Primitive literacy is redundant. Mere words are expelled. We inaugurate a world of pure presence. The mind, that intrudes itself between ourselves and those memories too terrible to know, must keep us moving beyond the grasp of their claw. To control the flow, it will be necessary that political order be imposed always temporarily. The state shall enjoy direct, creative access to the real.It's the end of the twenty-third century. Earth has violently self-destructed. Venusia, an experimental off-world colony, survives under the enlightened totalitarianism of the Princeps Crittendon regime. Using industrialized narcotics, holographic entertainment, and memory control, Crittendon has turned Venusia into a self-sustaining system of relative historical inertia. But when mild-mannered junk dealer Rogers Collectibles finds a book about early Venusian history, the colony -- once fully immersed in the present -- begins losing its grip on the real.
With his Reality-V girlfriend Martha Dobbs, neuroscop operator Sylvia Yang, his midget friend Niftus Norrington, and a sentient plant, Rogers wages a war to alter the shape of spacetime, and in the process, revisions the whole human (and vegetable) condition.
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(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
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US Kirkus Review »
Narcotic flowers keep the masses placated in a decaying, dystopian, extraterrestrial colony in this ambitious but marginal sci-fi fantasy. Debut novelist von Schlegell concocts a post-Earth benevolent dictatorship where, centuries after the home planet is rendered inhabitable, the population gathers en masse daily for "Feed." Writes von Schlegell: "Like a castaway's calendar carved in a piece of driftwood, Feed was a communal marking away of days." Then a junk purveyor named Rogers Collectibles comes across a book of the colony's secret early history, a time when humans did more than count the seconds until extinction. Soon Collectibles and his sort-of psychiatrist Sylvia Yang are skipping Feed and seeing their world as it really is. The expected run-in with authority ensues, involving a dwarf named Niftus Norrington, journalist Martha, funny-talking lizards and sentient (and sexy) plants. Von Schlegell's kitchen-sink approach evokes the works of Neal Stephenson, Williams Burroughs and William Gibson-and, alas, much that feels snatched from a slush pile. The author has a knack for seeing profundity in the thunderously meaningless ("Homo Sapiens sees its real in the emptiness that its 'real' implies"). Disorientation may well be his aim, but it does not make for a satisfying narrative, as fidelity to storytelling gets lost in the muddle. A shaky start to an already threatened series that can only improve. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Mark von Schlegell
Mark von Schlegell's stories and essays appear regularly in underground newspapers, zines, art books, and amateurist periodicals the world over. Venusia, his first novel, was honor-listed for the 2007 James M. Tiptree Jr. Prize in science fiction.