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On a far-future Earth, where vast deserts - ecological disaster areas - surround walled city-states slowly losing their grip on advanced technology, the mysterious Quin manipulates biological engineering to create sentient species as both toys and manual labour. When Nicholas, a failed holo artist, decides to visit Quin, he - along with his programmer sister Nicola and her former lover, Shadrach - will discover just how dangerous it is to know Quin -- in the place known as Veniss Underground.
'Visionary episodes come thicker and faster, and at times the author only barely controls his own invention ... The denouement is as powerful as any I have read' MICHAEL MOORCOCK, Guardian 'An outstanding first novel brimming with startling ideas' Scotsman 'A dark, phantasmagoric tale that echoes Dante's Divine Comedy, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and the landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch' Publishers Weekly In this debut novel, literary alchemist Jeff VanderMeer has produced a triumph of the imagination, revealing the mysterious city of Veniss through three intertwined voices.
First, Nicholas, a would-be Living Artist, seeks to escape his demons in Veniss' shadowy underground - but 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 Nicola's sudden, mysterious disappearance and gripped by despair, Shadrach, Nicola's lover, embarks on a mythic journey. He must steel himself to visit the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city, to bring his love back to light. For on a far-distant earth, these depths hold perils that are both complex and chilling. There, he will find wonders beyond imagining ... and horrors greater than the heart can bear.
Veniss Underground is a critically acclaimed masterpiece, where dreams and nightmares entwine as three fellow travellers strive to achieve their deepest desires.