Veniss Underground: A Novel

≡ Free Read  Format Kindle [ Veniss Underground: A Novel ] ⊶ Book By Jeff VanderMeer ⋴ ≡ Free Read Format Kindle [ Veniss Underground: A Novel ] ⊶ Book By Jeff VanderMeer ⋴ CHAPTER 1Let me tell you why I wished to buy a meerkat at Quin s Shanghai Circus Let me tell you about the city The city is sharp, the city is a cliche performed with cardboard and painted sparkly colors to disguise the empty center the hole. That s mine the words I specialize in holoart, but every once in a chemical moon I ll do the slang jockey thing on paper Let me tell you what the city means to me So you ll understand about the meerkat, because it s important Very important Back a decade, when the social planners ruled, we called it Dayton Central Then, when the central government choked flat and the police all went freelance, we started calling it Veni ss like an adder s hiss, deadly and unpredictable Art was Dead here until Veni ss Art before Veni ss was just Whore Hole stuff, street mimes with flexi faces and flat media.That s what the Social Revolutions meant to me not all the redrum riots and the twisted girders and the flourishing free trade markets and the hundred meter high ad signs sprouting on every street corner Not the garbage zones, not the ocean junks, not the under level coups, nor even the smell of glandular drugs, musty yet sharp No, Veniss brought Old Art to an end, made me dream of suck cess, with my omnipresent, omnieverything holovision.Almost brought me to an end as well one day, for in the absence of those policing elements of society except for pay for hire , two malicious thieves nay, call them what they were Pick Dicks well, these two pick dicks stole all my old style ceramics and new style holosculpture and, after mashing me on the head with a force that split my brains all over the floor, split too Even my friend Shadrach Begolem showed concern when he found me A brooding sort, my friend Begolem no blinks no twitches no tics All economy of motion, of energy, of time Eye e, the opposite of me But we managed to rouse an autodoc from its wetwork slumber and got me patched up Boy, did that hurt Afterward, I sat alone in my apartment studio, crying as I watched nuevo Westerns on a holo Shadrach lent me All that work gone The faces of the city, the scenes of the city that had torn their way from my mind to the holo, forever lost never even shown at a galleria and not likely to have been, either Veniss, huh The adder defanged The snake slithering away When did anyone care about the real artists until after they were dead And I was as close to Dead as any Living Artist ever was I had no supplies My money had all run out on me plastic rats deserting a paper ship I was as much a Goner as the AIs they d murdered to restore Order, all those Artistic Dreams so many arthritic flickers in a holoscreen You don t have a cup of water on you, by any chance Or a pill or two I think I always had Artistic Dreams.When we were little, my twinned sister Nicola and I made up these fabric creatures we called cold pricklies and, to balance the equation, some warm fuzzies All through the sizzling summers of ozone rings and water conservation and baking metal, we d be indoors with our make believe world of sharp hard edges and diffuse soft curves, forslaking the thirst of veldt and jungle on the video monitors.We were both into the Living Art then the art you can touch and squeeze and hold to your chest, not the dead, flat screen scrawled stuff Pseudo Mom and Pseudo Dad thought us wonky, but that was okay, because we d always do our chores, and because later we found out they weren t our real parents Besides, we had true morals, true integrity We knew who was evil and who was good The warm fuzzies always won out in the end.Later, we moved on to genetic clay, child gods creating creatures that moved, breathed, asked for attention with their mewling, crying tongues Creatures we could destroy if it suited our temperament Not that any of them lived very long.My sister moved away from the Living Art when she got older, just as she moved away from me She programs the free market now.So, since Shadrach certainly wouldn t move in to protect me and my art from the cold pricklies of destruction I mean, I couldn t go it alone I had this horrible vision of sacrificing my ceramics, throwing them at future Pick Dicks because the holo stuff wouldn t do any harm of a physical nature which made me think, hey, maybe this holo stuff is Dead Art, too, if it doesn t impact on the world when you throw it since that was Dead Idea, I was determined to go down to Quin s Shanghai Circus wherever that was and git me a meerkat, as those hokey nuevo Westerns say A meerkat for me, I d say, tall as you please Make it a double In a dirty glass cage Oh, I d crack myself up if the Pick Dicks hadn t already Tricky, tricky pick dicks But you re probably asking how a Living Artist such as myself a gaunt, relatively unknown, and alone artiste could pull the strings and yank the chains that get you an audience with the mysterious Quin.Well, I admit to connections I admit to Shadrach I admit to tracking Shadrach down in the Canal District.Canal District Shadrach They go together, like Volodya and Sirin, like Ozzie and Elliot, Romeo and Juliard You could probably find Shadrach down there now, though I hardly see him any on account of my sister Nicola That s how I met Shadrach, through Nicola