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Venus In March

Venus is lovely in the spring.

The Old Venus, that is.  You know, the steamy, swampy Venus of the SF pulps, with its web-footed Venusians (Venerians), teeming jungles, dinosaurs, and those infamous dens of inquity in Venusburg.   The Venus of Leigh Brackett, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, C.L. Moore, and Isaac Asimov.

Those who miss the place (like me) will be able to return there next spring.  OLD VENUS, an original anthology of retro-SF stories set upon the lost Venus of old, will be released by Bantam Spectra in hardcover on March 3, 2015.  We just got our first look at the cover:


Old Venus final jkt

The final lineup:

INTRODUCTION, by Gardner Dozois
FROGHEADS, by Allen M. Steele
THE DROWNED CELESTRIAL, by Lavie Tidhar
PLANET OF FEAR, by Paul McAuley
GREEVES AND THE EVENING STAR, by Matthew Hughes
A PLANET CALLED DESIRE, by Gwyneth Jones
LIVING HELL, by Joe Haldeman
BONES OF AIR, BONES OF STONE, by Stephen Leigh
RUINS, by Eleanor Arnason
THE TUMBLEDOWNS OF CLEOPATRA ABYSS, by David Brin
BY FROGSLED AND LIZARDBACK TO OUTCAST VENUSIAN LEPERS, by Garth Nix
THE SUNSET OF TIME, by Michael Cassutt
PALE BLUE MEMORIES, by Tobias S. Buckell
THE HEART'S FILTHY LESSON, by Elizabeth Bear
THE WIZARD OF THE TREES, by Joe R. Lansdale
THE GODSTONE OF VENUS, by Mike Resnick
BOTANICA VENERIS: THIRTEEN PAPERCUTS BY IDA COUNTESS RATHANGAN, by Ian McDonald

If you enjoyed OLD MARS (our Locus Award nominee from last year), you'll like this one even better,  I think... and there's one story in there that's so bloody good that if it doesn't win the Hugo and Nebula both, I'll count it as a major injustice.  Which one?  Ah, I will leave you guys to figure that out.  But first you'll need to read the book.

March 3.  Mark the day on the calendars.

I'll meet you on Venus.

Comments

Gehrig JonLou
Jun. 5th, 2014 05:52 am (UTC)
Thoughts on Venus
I never knew the "Old Venus" trope... I had always known Venus as the hell we know it to be today... deadly in heat, pressure, acidity... the hell that they now call in Star Trek a "Demon Class" planet. Truth be told I can't imagine how anyone could call that boring. Especially now that we theorize that before it's runaway Greenhouse effect turned it into a hell it may have had abundant water and maybe even early (single celled) life... it is after all in the goldilocks zone, along with both Earth and Mars. Personally, I think a modern Venus time travel story could be amazing... heck one could even run with the "there may have been life" thing and take that somewhere further. A story featuring jumping between a verdant past and its current nightmarish form, perhaps trying to avert the planetwide disaster that made it what it is today. Maybe a story about alien colonists settling in or experimenting with the world, lovecrafting cosmic horror style... or hell just go old trope and make the Venus of hundreds of millions of years ago "Old Venus" swampy and balmy, it could work.

Another thought, and something modern scientists consider is that perhaps there may be remnants of Venus' earlier life still living high in the clouds above the heat, pressure, and acid. While they figure it unicellular one could conceive of terrifying flying or floating beasts, perhaps malevolently intelligent, even creepier if they still had some sort of inherited memory of their home's original form. Perhaps as part of the above time travel story. Or even a similar story told in flashback from a mind meld or mind scan of a captured creature by future scientists in a lab floating above the clouds.

That said, future tales about a terraformed Venus are great as well, and plausible. After all it IS in the Gzone and it does have Earth gravity. Indeed, my primary experience of Venus in scifi is Ray Bradbury's short story about a rainy terraformed Venus and children marveling over the sight of the rarely seen sun. I suppose I like to keep my scifi as "hard" as possible... but perhaps it would be nice to see how people thought of it before we knew... it just seems like the possibilities based on the reality could be wilder and more fascinating than what we used to imagine.

Edited at 2014-06-05 05:56 am (UTC)

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