garbled, the receiver won't know what was sent.

SITOR-B by definition uses forward error correction (FEC), versus ARQ for SITOR-A.SITOR sends 7-bit characters as a bit stream at 100 baud (which, in this case, is 100 bits per second, 10 milliseconds per bit, or 70 milliseconds per character).

The bitstream is FSK modulated with a 170 Hz frequency shift. The high frequency is a mark, and the low frequency is a space.

Sword and planet

Sword and planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring humans as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand-to-hand combat primarily with simple melée weapons such as swords, even in a setting that often has advanced technology. Although there are works that herald the genre, such as Percy Greg's Across the Zodiac (1880) and Edwin Lester Arnold's Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905; published in the US in 1964 as Gulliver of Mars), the prototype for the genre is A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs originally serialized by All-Story in 1912 as "Under the Moons of Mars".The genre predates the mainstream popularity of science fiction proper, and does not necessarily feature any scientific rigor, being instead romantic tales of high adventure. For example, little thought is given to explaining why the environment of the alien planet is compatible with life from Earth, just that it does in order to allow the hero to move about and interact with the natives. Native technology will often break the known laws of physics.

The genre tag "sword and planet" is constructed to mimic the terms sword and sorcery and sword and sandal. The phrase appears to have first been coined in the 1960s by Donald A. Wollheim, editor of Ace Books, and later of DAW Books at a time when the genre was undergoing a revival. Both Ace Books and DAW Books were instrumental in bringing much of the earlier pulp sword and planet stories back into print, as well as publishing a great deal of new, imitative work by a new generation of authors.

There is a fair amount of overlap between sword and planet and planetary romance although some works are considered to belong to one and not the other. Influenced by the likes of A Princess of Mars yet more modern and technologically savvy, sword and planet more directly imitates the conventions established by Burroughs in the Mars series. That is to say that the hero is alone as the only human being from Earth, swords are the weapon of choice, and while the alien planet has some advanced technology, it is used only in limited applications to advance the plot or increase the grandeur of the setting. In general the alien planet will seem to be more medieval and primitive than Earth. This leads to anachronistic situations such as flying ships held aloft by anti-gravity technology, while ground travel is done by riding domesticated native animals.

Venus in fiction

Fictional representations of the planet Venus have existed since the 19th century. Its impenetrable cloud cover gave science fiction writers free rein to speculate on conditions at its surface; all the more so when early observations showed that not only was it very similar in size to Earth, it possessed a substantial atmosphere. Closer to the Sun than Earth, the planet was frequently depicted as warmer, but still habitable by humans. The genre reached its peak between the 1930s and 1950s, at a time when science had revealed some aspects of Venus, but not yet the harsh reality of its surface conditions.


In science fiction and ufology, a Venusian () or Venerian is a native inhabitant of the planet Venus. Many science fiction writers have imagined what extraterrestrial life on Venus might be like.

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