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This is 1984 meets Naked Lunch-pretentious scifi that took too long to read. Government conspiracy/controlled state on the colony of Venus mixed with weird hallucinatory esoterica. A convoluted story filled with morphing and randomness and what-the-fuck moments.

The characters are wooden-stuck in the “n-scape,” or they’re flower-addicted, or in withdrawal states. They travel around in time and space and have alternate selves, leaving the main characters either muted or lacking.

When the “action” becomes mildly interesting, new twists of weird, random, abstract nonsense are thrown in. Much of it an attempt to explore human consciousness, so much of it wasted: “The great anal horn of the world-worm presses all of its feces forward.”

Go ahead, read that aloud and try not to giggle. This is a perfect example of the random nonsense. The “world-worm” has no significance to the story, nor does it appear anywhere else. And why do I have to get halfway through the book to find out what a “g-op” or an “lp” actually is?

Apparently, this is the first novel of a series, but the last one for me. (Mitch Adams)

by Mark von Schlegell, fiction, $14.95, 248 pages, Semiotext(e) Native Agents Series, 501 Philosophy Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027, U.S.A.

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