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Venus Plus X ☄ Venus Plus X PDF / Epub ✓ Author Theodore Sturgeon – Charlie Johns has been snatched from his home on 61 North 34th Street and delivered to the strange future world of Ledom Here violence is a vague and improbable notion Technology has triumphed over hu Charlie Johns has been snatched from his home on North th Street and delivered to the strange future world of Ledom Here violence is a vague and improbable notion Technology has triumphed over hunger overpopulation pollution even time and space But there is a change Charlie finds even shocking gender is a thing of the past Venus Plus X is Theodore Sturgeon's brilliant evocation of a civilization for whom tensions between male and female and the human preoccupation with sex no longer exist As Charlie Johns explores Ledom and Venus Plus PDF or its people he finds that the human precepts he holds dear are profane in this new world But has Charlie learned all there is to know about this advanced society And why are the Ledom so intent on gaining Charlie's approval Unsettling compelling and no less than visionary here is science fiction at its boldest a novel whose wisdom and lyricism make it one of the most original and insightful speculations on gender ever produced.

10 thoughts on “Venus Plus X

  1. Lyn Lyn says:

    Theodore Sturgeon published Venus Plus X in 1960 before much of what would be considered the women’s rights movement Many science fiction books from this era were well written and visionary but the science has grown stale and modern readers wince at technological incongruities or fail to appreciate a novel idea when written when the reality has occurred; like driving past a reference to a cell phone from 1950But here the science has not lost its punch but rather the social commentary Sturgeon spends a fair amount of time discussing gender issues that are today somewhat passéIt’s still a good sci fi book well written and entertaining; and his overall message is still relevant and inspiring The premise is that a Homo sapiens man has been abducted from his time and place and brought to live in a Lodem society Lodem – “model” spelled backwards – is something of a utopia and our society is compared with the Lodem’s Interestingly Sturgeon divides his narrative into two seemingly unconnected plots one in the Lodem culture and another in the Homo sapiens worldReminiscent of his brilliant work More Than Human I suspect a common theme in Sturgeon’s work is evolutionary man His theological ramblings were also evocative to Philip K Dick’s musings in his The Exegesis of Philip K Dick

  2. Kalin Kalin says:

    A Platonic dialogue exploring the similarities between the sexes and our stereotypes about sex many of which sadly persist than 60 years after the book was first published As usual I'm awed by Sturgeon's courage insight and warmth Although this particular story seemed clinical colder than his typical writingMy reading notes He remembered a thing he had read somewhere was it Ruth Benedict? Something about no item of man’s language or religion or social organization being carried in his germ cell In other words you take a baby any color any country and plank it down anywhere else and it would grow up to be like the people of the new country And then there was that article he saw containing the same idea but extending it throughout the entire course of human history; take an Egyptian baby of the time of Cheops and plank it down in modern Oslo and it would grow up to be a Norwegian able to learn Morse code and maybe even have a prejudice against Swedes What all this amounted to was that the most careful study by the most unbiased observers of the entire course of human history had been unable to unearth a single example of human evolutionThese ideas create a curious resonance with the uestions raised by Mikhail Ancharov a Russian contemporary and kindred spirit of Sturgeon's Eg What sort of evolutionary pressures produced the human brain this ginormously complicated organ? Sturgeon's language makes me uestion everything I know about English Oh how my grammar teachers would wail and pull their hair over the word order in a sentence like In a box was a dried marigold And I just had to check if There seemed no concept for “payment” or “pass” in the tongue is a valid expression or a proofreader's mistake It is valid seem can also mean appear to exist But it's an uncommon use I think But I'm not sure I don't knowYes texts like these wreak havoc on my confidence as a translator This is actually the second time I've started reading Venus Plus X; the first time couple of months ago I felt so stupid found most of the phrases so impenetrable that I just gave upOn the other hand it's a glorious and ever rarer joy to come upon an author who can teach you something new every other sentence view spoilerUm is there any preposition before every other sentence? There I go again hide spoiler

