Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Venus of Dreams Paperback – December 1, 1999
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
Pamela Sargent (born March 20, 1948) is an American, feminist, science fiction author, and editor. She has an MA in classical philosophy and has won a Nebula Award. She wrote a series concerning the terraforming of Venus that is sometimes compared to Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, but predates it. She also edited various anthologies to celebrate the contributions of women in the history of science fiction. She is noted for writing alternate history stories. Sargent has attempted work with a wide variety of themes in general, if not always successfully. She also collaborated with George Zebrowski and on numerous Star Trek novels. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Venus of Dreams
by Pamela Sargent
Series: The Venus Trilogy (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: e-reads.com (December 1, 1999)
Subject: Science Fiction
The Story: Iris Angharads, a determined, independent woman, sets herself one massive goal: to make the poison-filled atmosphere of Venus hospitable to humans. She works day and night to realize her dream, with only one person sharing her passion, Liang Chen. It seems impossible to make Venus, with its intolerable air and waterless environment, into a paradise, but Iris succeeds. And in doing so, she also creates a powerful dynasty, beginning with her first born, Benzi Liangharad.
The Review: The author of this book is described as a feminist and truth-be-told, it shows for almost the entire first half of the text. The planet Earth described in this book is a world quite different from the one we know. It takes five-hundred years in the future and the planet Earth is controlled by a new order. Order and control and the keywords to remember here.
The main problem with this is that the reader never really goes into much detail about how this world came to be and how it actually functions. The best kind of world building is the kind that takes place in the background with little to no expository passages. This book actually does have a lot of exposition. The problem is that it is the explanation of what is going on inside of the character heads. With a world that is so very different from our own, the reader could really use a little explanation.
Iris comes off as a very selfish character. Bookworm knows that the author was most likely attempting to portray the plethora of expectations placed upon women regarding parenting, lifestyle choices, and child rearing but that seems like a product of the older style of feminism born from the radicals of mid-century America, of which the author is most likely a product of. Iris, though seems to push away people who love her in the name of her ambition. Even though this is a world ruled by Islamic technocrats, that is a distinctly western viewpoint, particularly of the feminist viewpoint.
Bookworm couldn’t help but feel sorry for Iris’ husband and son for being practically at the mercy of Iris’ personal ambitions and never really knowing the woman for who she was. She appears to be rather wishy-washy and unsure about the prospect of personal relationships. Iris want’s to be loved but she seems reluctant to give out love it return. Her husband is mostly used for sex.
The topic of sex comes up very frequently. Half the time a character talks seems to be broaching the topic of who or what they will spend the night with. Bookworm knows that this was probably meant to espouse the “sexual liberations” movement condoned by many feminist ideologies, but it gets very tedious after a while. The reader doesn’t even get to read the sex! It is all implied!
Something Bookworm has noticed in a great many works of fiction: Editors and publishers are perfectly fine with a graphic description of a knight being devoured by a dragon or a space trooper being torn to shreds by bullets but when it comes to said knight or soldier going to bed with some pretty woman or handsome man…”woah! man!!! Kids could be reading this! Just go write another scene where a man is bifurcated by a chainsaw.”
A Double Standard?
Frustrating? Especially in regards to this novel?
Bookworm believes that this book and ultimately perhaps, this entire trilogy was trying to hard to pull off what was done in Dune or Game of Thrones. A grand sweeping epic that spans generations with great societal and political pressure ultimately told through the limited eyes of a handful of characters. In the end, though, what we see through said limited gazes seems mostly concerned with the possibility that all love is doomed to failure. For a world named after a goddess of beauty and love, relationships don’t seem to work very well on the planet Venus.
Relationships seem to be the core of this novel. Interpersonal conflicts and marital troubles seem to take center stage for the first half of the novel and remain so throughout the text. Save perhaps for the pre-epilogue final act.
One relationship that the author shoves down the reader’s throat almost continuously is the ongoing conflict between the ruling authority of Earth, the Islamic Muhktars and the Habbers, a faction of humanity who dwell in space based habitats, hence the name. Habbers possess advanced technology that could greatly aid the Venus Terraforming Project but they are viewed with suspicion by the populations of Earth and Venus. They believe that the Habbers want to take over or something like that. This book was desperately lacking exposition into who this solar system of the future actually moves, functions, or even how it came to be.
The best guess is that the Muhktars view the Habbers and their technology as a threat to their well-ordered society. It is never made clear. Politics is a notoriously dense and complex topic and the people on the ground rarely know the whole story. If the author was attempting to convey this to the reader, Bookworm can safely say that they failed in this endeavor. Many times, Bookworm found themselves saying, “Shut up about the Habbers already!” or “Just go to war and be done with it!” What is politics without a war or two here and there.
Final Verdict: While possessing some interesting ideas and world building and not a small amount of emotional eloquence, this book is ultimately undone by biting off more than it can chew. Trying too hard to be both intimate and epic at the same time and never quite accomplishing either.
Rating: Three Symbols of Venus of Five
If you were looking for
-an exciting story about terraforming Venus to make it habitable for humans
-reasonable science used for the process
-a likeable heroine
-a romantic and dramatic subplot
-a probable future society
....you came to the wrong book. The entire thing is more of a social commentary on how disappointing humanity can be, rather than a realistic future society. The fact that the world is ruled by a powerful, totalitarian Muslim faction makes no sense whatsoever. The society in the US where women run the towns and have all-female families, while men roam around the country from job-to-job and leave babies behind for the women, seems more a commentary on the degradation of the American family and where it could lead to, than a realistic way of portraying future American society.
I was also disappointed in Iris. At first she looked promising, a person who as a child, broke away from the usual interests of women living in her town. Instead of agriculture, she chose to learn science, but only because the world government said it was okay. She also chose to get married to the handsome Asian guy who came through town and go away to college, rather than stay with her family in her hometown and raise his child. Then in college, she does a complete 180 and turns into a shallow, selfish jerk who sells her soul to the Venus terraforming project, cuts off all her hair, and completely alienates herself from her husband and son. Not only does that make no sense, but it make you hate her a lot for choosing Venus over her radically-formed family. Eventually her son, when he becomes a teenager, rebels against both her and the world government by joining rebels who have neural link-ups to computers and live out in space.
You also can barely find any mention of how Venus was being changed over time by advanced technology. It's sprinkled in every 50-70 pages and I had to sift through tons of boring, annoying writing to find ANYTHING about it. What little I found was innovative, but not focused on enough.
I couldn't even finish the book because it was such a load of manure that got stinkier with each page. Do yourself a favor and find a different sci-fi book about terraforming. This is NOT a good one.
While the book is divided into five parts, the viewpoints change within though parts. We stick with Iris most of the time and, frankly, I found the viewpoint changes unsatisfying especially when they were minor characters or characters that don't hold out through the entire book. Iris and Chen, her "husband" and the father of her child, Benzi, was the most interesting though time looking at Chen's world was intriguing as well.
It makes me curious enough to try and find the next book in the trilogy to see what happens next on Venus and on Earth.
Most recent customer reviews
This and the other books in the trilogy are very very well-written and I highly...Read more