The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Twenty-seven-year-old Charlie Johns regains consciousness and his bearings only to find himself, dazed and disoriented, in an alien world. As Johns experiences the world of Ledom, guided and taught by a humanlike and handsome race, he comes to appreciate the culture’s lack of contention and sexism, its refreshing celebration of the present, and its love of children. For reasons initially not made clear to the protagonist, the Ledom seem especially interested in his assessment of their way of life. In some senses a pastoral society, Ledom also possesses advanced technology. A force field protects their land, and they have the capability to implant knowledge directly. What most strikes Johns is the inhabitants’ serene joy and acceptance, an obvious embracing of life’s pleasures. The tone of their lives stems from a hermaphroditism that precludes even the possibility of difference. All people in Ledom are both male and female, and all parents are both father and mother. The harmony thus produced pervades all aspects of life in Ledom, especially the religion, and serves as an obvious contrast to and critique of life on Earth.

The narrative technique of Venus Plux X reinforces this contrast. Alternating chapters throughout tell of Charlie Johns in Ledom; interspersed are chapters telling a continuing tale of a recognizably mundane near future. The suburban lives of the Raile and Smith families appear empty and routine. Their values are permeated...

(The entire section is 557 words.)