when they shared an apartment.You see, Shadrach lived below level for his first twenty five years, and when he came up the first place they took him to after orientation was the Canal District A wall of light, he called it, and framed against this light, my sister Nicola, who served as an orientation officer back then for peoples coming above ground A wall of light and my sweet sister Nicola, and Shadrach ate them both up Imagine living in a world of darkness and neon for all of your life and coming to the surface and there she is, an angel dressed in white to guide you, to comfort you If you had time, I d tell you about them, because it was a thing to covet, their love, a thing of beauty to mock the cosmetics ads and the lingerie holos Anyway, ever since the space freighters stopped their old splash n crash in the cool down canals, the Canal District has been the hippest place in town Go there sometime and think of me, because I don t think I ll be going there again Half the shops float on the water, so when the oceangoing ships come in with their catch and off load after decon, the eateries get the first pick All the Biggest Wigs eat there You can order pseudowhale, fiddler, sunfish, the works Most places overlook the water and you can find anything there mechanicals and Living Art and sensual pleasures that will leave you quivering and unconscious All done up in a pallet of Colors Sure to Please Sunsets courtesy of Holo Ink, so you don t have to see the glow of pollution, the haze of smog shit muck Whenever I was down, there I would go, just to sit and watch the Giants of Bioindustry and the Arts walk by, sipping from their carafes of alkie which I don t envy them, rotgut seaweed never having been a favorite of mine.And so I was down, real down down than now, sitting in a garbage zone and spieling to you , and I wanted a talk with Shadrach because I knew he worked for Quin and he might relent, relinquish, and tell me what I wanted to know.It so happened that I bumped into Shadrach in a quiet corner, away from the carousing and watchful eye of the Canal Police, who are experts at keeping Order, but can never decide exactly which Order, if you know what I mean, and you probably don t.We still weren t alone, though parts merchants and debauched jewelried concierge wives and stodgy autodocs, gleaming with a hint of self repair, all sped or sauntered by, each self absorbed, self absorbing.Shadrach played it cool, cooler, coolest, listening to the sea beyond, visible from a crack in our tall failing walls.Hi, I said Haven t seen you since those lousy pick dicks did their evil work You saved my skin, you did.Hello, Nick, Shadrach replied, looking out at the canals Hello, Nick, he says, after all the compli and condiments I d given him Shadrach is a tall, muscular man with a tan, a flattened nose from his days as courier between city states the funny people gave him that and a dour mouth His clothes are all out of date, his boots positively reeking of antiquity Still thinks he s a Twenty seventh Century Man, if you know what I mean, and, again, you probably don t After all, you are sitting here in a garbage zone with me So, how re things with you I said, anticipating that I d have to drag him kicking and screaming to my point.Fine, he said You look bad, though No smile.I suppose I did look bad I suppose I must have, still bandaged up and a swell on my head that a geosurfer would want to ride.Thanks, I said, wondering why all my words, once smartly deployed for battle, had left me.No problem, he said.I could tell Shadrach wasn t in a talking mood More like a Dead Art mood as he watched the canals.And then the miracle He roused himself from his canal contemplation long enough to say, I could get you protection, all the while staring at me like I was a dead man, which is the selfsame stare he always has But here was my chance.Like what, you shiller I said A whole friggin police unit all decked out in alkie and shiny new bribes He shrugged and said, I m trying to help Small fish need a hook to catch bigger fish.Not a bad turn of phrase, I said, lying You get that from looking into the water all damn day What I need is Quin.Shadrach snorted, said, You are desperate An invite to Quin He wouldn t meet my gaze directly, but edged around it, edged in between it Maybe in a million years you d build up the contacts, he said, the raw money and influence.I turned away, because that stung The robbery stung, the not being able to sell the art stung Life stung And stunk.Easy for you, Shadrach, I said You re not a Living Artist I don t need an invite Just give me the address and I ll go myself to beg a meerkat Anything extra I do on my own.Shadrach frowned, said, You do not know what you are asking for, Nicholas I thought I saw fear in him fear and an uncharacteristic glimpse of compassion You will get hurt I know you and I know Quin Quin isn t in it for the Living Art He s in it for other reasons entirely Things I don t even know.By now I d begun to break out in the sweats and a moist heat was creeping up my throat, and, hey, maybe I d had too much on the drug side on the way down, so I put a hand on his arm, as much to keep my balance as anything.For a friend, I said For Nicola I need a break or I m going to have to go below level and live out my days in a garbage zone And look where I am today In a garbage zone Talking to you Bringing up my sister was low especially because