Veniss underground

278 pages

English language

Published Sept. 26, 2005 by Bantam Books.

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5 stars (2 reviews)

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 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 to the nightmarish levels deep beneath the surface of the city to bring his love back to light. There he will find wonders beyond imagining...and horrors greater than the heart can bear. By turns beautiful, horrifying, delicate, and powerful, Veniss Underground explores the limits of love, memory, …

5 editions

reviewed Veniss underground by Jeff VanderMeer

Yeah so what the fuck.

4 stars

This is probably one of the most fucked up, horrific books I've read. And I have read a decent amount of splatterpunk. Felt like a twisted mix between Cyberpunk and Dante's Inferno. We are following three people's point of view, and the book is sectioned off into three POV parts respectively, each longer than the last. Nicholas is a biongineer, or an engineer that creates biological constructs, who has fallen on hard times and is interested in finding the mysterious "Quin", a renowned biongineer who has created numerous "meerkats" and "elephantmen" who serve the near dystopian city of Veniss in many ways. Nicholas consults with his old friend Shadrach who points him in the right direction, but quickly gets in over his head. Nicola is Nichola's twin sister, a well regarded and successful programmer in the city who has lost contact with her brother after he seems to have ghosted …

Narration is World Class

5 stars

The stories are what you'd expect from VanderMeer. I enjoyed going back to beginning of his writing career after having already read the majority of his works. So many of the spores that colonize the other novels can be found growing and mutating within the grotesquely beautiful new weird landscape of Veniss.

Bronson Pinchot absolutely nailed their portion of the narration. He was fantastic in his parts for Ambergris and Area X, but this was next level. Just when I was feeling completely lost in the incomprehensibly weird atmospheres of Veniss, the narration allowed me to feel my way into an understanding that my logical mind just couldn't fit into.


  • Civilization, Subterranean -- Fiction.
  • Regression (Civilization) -- Fiction.
  • Animal experimentation -- Fiction.
  • Genetic engineering -- Fiction.
  • Underground areas -- Fiction.