  3. Kaisa Kaisa says:

    This is a SF classic I would like to see discussed often Written in 1960 it is vitally relevant to the current transformation in constructing gender and sexuality If nothing else it serves to remind us that the change has been going on for uite some timeVenus Plus X takes an everyman observer to a world called Ledom where gender dichotomy has been made obsolete The people of Ledom are neither men nor women they are both As in Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness and Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time removing sexual difference makes room for speculation about a gender neutral society Sturgeon also adds religion as a stabilizing and orienting factor positing two needs as human universals the need to love and the need to worship In Ledom the ultimate object of both those needs is the Child Ledom is all about future all about ridding the culture of historical diseases violence exploitation patriarchal authority”We keep before us the image of that which is malleable and growing – of that which we have the power to improve We worship that very power in ourselves and the sense of responsibility which lives with it We worship the child because it is inconceivable that we would ever obey one”As the everyman observer sees it all of this functions uite smoothly Sturgeon does not however construct a naturalized Utopia; rather he explores what techniues and policies are needed to make this culture tick the ingrained irony within any Utopia In the end even the everyman observer is revealed as a construct This makes Venus Plus X an explicitly political novel”We are not a Utopia A Utopia is something finished completed We are transients; custodians; a bridge if you like”The Ledom narrative is constantly contrasted with scenes from the other world depicting two contemporary suburban families in the throes of what seems like gender eualization While the mothers discuss business in a bowling alley the fathers stay at home with the young comparing home decors and consumer products From the face of it it seems like Ledom is not that far away Old habits die hard however The modern father still raises his children to be Men and Women kissing the daughter goodnight and leaving the son with a handshake and a laconic ”Good night old man”Makes you wonder how slowly these things change – and what are the habits you pass on yourselfWarmly recommended to all interested in feminist SF trans issues and the performative aspects of gender in general Even with all the philosophy lectures the book is an enjoyable and engaging read – I only put it down once during the five hours of reading time

  4. David David says:

    This is by any standard a novel of ideas that pushes the boundaries of what was acceptable in old style pulp sf The central premise a very unlikely one it must be said is that someone with a lot of wealth and influence creates a model society Ledom get it? in secret Ledom keeps the outside world at bay thanks to super science like many a Utopia before it But Sturgeon's basic premise is radical to say the least that if we eliminate sexual difference by making everyone hermaphrodite we remove most of the things that mar human affairs This is the sort of idea that led to the author being nicknamed 'Steamy Ted' though to be fair there's no actual sex here probably because no mainstream publisher would have dared print it Instead there is a lot of philosophising and some fair to interesting exposition about Ledom history culture education etc But as other reviewers have noticed if you want an actual novel drama only kicks in towards the end when some cracks in the seemingly flawless system start to show Overall Venus Plus X is a weird memorable but unsatisfying read It's proto feminist in its assumption that eliminating macho aggression would make a better world but relies heavily on the 'there's a ray for everything' gadgetry of Golden Age sci fi It sits uncomfortably between two worlds and ends in ambiguity

  5. Gabi Gabi says:

    caveat I'm biased D Sturgeon's 'essay' herein about the role of religion and the change Christianity brought was a trailblazer in my teens and the direct reason for the kind of faith I choseAt first I wasn't sure if I already had read this novel I own than 20 different books by this author several in two different languages and nearly everything as 'backup' again as ebook His short stories were the mantra of my youth and my very reason to get into Science Fiction as literature genre But I wasn't sure if I ever read his novels So I decided to rectify this potential fault and started with Venus Plus X My memory always has been bad and my teens are well loooooong ago so I couldn't remember the details But when I got to the above mentioned speech it all came back This was written in flamescript upon my teenage heartSo I can give nothing less than 4 stars here because of the personal importance and because of the topic of gender identity and social oppression that Sturgeon took on here in 1960 which still doesn't feel that dated todayIn two alternating never convening plotlines he describes two different models of social structures and the unconscious behaviour we fall prey to He poses uestions but doesn't deliver all the answers The reader is called to do their own thinkingMost striking for me was a good night scene where a father behaves differently towards his daughter and his son and is flabbergasted by the resulting aftermathThere is nearly no action in this novel It is written as a thought experiment in terms of an essay This is important to know before going into it and it has been written somewhen in the 1950ies so of course there are parts that feel datedI was inclined to give this 5 stars but there is a uirky behaviour at the end that even my Sturgeon fan soul can't overlook Still a great read even 60 years later

