Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Venus on the Half-Shell” as Want to Read:
Venus on the Half-Shell
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Venus on the Half-Shell

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,778 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel attributed to the fictional author Kilgore Trout but actually written by Philip José Farmer. Trout is a recurring character of many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. This book was first mentioned as a fictional work in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater ('65). Farmer's novel was 1st published in two parts beginning in the December ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1974)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Venus on the Half-Shell, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Venus on the Half-Shell

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Writing, and reading, fan fiction is a risky business. I know of a couple of succesful attempts : The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn and arguably the Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding (for Firefly fans). In the case of Philip Jose Farmer, I must confess I was underwhelmed, the main reason being I'm such a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut that I couldn't help comparing this parody project with the master's originals.

In Farmer's defense, the trashy plot and the florid style was probably deliberate.
As everyone knows who's come across him in Kurt Vonnegut's books, Kilgore Trout had great ideas, but couldn't write. So, in a way, it's fitting that Philip José Farmer had a great idea - actually to write the Kilgore Trout novel Venus on the Half Shell, which is referred to in God Bless You, Mr Rosewater - but that the result is embarrassing for everyone concerned.

The best part of Venus is definitely the blurb on the back cover, which, at least in the edition I read, faithfully reproduces the t
Drew Barth
What did I think? I don't even know.
A copy of this was given to me by my Junior year English teacher after doing a presentation on Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, just the fact that one of Kilgore Trout's books was actually released was astonishing to me. Here is a man, more or less, who has written dozens, if not hundreds of various novels and stories over a sordid career that spans decades, and this is the one they saw fit to release in this universe?
Well, I can't really complain abo
lots of people seem to find this book silly. well, it was written by a dude who pretended to be Vonnegut's favorite made-up author, kilgore trout. but you know, i loved it, seriously. it was odd, whimsical, with a touch of seriousness here and there to be followed up by self-mockery. since i've been mildly self-aware i've adored, by genetic default, the works of Vonnegut, forced upon me by parents with crazy love for him. so, i must admit, the only thing the man ever did which depresses me was t ...more
"Kilgore Trout"'s only published novel is like a cross between The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Oz books, except 20 times dirtier. Simon Wagstaff is on a quest for the answers to his questions, namely, "Why are we here?" and..."Who created all these weird candy-heart shaped indestructable towers on most of the planets in the universe -- but not Earth's galaxy?" Simon gets one of his questions answered, and meets some very interesting aliens along the way. Except for the long, involve ...more
Oh my gosh. I have a special place to put books like this while I am reading them. It is a place where there is no other book within reach, such as work, car and such. This ensures that I will pick it up from time to time and eventually read it all the way through. I did not expect much from VOTH-S but what I hoped it would not be, unfortunately, it was.

Philip Josee Farmer, a writer who's work I have enjoyed from time to time, had come with the cool idea to write a Kilgore Trout novel (and I bel
This book might be my best find... EVER.

Thsi book is a book by Kilgore Trout, a well known alter ego for Kurt Vonnegut Readers. He is a science finction Author that only gets published in dirty magazines as filler between the pictures. He has had hundreds of stories published this way and some of his story ideas are great. Except.. he does not actually exists...
Untill thsi book came out. A great read in the style of Kurt Vonnegut. Only later did everyone realize it was a book by Farmer.
Still.. I
Oct 09, 2014 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lusty young sci-fi fans
This was my dad's old paperback. He gave it to me in... high school? The story around the book (that Farmer wrote it as Kurt Vonnegut's fictional science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, effectively making it like... meta-fan-fiction?) is more interesting than the story in the book itself. The story itself is "just OK", following along with some fairly familiar sci-fi tropes and adding a sprinkling of puerile sexuality. I smirked a few times, but never chuckled. To me it was more interesting to try ...more
Christopher Baldwin
I actually read this one, as it wasn't on audiobook (that I could find). And I get how he wanted it to be a tribute to Vonnegut (Farmer wrote it as "Kilgore Trout" a character who is a novelist from Kurt Vonnegut Jr's books), but I also get how Vonnegut tried to ignore it despite initially giving it permission to happen. It has a lot in it which pays tribute to Vonegut's writing and wit, but I didn't find it had the same depth. Some element which holds Vonnegut together seemed missing.

