Friday Fiction: Venusia

Venusia coverVenusia
Von Schlegell

Submitter:Here it is in all of its glory!  Why it’s awful: THE ENTIRE COVER.  Exhibit A-Naked lady with owl head. Exhibit B: breastballoons. Also: I read the back, and my brain turned into a pretzel. Oh, and the subtitle is “A True Story”.  You can’t make this stuff up, it seems.

Holly: Oooh, it’s a series!  The author wrote a doctoral thesis on 19th century American Literature.  This was the obvious next step for him!  It’s weird, but then a lot of sci-fi and fantsy novels are.  (Ok, this one is really weird.)

Mary: I was absolutely fascinated by this truly bizarre cover. (I doubt I will be able to sleep tonight after staring at that cover.)  Poking around the Internet I found some decent reviews for those who like their lit a bit bizarre. ( Click here to read Bookslut’s review of this title.)








  1. Okay, to whom do I send the invoice to replace the B***s**t Meter of mine that exploded violently as I read the back cover? MIT Press, Semiotex(E) Native Agents, or the author’s agent?

  2. “A peculiar fusion of paranormal populism and philosophical enquiry”? Good grief. I guess that statement lies at the heart of this guy’s dissertation. How in the world did that garbage get past a doctoral committee? Where is common sense? Oh, yeah, I forgot. It’s okay to read INTO literature whatever you want to be there; the author didn’t really know he was saying all that stuff, did he?

  3. It is science fiction after all! In fact, Booklist gives a synopsis of the actual story. They say it “…never fails to entertain…”
    It sounds more like traditional scifi here than the back cover. The front? Weird, but then again, authors don’t get to choose their art work. I don’t care for scifi myself (other than the first Hitchhikers Guide), it all sounds weird to me!

    “At the end of the twenty-third century, Earth has self-destructed, and the last remnants of humanity survive in a bizarre totalitarian colony on Venus. Rogers Collectibles–his name–is a Venusian antiquities dealer whose tenuous career is kept afloat by serendipitous discoveries that include a rare book detailing Venus’ settlement. The tome inexplicably goes missing while Collectibles is preoccupied hallucinating lizardlike authorities. Cajoled by roving virtual media starlet Martha Dobbs into visiting a prominent neuroscop (mind inspector), Collectibles confesses that he hallucinates because he isn’t taking his government-sanctioned dose of psychoactive flowers. Unfortunately, the resulting documentary video of Collectibles’ session with the neuroscop catches the eyes of diminutive government agent Nifty Norrington, who is charged with blotting the minds of any flower abstainers, and Collectibles’ life begins to unravel further. A sentient, interdimensional plant is also in the whimsical cast of this absurdist blending of fantasy and cutting-edge sf that never fails to entertain and proclaims von Schlegell to be a promising new voice in the genre(s). Carl Hays
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

  4. That back cover is the most pretentious thing I have read in years. Ooh, the author decided to ‘unify his own writing’, I’m sooo impressed! I really doubt the author he’s a polymath, very few people are. Who the hell is Norman N Klein, and why should I care about his opinion of the author? And the cover art seems to have NOTHING to do with the plot.

  5. I was up until 4 am this morning so at first I thought the cover art was a normal little owl. What’s so freaky about that? Then I took a good look. Wow! there are just no words for that ugliness.

  6. In Ancient Greek goddess terms, the cover is all wrong. OK, Venus might be represented by a beautiful naked female form, but the Owl is Athene’s representative. Athene is NOT naked: she is the virgin goddess of Wisdom and of War (two things that are nowadays completely separate). So the Magitty cover is a mess – and the balloon breasts are ridiculous. Athene is very, very angry – and you do not want to get on the wrong side of HER…

  7. Other owl goddess combinations would include Hecate and Lilith, either one would make more sense.

  8. I can’t speak for this particular title, but my experience with the Semiotext(e) Native Agents series has been unfailingly positive. They publish smart, thoughtful, philosophical books.

    I suppose I now know, in part, why when I look for titles from small presses at my local library I’m so often disappointed.

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