Saturday, April 12, 2008

James Van Pelt's "Of Late I Dreamt of Venus" (novelette, science fiction): Terrafarming Venus!

Full text of this story is available for download.

Story summary.

This is the story of a very rich woman Elizabeth Audrey, & her lover Henry Harrison. She has decided to terrafarm Venus & make it a world that is better than earth.

Since the project is likely to take a 1000 years or more, she has arranged herself & her lover to be put to hibernation for several hundred years at a time - so they can periodically emerge & examine the progress!

A small parallel thread tells us she's not happy with the physical appearance of her lover. So every time they hibernate, she arranges to have some physical aspect of him changed while he's hibernating - without his consent. After a while, he's very angry.

Anyway, the story comprises of 3 or 4 awakenings over the entire terrafarming period. During the final sleep, something went wrong. She barely made it - & woke up as an old woman. Her lover has generally been coming out of hibernation many years before her - so now he's old too.

What she finds after final awakening is that Venus is habitable but nowhere near as good as she wanted. Her lover is very angry because of her tinkering with his body. All her huge properties & corporations are long gone. While Venus is now very alive, she no longer is a heroine; she's now merely a historical curiosity.

Collected in.

  1. Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection" (2008).

Fact sheet.

First published: Eric T Reynolds (Ed)'s "Visual Journeys" (anthology), 2007.
Rating: B