Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ark of Venus

Paul Magrs blogged about keeping a list of all the books he's read and, more specifically, books he's forgotten. I, too, have been keeping a record of all the books I've read. Mine started in 1987. I also tried to think through and list books I'd read before that, going back as far as I could. Lots of books inevitably slip through the cracks of time, but a lot of them came back to me. I haven't yet gone through the list of Alfred HItchcock and the Three Investigators books I read, but I know I devoured tons of them.

One of the books that "got away"was called Ark of Venus by Clyde B. Clason. In, oh, third or fourth grade, I moved to a new school where we participated in something called the SRA reading program. One of the books was Ark of Venus. I remember reading it and the descriptions of the jungles of Venus and the wacky space monkey they found. But I never finished reading it. I think we moved again before I got to the end, or the semester ended, I don't know the reason, but I didn't get to find out what happened to the intrepid space family and their space monkey in the jungles of Venus.

Flash forward to post-college and I mention this book to my friend Clif who, it turns out, remembered reading the same book when he was a kid. I was in Houston by then and I decided to see if I could find it at the library. They actually had a copy in the stacks, dug it out and let me borrow it. I read it. And now it's on my list of books read.

Sadly, it's now been another 15 years since I read it in Houston and I still couldn't tell you how it ended.

Amazing how, thanks to the miracle of the internet, I can find an image of the cover of this obscure book.


Anonymous said...

Ark of Venus rules! The space chimps are worth the price of admission alone. Now if there was some kind of giant squid, it would be perfect!

Anonymous said...

No squid, but a giant snake that lived in a cave at the bottom of a huge canyon in the surface. The chimps would regularly offer one of the peers up to the snake as a sacrifice...until one of the Earth visitors lobbed a grenade into its mouth.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this book when I was a kid! The incessant rain, the semi-sapient primates, the fungi, and the story of a colony struggling to survive in a totally alien environment helped coalesce my developing mind.

THANK you for mentioning this tremendously important book. Right up there with Louis Slobodkin's "Spaceship Under the Apple Tree" series, Ray Bradbury's short story collections, and D'Aulaires' "Norse Gods and Giants".