Venus Plus X

by Theodore Sturgeon
Reviewed date: 2005 Jun 1
Rating: 3
218 pages
cover art

Charlie Johns wakes up to find himself snatched into the future and dropped into the land of the Ledom. The unisexual Ledom are the successor to Homo sapiens. It is Charlie Johns's job to act as an objective observer. The Ledom wish him to learn about their culture and hear his reactions.

Motivated by the promise of eventual return to his own time, Charlie Johns does as the Ledom ask, and learns all he can. The Ledom have nearly unlimited energy which they manipulate through force fields; yet they live close to the earth, preserving the knowledge of how to live off the land without machine aid. And being unisexual, the Ledom are unaffected by the gender struggles which plague Homo sapiens.

Venus Plus X is a book about sex. It's pretty good, too. Theodore Sturgeon digs right at the heart of the differences between men and women; or rather, the effect their differences has on shaping human society. Sometimes he makes sense, sometimes he's off the mark. Only once, when he launches into a diatribe against organized religion, does he resort to preaching. Overall it's a good book. Thin on plot when push comes to shove, but it's one of the few books whose conclusion is vastly more satisfying than expected. Sturgeon saves the best for the last few pages.

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