27 April 2012

"V" is for...

VENUS



   Really, what else could it be? I mean, since I have already mentioned Her Majesty, Queen Victoria (God Bless Her!)? Following Mars and the Earth, Venus is undoubtedly the third favorite planet for Victorian Science Fiction games and stories. There is something about the mystery of what is on the surface of the Veiled Planet, the Planet of Mystery, the Jungle Planet: VENUS!

   Modern science tells us that nothing we recognize as life could survive on the surface of Venus, such is the density and composition of the atmosphere. Bah! Frank Chadwick and Edgar Rice Burroughs may not have the science on their side, but they do have the advantage of being mroe interesting. No, my friends, the surface of Venus is covered with oceans, marshes and jungles. A few highland areas thrust upward from the trees and wetlands, more comfortable for humans to live than the incredibly hot and humid lowlands.

   The fertile soil of the Venusian jungles has given rise to many strange creatures. Dinosaurs roam the rainforest. Lizardmen, anthropomorphic reptiles and amphibians live in small villages throughout the lands. In the trees, a race of parrotfolk make their nest villages. Animated plants move through the underbrush. German zeppelins cruise the skies over Venusstaadt, and British, Italian, Japanese, and Texican colonies dot the highlands. The riotous biology of the planet has even brought respected scientists like Doctor Vardu to Venus to study the life forms.

One of the Varieties of Parrotmen
[GW Kroot, converted, from Lead Adventure Forum]
   The Parrotfolk of Venus and the Lizardfolk do not get along well. Some tribes of Parrotmen are allied with European powers. This provides the Europeans with scouts, and gives the birdmen firearms. These weapons help the parrotfolk defend their nest villages high in the trees from the ravages of the far more numerous lizardfolk and dinosaurs.

Venusian Manticore Rose, a deadly plant
[QRF, personal collection]
    Much of the flora of Venus is as deadly and dangerous as the fauna. The manticore rose, shown above, actually fires barbed and envenomed thorns from the bulbous head at the top of its stalk. Any creature coming within a few yards is the target of a deadly barrage.

One of many Lizardmen found on Venus
[Khurasan Miniatures, 15mm]
   As previously described in the "A to Z", there are numerous sorts of lizardmen. You can find more out about them here.

Plantmen, Vardu's Sprouts
[25mm Vardu, Hydra Miniatures]
   The final denizens of the Cytherean jungles are the plantmen. No one knows much about these strange creatures. They are the object of much study by the eminent xenobiologist Doctor Vardu. Unknown to pretty much anyone else, Vardu is actually creating plantmen and animal-human hybrids as part of his studies. He has gone quite mad, you see.

   Venus: the Veiled Planet. Planet of Mystery. Also the subject of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs (though less popular than the Barsoomian series). A great place for adventure, exploration and danger! Plus, lots of neat terrain to put out on the table.

5 comments:

Elderac said...

Given what I have read of your VSF, I figured you would go with Venus over Jules Verne. Really, though, when going through V's, Venus came to mind before Verne, but he deserves mention in the secondary list.

J Womack, Esq. said...

Verne and Vardu were both 'runners up' and will appear in the Also Ran. Or should it be Place and Show, as in win, place, show...

Elderac said...

Place and show would work, except in those cases where there are more than two alternates.

The manticore rose reminds me of a plant in an episode of Classic Star Trek (Episode 38 - The Apple) in which a plant fires spores and drops Spock for a short bit. (No, although I am a fan of ST, I do not have the episode numbers and names memorized, IMDB is my friend).

Ralph E. Vaughan said...

The boffins pessimistic about our Sister Planet are a bunch of johnnies-come-lately, armed with little more than some American radar maps and the results of some poorly made Russian probes, one of which managed to smack its own camera wonky. Little more than circumstantial evidence, I say, and not very good at that...makes the moon landing look almost real, doesn't it? Burroughs, Chadwick, Joseph Green (Dig Allen), and let's not forget Isaac Asimov (Lucky Star & the Oceans of Venus)...those fellows got it right.

J Womack, Esq. said...

Hear hear!

One certainly can't trust the minions of the Tsar when it comes to technical know-how! Next, someone will say that the Froggies know better! Absurd! except that Verne fellow - he's rather clever. Must have British blood in his past - form the Hundred Years War, no doubt.

At any rate, I say that if British science hasn't proven it, then it isn't proven, what? Hurrah for the Royal Society!