Also, I di
Farmer scrisse questo libro in omaggio a Kurt Vonnegut, tanto che la prima edizione uscì a firma Kilgore Trout, l’immaginario scrittore di fantasceinza che compare qua e là nei romanzi dell’autore di ‘Mattatoio n. 5’. Vonnegut diede prima il suo assenso e poi si ritirò mentre il volume vendeva numerose copie: di questa marcia indietro non sono chiari i motivi, ma in essa bene si riflette l’ambivalenza di cui resta preda il lettore una volta girata l’ultima pagina. Farmer utilizza come canovaccio ...more
E' un romanzo di fantascienza abbastanza particolare sia per i temi trattati (anni '70) sia per il gioco di riferimenti che Farmer voleva creare (il libro era inizialmente stato presentato come scritto da Kilgore Trout).
I riferimenti tra autori veri - autori finti e storie da loro scritti ha evidentemente divertito Farmer, però è molto difficile da cogliere se non si è dotati di una Introduzione chiara al romanzo.
Il viaggio fantascientifico è il mezzo che consente di parlare di sesso e religione
Pat Cooney
Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover which in this case, with the original cover artwork, is completely accurate. Absolutely hysterical, witty in the dumbest way possible, and lovingly mocking of sci-fi. Super fast and a great break from more serious fare.
John Maberry
How embarrassing to find only now that the book I thought was written by Kurt Vonnegut, under the pseudonym of his Kilgore Trout character, was actually written by Philip Jose Farmer. So it goes (haha). It's probably due to the fact that it seems, to me at least, that Farmer was channeling Vonnegut in the satirical style of the latter. Trout, of course, was a fictional character. It's much like the silliness of ABC-TV in creating books by Richard Castle, their TV character, matching books the TV ...more
Oct 02, 2009 Rob rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: The Indiana Bard
Shelves: sci-fi
Strange, yet compelling book. There were portions I really liked, some other portions that we just so so, but overall a good read. I enjoyed the silliness, satire, and farce, but at the same time, the author (Philip Jose Farmer, for those who don't know) peppers in some interesting bits that make you think.

Any book that talks about aliens whose method of locomotion is propulsion-by-farting can't be all bad... :)
This book reads like bad Vonnegut, which, of course, was the author's intention as he is having fun writing a book supposedly by Kilgore Trout. So I guess in that sense, it is a success. On the other hand, I think it is fair to ask whether life is too short to bother with reading a book that intentionally reads like bad Vonnegut? It just might be.
Just plain whacky, though fun still could only give it 3 stars.
This book is totally amazing.
You can be sure that Vonnegut was jealous he hadn't wrote it.

My problem is that the end was botched in a manner as if the author had been writing on commission by the page, and simply stopped with the attitude of "screw-it, that's all you paid for foikers."
Riju Ganguly
This book had been published ahead of its time, and that's why it still remains relatively obscure (except among the readers of science-fiction who know & appreciate the book as what it is: a classic). Yes, the deployment of the erotica is rather 'diverting' at times. Yes, the protagonist really has a terrible name, and somehow he does full 'justice' to that name. But, in the garb of depicting his adventures among various alien races, the author shows the absurdity of mores & conventions ...more
This book was written by Farmer pretending to be Kilgore Trout, a character in Kurt Vonnegut's novels who writes terrible books. The title of the book is a title referred to in one of Vonnegut's. As another reviewer said, this book is written like intentionally bad Vonnegut, and it succeeds; on the other hand is life too short to read bad Vonnegut? I have to agree and say yes. This is an intentionally bad parody of the worst of 60s/70s science fiction and it is indeed pretty bad. Unfortunately I ...more
Diana Kathleen Bradbury
So great! I actually thought it was by Vonnegut for quite a long time.
There's not much point to Philip Jose Farmer's "Venus on the Half-Shell" except as a vehicle for Farmer to articulate various juvenile philosophies in a fairly foul manner. Unfortunately, you can't read the "Look Inside" blurb at the top of the Amazon product page to see if you agree with my statement: all it covers is the Prelude and part of the Preface (which are nothing more than Farmer talking about the book). So, all I can say is that before you waste your money, borrow a copy from the libr ...more
Leila Anani
Shallow person that I am I bought this book entirely for the cover, but come on what an absolutely awesome trashy cover! It just had to be bought. Sadly I don't think the contents live up to the gorgeous artwork.

The story follows a banjo playing bum Simon Wagstaff who manages to escape a cleansing flood of Biblical proportions in a Chinese spacecraft. He picks up a dog he calls Anubis, an owl called Athena and a female android called Chworktap and together they roam through space on Simon's ques
Diana Welsch
Sep 17, 2008 Diana Welsch rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of humorous or cheesy science fiction who are looking for a quick read
I was drawn to this book because of the author. Kilgore Trout is the fictional though semi-autobiographical science fiction author that shows up in many of Kurt Vonnegut's books. He is a complete hack whose work was published largely in pornagraphic magazines to accompany titillating images.

