Dan Schwent 's Reviews > Veniss Underground

Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer
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Jul 31, 13

bookshelves: new-weird, 2010
Read from November 17 to 20, 2010

Artist Nicholas goes to the sinister Quin to buy a meerkat and winds up missing. His twin sister Nicola combs the city of Veniss looking for him and also disappears and it's up to Shadrach, Nicholas' friend and Nicola's former lover, to find them. Can Shadrach find them before Quin finds him?

Veniss Underground is the first of Jeff Vandermeer's new weird works. While it's not as pants-shittingly awesome as some of his later works, it's still really good.

Veniss takes place in a dystopian future. Artificial life forms abound and life is cheap. Veniss sits atop a vast underworld, an underworld that Shadrach must scour in order to find Nicola. While not as detailed as Ambergris, Veniss is almost a character in its own right. The meerkats, the ganeshas, and the other artificial life forms are really creepy.

The way Vandermeer tells the story is masterful. The first part is told by Nicholas in the first person. The second part is about Nichola and told in the second person, and the third part is told in the third person and features Shadrach. Shadrach's tale is almost a retelling of the story of Orpheus, except with a talking meerkat head glued to a plate and a villian living inside a mile wide fish. Crazy, crazy stuff with lots of grotesque characters.

While I didn't like Veniss Underground as much as I did Finch, it was still one hell of a good read. Highly recommended to all new weird and Vandermeer fans.
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Reading Progress

11/17/2010 page 7
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Nancy I loved this book. I wanted more cities as characters, like Perdido Street Station and A Year in the Linear City. This is the only book I've read by VanderMeer. Which one should I read next?


message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Finch is my favorite Vandermeer book so far but I don't think it would be that great without reading City of Saints and Madmen and Shriek first. By the time you get to Finch, the city of Ambergris is a pretty vivid character in its own right.

I've never heard of A Year in the Linear City but I loved the Steampunk book Di Filippo did.


message 3: by Nancy (last edited Nov 21, 2010 09:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nancy A Year in the Linear City can be found in a collection titled Cities, edited by Peter Crowther and featuring stories by China Miéville, Geoff Ryman and Michael Moorcock. You can also get an electronic version of DiFilippo's story at Fictionwise.


message 4: by Loederkoningin (new)

Loederkoningin On a totally unrelated note..I was trying to locate your review for Gormenghast, but no such luck. Did you finish it?


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Loederkoningin wrote: "On a totally unrelated note..I was trying to locate your review for Gormenghast, but no such luck. Did you finish it?"

I didn't make it very far before I put it back on the shelf. Not the right time.


message 6: by Loederkoningin (new)

Loederkoningin Ah, I understand! It's one of those books that's perfect when you've broken 2 legs and need to lie down for 6 weeks.


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