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Veniss Underground [Kindle Edition]

Jeff VanderMeer
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Dreams and nightmares entwine as three fellow travellers strive to achieve their deepest desires.

Nicholas seeks to escape his demons in the dark city of Veniss' shadowy underground. But in doing so, makes a deal with the devil himself. Then in her fevered search for him, his twin sister, Nicola, spins her own unusual and hypnotic tale as she discovers the hidden secrets of the city.

Finally, haunted by Nicola's sudden, mysterious disappearance and gripped by despair, Shadrach, Nicola's lover, embarks on a mythic journey. He must steel himself to visit the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city, to bring his love back to light. For these depths hold perils that are both complex and chilling. There, he will find wonders beyond imagining . . . and horrors greater than the heart can bear.

Literary alchemist Jeff VanderMeer has produced a triumph of the imagination, revealing the mysterious city of Veniss through three intertwined voices.

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Product Description


A nightmare vision that shows off VanderMeer's many virtues. The denouement is as powerful as any I have read. -- Michael Moorcock, The Guardian, December 2003

A strange, enigmatic and wonderful tale. Highly recommended. -- Third Alternative, November 2003

A timely and cautionary tale regarding the manipulation of genetics...a marvellous trip into a future world... -- Dreamwatch, October 2003

An outstanding first novel brimming with startling ideas made unpleasant flesh by VanderMeer’s deliciously decadent prose. -- The Scotsman

Darkly compelling. Not to be missed! --

Five stars! VanderMeer is a major author to watch. -- SFX, October 2003

Book Description

On a far-future Earth, where vast deserts - ecological disaster areas - surround walled city-states slowly losing their grip on advanced technology, the mysterious Quin manipulates biological engineering to create sentient species as both toys and manual labour. When Nicholas, a failed holo artist, decides to visit Quin, he - along with his programmer sister Nicola and her former lover, Shadrach - will discover just how dangerous it is to know Quin -- in the place known as Veniss Underground. 'Visionary episodes come thicker and faster, and at times the author only barely controls his own invention ... The denouement is as powerful as any I have read' MICHAEL MOORCOCK, Guardian 'An outstanding first novel brimming with startling ideas' Scotsman 'A dark, phantasmagoric tale that echoes Dante's Divine Comedy, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and the landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch' Publishers Weekly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 770 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; New edition edition (8 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,915 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER
'Veniss Underground' is a short novel by Jeff VanderMeer, a leading light in the 'New Weird' subgenre of fantasy. VanderMeer first came to attention as a writer of short stories, but has written other novels and multimedia works, and has a considerable profile as an editor and blogger.

If 'The New Weird' means anything - and meaningful definitions are hard to come by - it appears to mean a form of hyper-romantic fantasy that draws at will on urban fantasy, dark fantasy, SF, horror, noir and thriller elements. Its direct ancestors include Michael Moorcock, Angela Carter and, even more pertinently, M. John Harrison, whose 'Viriconium' stories are the template for 'Veniss' and similar work by other writers - notably China Mieville. More generally, this is fleshy fantasy, post-Cronenberg, post-Barker, post-Gaiman.

This makes 'Veniss' sound more attractive than it is. In practice, VanderMeer lacks the imagination of the writers mentioned, and especially Harrison's acute feel for tone, essential when dealing with deliberately mannered prose. The brief opening section of the book is quite horribly overwritten; almost a textbook example of how to alienate a reader by being simultaneously pretentious, obscure and coy. I almost abandoned the book at this point. I wonder how many readers have never progressed further?

The second and third sections are more lucidly written, but what emerges, disappointingly, is a standard fantasy narrative, loosely derived from the classical myth of Orpheus's descent into the underworld.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Wandering Free 18 July 2012
Science Fiction is probably the most open genre there is, an author can pretty do whatever they like. This may have been the thought process of Jeff Vandermeer when writing `Veniss Underground', as he not only threw the kitchen sink at the book, but also the washing machine, oven and kettle. Split into three narratives `Veniss' tells the story of Nicholas, Nicola and Shadrach and their wondrous journey through the land of Veniss. It starts off strangely as Nicholas' narration is hard to follow, he is a futuristic artist and his writing style is almost gibberish. Things settle down when following his sister Nicola, only to get most bizarre with Shadrach.

