“The Merchants of Venus” is a 1972 science fiction novella by Frederik Pohl. It is about a prospecting guide on Venus who leads a rich couple in search of ancient alien artifacts.
Like The Gold Rush
Have you ever dreamed about being a prospector? I have. Sure, it may be a little bit more difficult (or maybe just more electronic) now that it was back in the gold rush days, but the idea of discovering something worth a fortune sure is attractive! This excellent story has that “prospector” feel to it which, along with many other plot twists, makes this a must read if you enjoy adventure stories.
Audee Walthers lives in the harsh environment of Venus. He owns a little business and gets by pretty well most of the time. However, he now needs a liver transplant which is quite expensive, so when a super rich tourist from Earth comes looking for someone to guide him and his young girlfriend to underground alien artefacts Audee steps up to the plate. Things are looking good for Audee, that is until he learns some dark secrets about his client at the same time his liver is about to give out. Sounds fun huh? But don’t worry – there are even more surprises in store for our lucky protagonist and they are not all bad… I think.
Some Interesting Tidbits
- Word count: 32,884 (55 pages)
- Did you know that this was Frederik Pohl’s first Heechee story? Yep. This was the start of a fantastic series of stories and novels that eventually included the multiple award winning book Gateway.
Where To Find The Merchants of Venus
- This story was first published in the July 1972 edition of Worlds of If.
- You can read “The Merchants of Venus” for free online at Baen eBooks.
- It is also included in the excellent anthology Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked “The Merchants of Venus” then you may also enjoy “The Hated” – about an astronaut who has returned from Mars and the psychological problems he is trying to work out – also by Frederik Pohl.