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Old Venus by George R. R. Martin

Old Venus

by George R.R. Martin (Editor), Gardner Dozois (Editor)

Other authors: Eleanor Arnason (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor), David Brin (Contributor), Tobias S. Buckell (Contributor), Michael Cassutt (Contributor)12 more, Gardner Dozois (Introduction), Joe Haldeman (Contributor), Matthew Hughes (Contributor), Gwyneth Jones (Contributor), Joe Lansdale (Contributor), Stephen Leigh (Contributor), Paul McAuley (Contributor), Ian McDonald (Contributor), Garth Nix (Contributor), Mike Resnick (Contributor), Allen M. Steele (Contributor), Lavie Tidhar (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Introduction: Return to Venusport by Gardner Dozois

*** "Frogheads" by Allen M. Steele
Reminded me quite a lot of Phyllis Gotlieb's 'Lyhhrt' trilogy, with its amphibious aliens as enslaved workers, and the human investigator that gets involved - but this is a much simpler and more conventional story.

*** "The Drowned Celestial" by Lavie Tidhar
Tidhar took the theme of this anthology seriously. This is an homage to the old pulp adventure stories, and a faithful re-creation of one. It might even pass as one, if not for the many, many call-outs to authors and tales from those days. (I 'got' a lot of them; but I'm sure that there were more that I missed, as well.)
An adventurer and gambling man gets involved in a shootout on Venus - and before he knows it, finds himself shanghaied into a treasure hunt at the site of a ruined temple of an ancient god...

*** "Planet of Fear" by Paul McAuley
A Russian scientist assigned to a Naval, military team isn't getting much respect, regardless of her expertise in exobiology. The captain in charge is convinced that everything that goes wrong - and then some - must be the fault of those dastardly Americans who are competing with them for resources and territory on Venus. But when a distress call comes in, screaming something about being 'attacked by monsters' - she might be the only one who can figure out what's actually happening.

** "Greeves and the Evening Star" by Matthew Hughes
This is a case of humor not hitting its mark, with me. If you are tickled up front by the idea of a butler named Greeves and a character named Slithey Tove-Whippley then you may get more of a kick out of this than I. On Venus, a herpetologist who's studied all there is to study regarding newts develops a consuming obsession with a newt-like species - particularly one specific female of the species. Is the happy matrimony he envisions in his future?

**** "A Planet Called Desire" by Gwyneth Jones
This one does a great job updating some of the old tropes with new life. A rough-and-tumble billionaire adventurer, sick to death of how Earth is being destroyed environmentally and tamed socially, volunteers for an experimental time-travel/teleportation experiment to visit Venus' past. Once there, he nearly dies, but is rescued and nursed back to health by an alien but oddly alluring woman... Of course, our protagonist makes any number of assumptions about the situation - which we, as readers, might also make. But there's more to come in this story...
My one complaint is that the ending (although I loved what happened) felt a bit too abrupt.

*** "Living Hell" by Joe Haldeman
Good, old-fashioned action story. After a solar flare on Venus, a solo pilot must go on a daring mission to rescue a team from the wreckage of a downed space elevator. Technological malfunctions and inimical fauna must be battled to complete the job - which will culminate in the discovery of something weirder than anyone guessed.

***** "Bones of Air, Bones of Stone" by Stephen Leigh
A man returns to Venus to find his ex-lover, whom he's heard is planning another attempt at the expedition they previously assayed together. She's one of those people who's always been driven to conquer unconquered peaks - and in this, case, the unplumbed depths. A rift under the seas of Venus has deep ritual significance to the native Venusians, and it's usually off limits to humans. A special permit has been granted for this expedition. But last time, our protagonist nearly didn't return. Are the stories told of this mystery mere superstition - or something more?
Loved this one - I thought the characters, the relationship, and the situation were all beautifully done.

**** "Ruins" by Eleanor Arnason
Since all of Earth's megafauna are extinct, National Geographic now has to go farther afield for their stories. A Venusian colony founded by Russia is ailing, and when NatGeo arrives wanting to hire locals, they don't have any trouble getting them to agree. It only makes sense that local commercial photographer Ash would recommend her friend Arkady, who runs tourist safaris. But Arkady seems to have his own agenda, as he leads the team into an area marked as off-limits by the American CIA. There are some humorous jabs here at a variety of targets, but first and foremost this is just a good story.

"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
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Old Venus [anthology ed. with George R.R. Martin] (2015) **½ ( )
  HanJie | Jan 18, 2016 |
Add half a point if you feel really good SF died out at the end of the 1950's. In this collection, a thematic sequel to Old Mars, a number of authors were asked to write a planetary romance on the Venus that existed in pulp fiction before science discovered what it was really like. Constant rain, jungles, dinosauroids, Venusians. The results are for the most part entertaining, but in the same way an average episode of a good television series is entertaining. Pleasant to visit, quick to fade in memory. One recurring pattern that surprised me was that not only did we have a Venus from a prior period, but the villains of that period as well, either the Communists (several stories) or Nazis. The two weakest stories were Gwyneth Jones' "A Planet Called Desire," in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs rather than Planet Stories, but with more sex and less coherence, and Lavie Tidhar's "The Drowned Celestial," whose story was pulpish enough, but so was the lack of clear characters or a consistent viewpoint, even within a sentence. Only one story was at all memorable: Ian McDonald's "Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathanagan, which managed to be both modern and classic at the same time. ( )
5 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Jun 25, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R.R.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dozois, GardnerEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnason, EleanorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brin, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckell, Tobias S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassutt, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dozois, GardnerIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haldeman, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hughes, MatthewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lansdale, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leigh, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McAuley, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonald, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nix, GarthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Resnick, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Steele, Allen M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tidhar, LavieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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