The Heart’s Filthy Lesson • 2015 • Old Venus novelette by Elizabeth Bear

★★★

Some of us love SF from a time when gruesome facts didn’t yet hit the imagination of a jungle planet with six leg beasts. For those people, Dozois and GRRM published a followup volume to Old Mars last year titled Old Venus. This story is taken from it. Dharthi is a researcher who thinks she will find Venusian’s indigenous species in a different place than everyone else. Contrary to her lover, she isn’t popular and neither gets sponsorship to conduct her research easily. She gets on a stupid mission by herself, risking her life and findings in the dangerous jungle of a second Venusian continent.

Dharthi’s character isn’t enjoyable, to say the least. But the straight-forward, linear action with lots of foreshadowing has some great moments. Note also a couple of references, starting with the story’s title from a David Bowie song. And it is a recreative deviation from all those near future CliFi stories; I’d say: A space opera here and there cures the day.

Meta: isfdb. It is available online.

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