Venus of old was once a fantastical place; early astronomers were confounded by its clouds and unable to map out its surface. Like Mars, it became a playground of the imagination. We imagined a wet place with swamps and seas. There were monsters and dinosaurs there, as well as ancient civilizations. We now know that Venus has a runaway greenhouse effect with temperatures on the surface approaching almost 900 degrees. Space probes have mapped its surface, but it is too hellish for most people to want to go there. We can, however, in this collection from famous editors George R.R. Martin and Gerald Dozois, go to this fertile ground of the imagination–in our imagination.
Old Venus, unfortunately, is not very feminine because most of the stories told about adventurers and explorers are by men and about men. There are also not a lot of female writers in this anthology. The collection does tell some interesting tales, but one needs to be prepared for slippery ground. It would have been fun to be inside the minds of more women here, the Evening Star being more their domain than The Red Planet, which is explored in accompanying anthology, Old Mars.
George R.R. Martin, Editor, Gardner Dozois, Editor