Old Venus edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Once upon a time we looked up in the sky and saw a planet. Shrouded in a layer of impenetrable clouds we could only guess what wonders were on its surface. Clouds usually indicate rain so was this a planet of torrential downpours feeding massive jungles and immense seas? What strange life lurked beneath the clouds of Venus? Were there crumbling and decadent civilizations there as there might have been on old Mars? Or was this a planet of wilderness with jungles, swamps, and seas teaming with wondrous and monstrous varieties of life?
Well it’s not. Science has since revealed that the surface of Venus is hotter than Mercury (the planet closest to the Sun) and covered with clouds of sulfuric acid and an atmosphere that is 96% carbon dioxide. Nothing has ever lived on the surface of Venus, and perhaps never will.
But what if it were different. What if Venus could support life? What if all those old stories were true? What sort of a world would Venus be? What kind of species would live there? What would life there be like? What kind of adventures would be waiting there for those Earthmen brave, or foolish, enough to travel there?