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The story was written with the notion that Venus was covered with watery clouds, so it must be hot and humid there. I remember the protagonist had to deal with mold or spores that would sprout instantly on anything exposed to outside air. I think there were hostile trees, too, that could lash out with its branches to catch and eat anything that came nearby. "jack catch trees", maybe?

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That's "Parasite Planet" (aka "The Parasite Planet"), a novelette by Stanley G. Weinbaum, the first story in his Ham Hammond series; the other stories in that series are "The Lotus Eaters" (also set on Venus but on the "night side") and "The Planet of Doubt" (set on Uranus). "Parasite Planet" has appeared in a number of anthologies and collections, and is available at Project Gutenberg Australia. The excerpts below are from the 1949 Weinbaum collection A Martian Odyssey and Others.

The story was written with the notion that Venus was covered with watery clouds, so it must be hot and humid there.

Luckily for "Ham" Hammond it was mid-winter when the mud-spout came. Mid-winter, that is, in the Venusian sense, which is nothing at all like the conception of the season generally entertained on Earth, except possibly by dwellers in the hotter regions of the Amazon basin, or the Congo.

I remember the protagonist had to deal with mold or spores that would sprout instantly on anything exposed to outside air.

One breath of unfiltered air anywhere near the warm edge of the twilight zone was quick and very painful death; Ham would have drawn in uncounted millions of the spores of those fierce Venusian molds, and they'd have sprouted in furry and nauseating masses in his nostrils, his mouth, his lungs, and eventually in his ears and eyes.

Breathing them wasn't even a necessary requirement; once he'd come upon a trader's body with the mold springing from his flesh. The poor fellow had somehow torn a rip in his transkin suit, and that was enough.

I think there were hostile trees, too, that could lash out with its branches to catch and eat anything that came nearby. "jack catch trees", maybe?

Ham trudged along, keeping always to the clearings about the Jack Ketch trees, since these vegetable omnivores kept other life beyond the reach of their greedy nooses. Elsewhere progress was impossible, for the Venusian jungle presented such a terrific tangle of writhing and struggling forms that one could move only by cutting the way, step by step, with infinite labor.

From Bleiler's review of "Parasite Planet":

Most of Venus is either impossibly hot or cold for humans, but the libration zone offers a treacherous possibility of existence. It is filled with parasitic forms, notably carnivorous fungi of horrendous reproductive rate that make life outside a special suit impossible. There are also horrible creatures like giant amoebas. The landscape, too, is a threat, being perpetually unstable, what with underground boiling and frigid rivers that burst into destructive mud eruptions and resultant sinkholes that swallow up huge areas. * Politically, the libration zone is partly British and partly American, although the traders that wander about in search of xixtchil pods do not worry about boundaries. Xixtchil is highly prized on Earth for its ability to restore youth and sexual potency. * Ham Hammond, American trader, is dispossessed when his hut is swallowed by a mud upheaval. Planning to make his way to the closest American settlement, he comes upon another outpost maintained by Pat Burlingame, a Briton who is studying the flora for the Royal Society. But Pat is a woman. They set up a battle-of-the-sexes relationship, but when her establishment, too, is swallowed, they set out together for civilization. Along their unfriendly way they encounter expectable perils, and at the moment of decision discover that they love each other. A mean trick that Pat seems to have performed turns out to have been a hoax. * Miscellaneous: Among the curiosities are Jack Ketch trees that try in a clumsy way to lasso their prey and friendly quadruped natives that speak a complex language. There are also fiercely hostile, semi-intelligent creatures (trioptes) from the cold side who wander into the libration area.

  • That's it! I LOVE YOU! – Ben Wellborn Apr 7 '16 at 3:58
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There is also "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis. Geoffrey Landis is a NASA scientist and he wrote this story in 2010 so it can't be beat for technical accuracy. Here is a partial summary from a Goodreads review:

Humanity has extended their civilization to other planets, but the strangest and most exotic society is the floating cities of Venus. Over half of the cities are owned by the titular "Sultan," who is now merely a twelve year old boy awaiting his inheritance. He will only capture this inheritance when he marries, and, by Venus tradition, he will marry an older woman who will teach him the ways of society, commerce and, yes, sex. When a visiting delegation from the outer planets arrives, the narrator is shocked at the age disparity in Venusian marriage, and even more shocked when the Sultan begins a courtship with one of the female delegates.

  • Welcome to SF&F Stack Exchange! This answer could be improved by adding why you think this story matches the story in the question. You could get some up votes for it... – kjw Apr 6 '16 at 15:52
  • It's set on Venus, but no mention of mold or spores. – FuzzyBoots Apr 6 '16 at 16:17
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This sounds a lot like a story found in "Old Venus" edited by GRRM. "By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers" by Garth Nix

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