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Old Venus
Edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Bantam, $30.00, 582pp
Published: March 2015

The face of science fiction has changed dramatically since the halcyon days of the 1950s.  Science has, for the most part, outstripped the imaginations of those who wrote for us 60 years ago.  Today’s science fiction is expected to make sense, to follow physics logically.  We can’t just send a spaceship up to, say, Venus and walk around talking to the natives in English.  The readers today expect the author to adhere to current knowledge and extrapolate technology logically.  But where’s the romance in that?  What happened to our swashbuckling heroes and the beautiful alien girl?  Without those, Venus is just hot and boring.  From this came Martin’s and Dozois’ desire to see those stories once more – this anthology.  Hang the science, bring on the heroes and beautiful girls!

So, you have a collection of sixteen stories by such noteworthy writers as:  Allen M. Steele, Gwyneth Jones, Joe Haldeman, Stephen Leigh, David Brin, Elizabeth Bear and Mike Resnick, plus others.

This is a wallow for the nostalgic reader; a chance to read new stories written for today’s readers but revisiting the magical planet of Venus as we knew it while we were growing up.  I will own, though, that not all the stories worked for me; apparently I could not leave my disbelief behind and sometimes the “lack” of viable technology was troubling.  But others swept me away.  If you remember Heinlein’s, Burroughs’ and Leigh Bracket’s stories fondly, I think you’ll enjoy yourself. ~~  Catherine Book

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