Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Otis Adelbert Kline: The Port of Peril

Back in the ancient early 1960's I discovered the fantasy adventures written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not long after that the books of Otis Adelbert Kline also began to be reissued in Ace (?) paperbacks. Here are the cover flap notes from the 1949 Grandon Company hardback publication of The Port of Peril.

The Port of Peril is the third and last of Otis Adelbert Kline's famous Venus novels. The first, The Planet of Peril (1929), is the story of how Robert Grandon of Earth became ruler of Reabon, mightiest and most populous empire of Venus. The Prince of Peril (1930) portrays the adventures of Harry Thorne who became Zinlo of Olba.

The Port of Peril continues the fantastic adventures of Robert Grandon as he encounters the Huitsenni, a weird buccaneering race who prey upon all the nations of Venus alike, and who attack only in overwhelming numbers so as to insure victory and to prevent pursuit. When these strange beings abduct Grandon's bride, the latter realizes that he must conduct a campaign for their extermination. And out of this comes a tale of action in which event follows event at unparalleled speed, and always against a background of the almost fantastic creatures and horrible men.

The existence of this unusual tale has long been known to the connoisseur of the fantastic yarn. For The Port of Peril ran as a long magazine serial in 1932 under the title of "The Buccaneers of Venus''. As such, it has been much sought after as a hidden classic of fantastic adventure.

Otis Adelbert Kline was one of the few authors who later gained a measure of popularity to be represented in the first issue of Weird Tale Magazine (1923) . His tale, The Thing of a Thousand Shapes, was an initial attempt at writing fantastic fiction, and he followed this success with a number of short stories.

In 1927, with the publication in Weird Tales of The Bride of Osiris, he ventured to the writing of the novel. Two years later, Kline contributed the full-length fantastic, The Planet of Peril, to Argosy Magazine, and watched it acquire instantaneous popularity. It was immediately published in book form, and six months later, when Maza of the Moon appeared, it readily followed its predecessor into hard covers. The second Venus novel, The Prince of Peril, appeared a year later in both magazine and book form.

In 1931, a long serial novel of a land beneath Asia, Tam, Son of the Tiger, appeared in Weird Tales. A year later, Kline wrote The Buccaneers of Venus for the same magazine. In 1933, he contributed two fantastic adventure novels to Argosy - The Swordsman of Mars and The Outlaw of Mars. Call of the Savage, a novel of a lost, South American race which originally saw print in Argosy, was made into a motion picture and in 1937 was published in book form.

The port of peril
By Otis Adelbert Kline, illustrations by James Allen St. John
Published by Grandon Co., 1949
218 pages

Here are a couple links for you.

Writing the Fantastic Story, by Otis Adelbert Kline, 1930

Project Gutenberg Australia, scroll down for books by Kline here.

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