I am looking for a not particularly outstanding old horror science fiction story about a monster or monsters attacking the first expedition to Venus. My main memory is one particular detail.

I bought & read a few old science fiction magazines from the 1950s and 60s that were not genre leaders like Analog, Galaxy, Fantasy and Science Fiction, etc. but were more second level with lesser quality stories.

One of those was the June 1959 issue of Super-Science Stories, since I remember 2 stories from that issue, "Beasts of Nightmare Horror" and "The Day the Monsters Got loose", both by Robert Silverberg.


Another was the November 1958 issue of Infinity which I remember because of the stories "Spacerogue", "Ozymandius", and "There Was an Old Woman", by Robert Silverberg.

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?187645 2

And there were several other issues in that batch and I don't remember which issues or which of the many science fiction magazines of that era they were.

Anyway, it was a horror story about the first manned expedition to Venus. Since Venus was habitable it should have been published before the results of the Mariner probe in 1962 but if the writer and editor were careless it could have been published later.

I think I remember a scene where a crewman was being transformed into a monster and begging to be killed.

But the one scene that I remember clearly from the story is that the first victim was patrolling around the grounded spaceship at night when attacked - no watching security camera footage from inside the ship on that expedition. And he was described as an experienced soldier, a veteran of World War Four.

World War Four!

I couldn't help thinking that despite the terrible things that happened to the victims in the story, the most horrifying aspect was that casual mention of World War Four. I couldn't help wondering how many millions, or possibly billions, were killed in World War Three and World War Four.

And I couldn't help thinking that despite the weird biology of the monster and Venus being habitable, the most implausible aspect of the story was civilization recovering from World War Four fast enough for the first expedition to Venus to include a veteran of World War Four.

So can anyone identify that story?

1 Answer 1


Pretty sure this is Clyde B. Clason's Ark of Venus:


It's about the first successful expedition to Venus, and there are a number of horrific deaths early on, and the setting is post World War IV, with geography lessons made much simpler thereby.

  • To protect against the link going dead or being changed, we usually prefer that you include some actual text showing why you think this is the story the OP is seeking.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:06
  • 1
    "It concerns a neglected son of a famous engineer. The father is constructing a spaceship for a final try at Venus, ten other expeditions having failed disastrously. The boy is invited to visit with his dad at the site in the Arctic after several years of separation. Earth has been completely exploited and new frontiers must be opened."
    – DavidW
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:50
  • 1
    "Naturally, due to the previous failures, there is a great deal of feeling against the expedition, particularly when it involves three hundred people, one-third of the population of the Arctic town that has volunteered to attempt the trip. Fanatics make an abortive attempt to destroy the ship, wounding the father. The boy, Tal Roberts, to whom such an adventure previously was abhorrent, is thus able to go along in place of another boy injured in the fracas."
    – DavidW
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:50
  • 1
    "Tal Roberts, eighteen, goes to Alaska to help his father launch an eleventh Venus rocket in the wake of the ten which have vanished without a trace. The anti-rocket forces are strong, and in the ensuing violence Tal becomes one of the Ark of Venus crew and a co-pilot of one of its little scout ships. They solve the mystery of the "wall" around Venus, struggle against the oxygenless desert, paradoxically find life and intelligence in a race of talking, snake-worshiping monkeys."
    – DavidW
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:50
  • 2
    Add in the fact that the OP is looking for a short story and this is a novel that appears not to have ever been serialized, and I don't think this is a match.
    – DavidW
    Jun 14, 2019 at 19:51

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