“Venice Drowned” is a 1981 science fiction novelette by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is about a tourist guide in a future, underwater Venice.
I Must Visit Italy
My wife has been to Venice, Italy, but I never have. That doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it though – it seems like such an amazing place! This story plays on a certain fear of mine however – that Venice will be ruined before I can ever get there to see it. I guess that is sufficient motivation to make plans right?
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
In the year 2040 a great storm raised the ocean level several meters, and that was bad news for the people living in Venice. Now that most of it is underwater, and the residents live on the top floors of the tallest buildings, the tourist industry has been reduced to scuba divers who retrieve ancient treasures. Carlo is a guide for many of those divers, but when he takes a pair of Japanese men to remove a precious tile mosaic he learns that he can’t watch his city be dismantled anymore. And that is a decision that may just cost him his life.
My Two Cents…
- I thought the setting of this story was the best part – a dive-able Venice would be both sad and very cool at the same time.
- Carlo was a great character. It was nice to see that the human will persevered, and even took pride in living among the remains of a once great and beautiful city.
- I very much enjoyed all the descriptions of the ocean. Although I live nowhere near the ocean, and I’m not really the sailor type, I am still fascinated by the water and the stories of those who traverse it.
Interesting Tidbits About This Story:
- Page Count: 12
- Word Count: 8,276
- Did you know that Kim Stanley Robinson’s Ph.D. doctoral thesis was entitled The Novels of Philip K. Dick? Pretty cool huh! You can learn more about this fascinating science fiction author at Wikipedia.
- This story was nominated for:
- the 1982 Nebula Award for Best Short Story
- the 1982 Locus Poll Award for Best Short Story
- Special thanks to Free SF Reader for pointing out this great story.
Where You Can Find Venice Drowned:
- This story was originally published in the 1983 Terry Carr anthology Universe 11.
- You can read a free online version of “Venice Drowned” at the wonderful Webscription web site!
- This novelette is also the lead story in the new 2010 anthology The Best of Kim Stanley Robinson.
Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?
If you liked “Venice Drowned” then you may also enjoy these 5 other science fiction stories that are set on the ocean.