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Venus on the Half-Shell by Kilgore Trout

Venus on the Half-Shell (original 1974; edition 1976)

by Kilgore Trout, Philip Jose Farmer

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8721115,283 (3.66)22
Title:Venus on the Half-Shell
Authors:Kilgore Trout
Other authors:Philip Jose Farmer
Info:Dell Publishing (1976), Mass Market Paperback, 204 pages
Collections:Your library

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Venus on the Half-Shell by Philip José Farmer (1974)



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» See also 22 mentions

English (9)  Italian (2)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Farmer wrote this book under the pseudonym of Kilgore Trout. It's basically a spoof of the early SF novels which always showed a half-naked maiden on the cover. It's a hoot. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 18, 2017 |
A fun read similar to the Meaning of Life the Universe and Everything. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
E' un romanzo di fantascienza abbastanza particolare sia per i temi trattati (anni '70) sia per il gioco di riferimenti che Farmer voleva creare (il libro era inizialmente stato presentato come scritto da Kilgore Trout).
I riferimenti tra autori veri - autori finti e storie da loro scritti ha evidentemente divertito Farmer, però è molto difficile da cogliere se non si è dotati di una Introduzione chiara al romanzo.
Il viaggio fantascientifico è il mezzo che consente di parlare di sesso e religione da cui si evidenzia che in fondo tutti i popoli hanno le loro personali fissazioni.
La ricerca di Simon alle sue risposte non mi ha lasciato molto, anche perchè so già che è 42.
Complessivamente il romanzo è carino, anche se in alcuni punti l'ho trovato un po' pesante ( )
  Saretta.L | Mar 31, 2013 |
Not such a great read but it's a book that changed my life. Unfortunately the answer is on the very last page. Don't peek! ( )
  EctopicBrain | Jul 31, 2012 |
This interstellar picaresque novel by Philip José Farmer was written under a pseudonym taken from a fictional author described by Kurt Vonnegut. To pile Pelion upon Ossa, "Trout" has his main character refer often to the life and works of an imaginary 20th-century American science fiction writer named Jonathan Swift Somers III.

Many 21st-century readers will compare this book to Douglas Adams' later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Both begin with the destruction of terrestrial humanity, aside from the protagonist who then becomes a wanderer in outer space. The book is full of allusions to The Wizard of Oz, but I think that The Phantom Tollbooth is also a likely influence. The prose style reminds me of no one so much as R. A. Lafferty, for the sake of qualities I find difficult to describe. The humor in "Trout's" book is a little more broad that what I usually find in Lafferty, the atmosphere decidedly less mystical.

The book recounts the adventures of the banjo-playing Simon Wagstaff, a character who was promptly animated in my mind by the ghost of Duane Adam Rostoker. Following the calamity that visits the Earth during Simon's visit to the Sphinx at Giza, he quickly acquires animal companions after the manner of Nietzsche's Zarathustra, but Simon's are a dog and an owl, perhaps figuring his "lower" and "higher" awarenesses.

The proper names in the story are a raft of anagrams, from the randy cat planet Shaltoon that is a hot Salon, to the planet Longalor of nomadic wheel-creatures who roll aLong. The beautiful android Chwortkap is a patChwork of the optimized DNA of hundreds of donors. These and many others put me in mind of James Branch Cabell, whose Jurgen may also have been a model for Farmer here.

Although replete with frank sexual content, Venus on the Half-Shell is not really erotic at all. It merely refuses to repress the importance of sex in the dilemma of life. It contains a variety of episodes with different intelligent species that demonstrate the illusions and falsehoods that enslave societies and individuals ("yet therein is the mystery of redemption" --Liber B). The whole thing reads quite quickly and can be written off as a farce, serve as a puzzle, or even inspire serious reflection.
7 vote paradoxosalpha | Sep 8, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Farmer, Philip Joséprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trout, KilgorePseudonymmain authorall editionsconfirmed
EnricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gadino, VictorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García, Jesús GómezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to the beasts and the stars. They don't worry about free will and immortality.
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Res, o vandringsman.
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Simon Wagstaff narrowly escapes the Deluge that destroys Earth when he happens upon an abandoned spaceship. A man without a planet, he gains immortality from an elixir drunk during an interlude with a cat-like alien queen. Now Simon must chart a 3,000-year course to the most distant corners of the multiverse, to seek out the answers to the questions no one can seem to answer.… (more)

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