There are some great ideas in `Veniss', especially in the middle section. Artificially created Meerkats act as servants to the rich and famous, but do they have a hidden agenda? When the final, and largest, section of the book begins, we go from the strange and interesting, into the plain crazy. Vandermeer loses his way as Shadrach stampedes through too many different places all in the same world; underground mines, mountains of limbs, strange seas. A confused story entirely loses its way and you become less lost in the world of Veniss and more lost in a world of confused storytelling.

`Veniss' is a book that peaks halfway through, as it borders on the crazy, but remains one step aloof. When Vandermeer does let his imagination run riot, it is at the sake of a coherent narrative. The many great ideas in the book make it worthwhile reading for harder science fiction fans, everyone else is best off giving it a miss.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Veniss Underground 8 Nov. 2006
This is Vandermeer's first Novel and is wonderfully crafted. It reminds me of a Dali painting - both grotesque and glorious on the same page. This is not a typical Science Fiction book. It has elements of the finest horror and fantasy in a world just about familiar enough to believe in. His style is free flowing and easy, with language that makes you feel you are with the characters. The three main Characters are written in different tenses, this just adds to the feel of the book and Characters. I read this in one sitting and at times wanted to block out some the images Vandermeer made me create in my head, but at the same time wanted to know what happened next. A wonderful journey and a lesson as to where our world might go.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark fantasyland evocatively portrayed 23 May 2009
Nicholas, a washed-out holo artist, is desperate to secure the patronage of a mysterious man only known as Quin who, through biological engineering, creates fantastic creatures to serve the city-states of Veniss. When Nicholas disappears, his twin sister Nicola launches a frantic search for her brother which brings her and her former lover Shadrach ever closer to the ultimate truth behind Quin and the dank subterranean world of Veniss Underground.

Many years ago I happily walked away from fantasy, thinking the genre had reached its pinnacle with Lord of the Rings and was now deadly repetitive. But Vandemeer's vision debunks all my preconceptions and exposes my hubris in thinking the genre has nothing new to offer. Mixing fantasy with science fiction and adding a hefty dash of the Kafkaesque, this author produced a haunting and beautiful tale. It helps that he has kept the story short; if it had been any longer one's willingness to suspend belief would have been sorely pressed. What makes this novel especially intriguing is the author's style and language: it is playful and poetic, while remaining streetwise and gritty. There isn't a lot of character development - a problem that's endemic to a genre that focuses on place - but Vandemeer has more than enough made up for it with a breath-taking and phantasmagoric world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Novel, inventive and darkly intriguing...
I picked up Jeff Vandermeer's debut novel on a whim and am sure to investigate his work further having enjoyed this surreal and poignant offering immensely! Read more
Published on 25 May 2009 by D. Laurikietis
1.0 out of 5 stars Giant talking deadly meerkats are cool
as a reader of jeffs short stories-a big reader of them, i have them all- and really thinking they were good, espcially the writing, i was shocked to read this book. Read more
Published on 9 July 2008 by B. J. Crossley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Carried Away
Low marks from me for this debut effort from Mr Vandermeer, but it might be your thing. I'll try to be as objective as possible... Read more
Published on 24 Jun. 2008 by The Eremite Skylark
1.0 out of 5 stars Am I missing the plot?
I have read 28 pages of this book and while most of the words would be found in the Oxford English dictionary, the don't actually mean anything in the order that they have been... Read more
Published on 16 Oct. 2007 by Dawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Veniss Underground - A Fantastic and Absorbing World
Meerkats are benign creatures, are they not? The sort of small furry mammal that peers timidly from a burrow with a David Attenborough voiceover, harmless, cuddly even, if you got... Read more
Published on 25 July 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking debut, one to watch
I got this as a present for Christmas and knew nothing about it. I started on a Sunday afternoon and before I knew it, it was dark and I was desperate to finish reading. Read more
Published on 25 Feb. 2004 by Amazon Customer
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