July 26, 2017

As a fan of Planetary Romance I have written about what sets the genre apart from Sword & Sorcery. When I saw a post on my Facebook feed by Gardner Dozois about an anthology of stories that he and George R.R. Martin had co-edited that will be published next March my heart leapt with joy. The cover art evoked the sense of wonder I had when reading C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories for the first time and so did the title of Dozois’ introduction “Return to Venusport.” What’s more, Garth Nix and Mike Resnick’s story titles brought to mind the Carson of Venus stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs arguably created the genre of Planetary Romance and his Venus tales are a deconstruction of the tropes he helped to set in literary stone. Whether the Carson stories are a wonderful or clumsy deconstruction I leave to you to determine after you explore them. I will only say this. In some early Planetary Romance the stories often featured Princesses who stumble into trouble and are rescued by our masculine heroes – and in this sense Super Mario Bros is a kind of Planetary Romance – in the Carson stories it is the clumsy and intellectual hero who keeps stumbling into trouble and needing rescue.

Old Venus Anthology

  1. Introduction: Return to Venusport, Gardner Dozois
  2. Frogheads, Allen M. Steele
  3. The Drowned Celestrial, Lavie Tidhar
  4. Planet of Fear, Paul McAuley
  5. Greeves and the Evening Star, Matthew Hughes
  6. A Planet Called Desire, Gwyneth Jones
  7. Living Hell, Joe Haldeman
  8. Bones of Air, Bones of Stone, Stephen Leigh
  9. Ruins, Eleanor Arnason
  10. The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss, David Brin
  11. By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers, Garth Nix
  12. The Sunset of Time, Michael Cassutt
  13. Pale Blue Memories, Tobias S. Buckell
  14. The Heart’s Filthy Lesson, Elizabeth Bear
  15. The Wizard of the Trees, Joe R. Lansdale
  16. The Godstone of Venus, Mike Resnick
  17. Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan, Ian McDonald
Fantasy , Geek News , Pulp , Science Fiction

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