  6. Roddy Williams Roddy Williams says:

    ‘HE WAS A STRANGER IN THE STRANGEST NEW WORLD EVERHe awoke to terror He was in a silver cell and all he could remember was his name Charlie JohnsLater they told him he was in Ledom – a country where the people were wise and gentle and kind They tried to help Charlie Johns but they were strange He could see it in many ways – their clothes their over developed pectoral muscles the odd silky sporrans they all wore But it wasn’t until he noticed two of their men pregnant that he realised just how alien a land Ledom was’‘In a postscript to the original American edition of VENUS PLUS X Theodore Sturgeon wrote that his aim had been to write ‘a decent book about sex’ In a genre of writing where a genuinely adult approach to human sexuality has usually been conspicuous by its absence Sturgeon’s novel is a triumphant demonstration that science fiction can extend the boundaries of human awareness in this problematic area just as it has done for decades in the less ‘personal’ areas of time space and other cosmological topicsVENUS PLUS X may very well shock and even disturb readers who are not prepared to face up to the complex nature of sexuality and human psycho biology That is their bad luck For the reader with an open mind and uesting intelligence this haunting stimulating and novel moving novel offers richer rewards than most other fiction currently available’Back cover and interior blurbs from the 1978 Sphere paperback editionIt’s hard to imagine what it would have been like reading this novel in Nineteen Sixty when it was first published This would have been shortly after I was born and conseuently I didn’t get round to reading it until some twenty years later by which time the world had changedIts message remains an important one and I feel it is a classic that will be rediscovered by future generations but the shock value of its original release has been somewhat dilutedCharlie Johns is a young American of the late Nineteen Fifties in love with his beloved Laura and with all his life ahead of himSuddenly Charlie is transported through time and space to the far future and the society of Ledom Astute readers and most people over twelve years old will realise that this is the word ‘Model’ written backwards Charlie is told that he can be transported back where he came from but in return the people of Ledom expect him to study their culture and report on it objectivelyFrom the outset Charlie is confused by the androgynous look of the Ledomians and eventually discovers that they are a race of human hermaphrodites each having the sexual organs of both sexes They are intelligent peaceful and wiseThe whole idea of Ledom is that Humanity throughout its history has had a legacy ‘baggage’ if you like of teaching its children that they have to conform to stereotypes of male and female roles Ledom provides a slate wiped clean of any historical contamination and and a family life where the parents are essentially the sameLikewise Ledom realises the need for a spiritual and moral side to society and so a religion had been devised where what is worshipped is one’s own children or The Child as an embodiment of the futureThe narrative is intercut with the lives of two couples from Sturgeon’s US of the time where lives and attitudes both illustrate the ingrained attitudes that Ledom is seeking to wipe away and simultaneously demonstrate how the seeds of Ledom are already at workIn one scene for instance a father hugs and kisses his young daughter as a goodnight ritual while merely shaking hands with his son and cannot understand why the son subseuently bullies his sisterThere is also discussion of a contemporary cartoon strip which asks the uestion of how to tell boys and girls apart when they both have long hair The answer is that the boys are the pretty onesThe contrast between realistic life and Ledom life is a clever one since although Sturgeon is painting a contemporary domestic scene in comparison with Ledom society it comes over as being somewhat primitive and barbaric which was no doubt the aimThe novel does have a twist in its tail however and although Venus Plus X would have been considered a classic even without the surprise ending this certainly pushes the book onto another levelThis is an important SF novel since its message is timeless and addresses some of the most fundamental aspects of human society Sturgeon manages to make us take a long look at ourselves and employ some basic common sense which at times borders on the profound

  7. Bill Bill says:

    Venus Plus X is a 1960 SciFi novel by one of the fathers of modern Science Fiction It introduced feminism and gender fluidity and euality to the fans of SF Recommended

  8. Adam Adam says:

    Sturgeon is a skilled writer and he has lots of interesting ideas The problem with this book is its lack of plot Nothing really happens until the last 40 pages or so We just get a description of Ledom and some musings on gender issues It would have been better if he actually put together a story around them

  9. Kerry Kerry says:

    This book surprised the hell out of me The cover makes it look like it's going to be some pulp scifi and it turns out to be EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE Seriously whomever painted this cover should be sacked and then the person who hired that person should be sacked This book is feminist as all get out It suggests the radical notion that men and women have many similarities than differences and it just kind of says this like you know it's probably right right? And I'm like Because it was written in 1960 Which is basically still the '50s The Feminine Mystiue didn't come out until 1963 I just looked it up But also fuck yeah But then at the end view spoilerboth of our protagonists decide that's probably not right after all And I'm left stunned and disappointed Does Ted think it's all bullshit too? But then what was he saying to me that whole time? But maybe he just thinks that most men are still pretty much jerks and therefore we're not ready for this shit yet Sigh hide spoiler

  10. Jason Jason says:

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about Sturgeon’s novel I’ve been trying to think of it in context In 1960 the sexual revolution hadn’t happened yet Science fiction novels were often still boring boys adventure fantasies And the complex unraveling of sex and gender in sf that came with the New Wave and Ursula K LeGuin’s masterpiece The Left Hand of Darkness was still a few years away So I applaud Sturgeon for his adventurous storytelling relative to the time I also found the novel to be extremely readable and it only took me a couple of sittings to read it from cover to cover On the other hand I found something lacking in the book and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it Somehow I just wanted it to be

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