Venus on the Half Shell is actually by Philip Jose Farmer, but is done in the style of Trout. The book sort of resembles The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in tone and theme, though it predates it by a coup
Una lettura discretamente piacevole. Mi aspettavo di trovare chissà quali storie di sesso, invece tutto si è rivelato molto più casto di quanto c'era da aspettarsi, visto che sapevo che questo libro fosse stato il grande sdoganatore del sesso esplicito nella fantascienza. Ci sono delle scene di sesso, è vero, tra creature piuttosto improbabili ma niente che, al giorno d'oggi, non si possa trovare in qualsiasi best-seller.

Farmer scrisse questo libro come omaggio a Kurt Vonnegut. Siccome in alcune
Vardan Partamyan
Finding a humourous science fiction novel is hard favorites are The Hitchhiker series and the Stainless Steel Rat series so I had pretty high expectations when I picked up this novel that promised to be the lovechild of the such luck. What I got instead was a half(shelled?)cooked philosophical monologue masquerading as a comedy with both aspects of the novel falling flat. Why? Why? Why? you will ask did the author write this to which he would most probably say why not? :)
Fabio Tassi
Il vero libro di Kilgore Trout.
Il romanzo che Kilgore Trout avrebbe veramente scritto se fosse realmente esistito (e non solo nelle pagine dei romanzi di Kurt Vonnegut). Scritto in realtà da Farmer nel 1973 sotto pseudonimo, dietro il quale molti ritennero all'epoca si celasse Vonnegut in persona. Dissacrazione, Sesso, Religione, Space-Opera sfrenata, giochi di parole, citazioni di grande erudizione abilmente nascoste. Molto divertente.
All right, it's been at least 20 years since I've read this, but I did read it several times, back in the day. I have two copies, both of which nudge/wink each other on the shelf, and when they catch my eye, I take them down to smile and flip their pages.

The details of the story now escape me, aside from the amusing names and the Chinese spaceship. I've honestly never actually read a book by Vonnegut (believe it or not), so I had no idea who Kilgore Trout was at the time I first read this. It wa
Andrea Sefler
‘Venus on the Half Shell’ is fun to read, and very interesting from the perspective of the history of science fiction. But from a feminine perspective much of the sex, and the accompanying quest for erudition, bears more than a passing resemblance to a sci-fi version of Erica Jong’s search for the “ultimate zip-less f**k.”

Full review posted at PopMythology:
Zack Zildjan

Not what I was hoping for, but that's the problem with hope. It's really just a pretty funny (but not too funny), pretty smart (but not too smart) space opera. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but it could have been so much more.

One could really just skip this and read Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker books. They take the basic premise of Venus and turn it into something special and memorable.

I'd say it's more like 2.5 stars than 3. I'm a really nice guy, though.
This book fulfills requirement #8~ Science Fiction set in space for the 2015 eclectic reader challenge.

I will be generous and say that it gets 1.5 stars. I struggled quite a bit to finish this one. First, I was highly disappointed that it wasn't by Kurt Vonnegut (Kilgore Trout is one of Vonnegut's characters, so I was hoping it would be one of his stories since Kilgore Trout is the name on the book). Then I started reading it and the insane amount of sex turned me off. I don't generally read a l
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • White Man Falling
  • Fireflies
  • Titmuss Regained
  • Brewster's Millions
  • England, Their England
  • The Unbearable Bassington
  • Before Lunch
  • The Adventures of Gil Blas
  • No Bed for Bacon
  • Topper Takes a Trip
  • The Wimbledon Poisoner
  • Mister Johnson
  • The Great Explosion
  • Untouched By Human Hands
  • The Polyglots
  • Slouching Towards Kalamazoo
  • The Mighty Walzer
  • Pictures from an Institution
Philip José Farmer was an American author, principally known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but spent much of his life in Peoria, Illinois.

Farmer is best known for his Riverworld series and the earlier World of Tiers series. He is noted for his use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for and reworking of th
More about Philip José Farmer...
To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld, #1) The Fabulous Riverboat (Riverworld, #2) The Dark Design (Riverworld, #3) The Magic Labyrinth (Riverworld, #4) The Gods of Riverworld (Riverworld, #5)

Share This Book

“La sabiduria consiste en saber cuando evitar al perfeccion” 2 likes
More quotes…