I owed her so much money but bringing up below level was lower still Shadrach still had nightmares about living underground with the mutties and the funny people, and the drip drip drip of water constantly invading the system.He stared at me, the knuckles of his hands losing color where they clutched the rail Did he, I hoped, see enough of my sister in me But I m not heartless when I saw him like that, the hurt showing as surely as if they d broken up a day ago, I recanted I said, Forget it, my friend Forget it I ll work something else out You know me It s okey dokey.Shadrach held me a moment longer with his gray, unyielding eyes, then he sighed and exhaled so that his shoulders sagged and his head bowed He examined his stick on sandals with the seriousness of a podiatect.You want Quin, he said, you first have to promise me this is a secret for life, God help you If it gets out Quin s seeing someone like you, there ll be a whole bunch of loonies digging up the city to find him Someone like you hurt, but I just said, Who am I going to tell Me, who s always borrowing for the next holo People avoid me I am alone in the world Quin could get me close to people.I know, he said, a bit sadly, I thought.So tell me, I said Where is it You have to tell Quin I sent you, he said, and pointed a finger at me, and all you want is to buy a meerkat.You that budsky budsky with Quin I said, incredulous and a little loud, so a brace of Canal policemen gave me a look like I was luny o.Keep your voice down, Shadrach said Then Go west down the canalside escalators until you see the Mercado streetlight There s an alley just before that Go down the alley At the end, it looks like a dead ender because there are recycling bins and other debris from the last ten centuries But don t be fooled Just close your eyes it s a holo, and when you re through, there s Quin s, right in front of you Just walk right in.Thank U, Shadrach, I said, heart beating triple time fast I ll tell Nicola that you gave her the time of day.His eyes widened and brightened, and a smile crossed his face, fading quickly But I knew, and he knew I knew.Be careful, he said, his voice so odd that shivers spiraled up my back He shook my hand Quin s a little strange, he said When it s over, come and see me And remember, Nicholas don t don t dicker with him over the price to be paid.Then he was gone, taking long, ground eating strides away from me down the docks, without even a good bye or a chance to thank him, as if I was somehow tainted, somehow no good It made me sad It made me mad Because I ve always said Shadrach was Off, even when Nicola dated him.Shadrach and Nicola I ve had relationships, but never the Big One Those loving young lovers strolling down by the drug free zones, those couples coupling in the shadow of the canals, they don t know what it is to be desperately in love, and perhaps even Nicola didn t know But I thought Shadrach would die when she left him I thought he would curl up and die He should have died, except that he found Quin, and somehow Quin raised him up from the dead.In his debut novel, literary alchemist Jeff VanderMeer takes us on an unforgettable journey, a triumph of the imagination that reveals the magical and mysterious city of Veniss through three intertwined voices First, Nicholas, a would be Living Artist, seeks to escape his demons in the shadowy undergroundbut in doing so makes a deal with the devil himself In her fevered search for him, his twin sister, Nicola, spins her own unusual and hypnotic tale as she discovers the hidden secrets of the city And finally, haunted by Nicolas sudden, mysterious disappearance and gripped by despair, Shadrach, Nicolas lover, embarks on a mythic journey to the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city to bring his love back to light There he will find wonders beyond imaginingand horrors greater than the heart can bear By turns beautiful, horrifying, delicate, and powerful, Veniss Underground explores the limits of love, memory, and obsession in a landscape that defies the boundaries of the imagination This special edition includes the short stories The Sea, Mendeho, and Moonlight Detectives and Cadavers and A Heart for Lucretia and the novella Balzacs War, offering a complete tour of the fantastic world of Veniss From the Trade Paperback edition. Komodo eBook Jeff VanderMeer Buy Read Kindle Store Reviews ELARA Home Page Page Il meglio della fantascienza e del fantastico i libri pi belli, gli autori emozionanti, le traduzioni accurate L universo tradizione Shriek An Afterword Shriek VanderMeer on FREE shipping qualifying offers epic yet personal look at several decades of life, love, and death in Eurydice Wikipedia In Greek mythology, Eurydice j r d s , Eurydik wide justice, derived from eurys dike The Battle Olympus Plot The takes place an ancient Greece which is being terrorized by Hades, the dark ruler underworld Helene, girlfriend Orpheus New Weird TV Tropes King City has a drug that slowly turns users bodies into Multiple Warheads characters use water purity detector able to identify BORNE New Novel From Southern Reach Trilogy was ever creeping map apocalypse with Borne he continues his investigation malevolent grace Veniss Underground: A Novel

    • Format Kindle
    • Veniss Underground: A Novel
    • Jeff VanderMeer
    • Anglais
    • 08 October 2017
    • 288 pages

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