Tuesday, October 30


It is not true, dear readers, that the current administration has little concern for our safety and well-being. In a city depending on so many greenhouses and glass gardens for its food supply, hailstones have always been  dangerous and possibly fatal inconvenience - a danger so far largely indifferent to the ringing of church bells, as the custom is in such situations. 
This is why the Technical Team of the Arctic Administration has been asked to develop a new brand of "hail cannon".

“ Of course you can touch it,  dear madam”

 Powered by acetylene gas and able to fire six extremely noisy shots per minute, they are said to provoke a powerful shock wave that hinders the growth of hail, and turns it to slush or snow as it falls. 
 By a curious coincidence, the public demonstration took place in the same time as last week's Readers' Riot and largely covered the hubbub by its own deafening noise. But still more curious was the fact, anonymously brought to our attention by some of the protesters, that some of these devices seems to have been actually aimed and fired at the panicked mob, scattering it in no time.

“Isn't this one aimed a bit low ?”

According to the Boreal Beadle Brigade, this was due to a sudden accidental drop in the elevating gears of one of the guns, which changed its angle from 90° to 30°. Who are we to say otherwise... But we still advise the citizens of New Venice to remain safely at home in time of hail.

Saturday, October 27


Barents Boulevard has been in turmoil last tuesday when a riot broke out in front of the Black Pages Bookstore.

It had all started with a rumour that Luminous Chaos, a sequel to the local “cult hit ” and notorious roman à clef  Aurorarama, was a about to be released on October, 23rd, a perfect timing before the long stretch of “Wintering Weeks” that looms ahead of us. The public's eagerness, it has to be said, had less to do with the adventures and antics of the heroes, as entertaining as they may be, than with  the well-informed but somewhat indiscreet peep behind the scenes of our poletical “Secret History”. There was little doubt, indeed, that Aurorarama was the work of Orsinite insiders, and a weapon in their endless feud against the current Regent-Doge.

The Black Pages Bookstore: a lot to loot.

Accordingly, a crowd of  about three hundred readers had congregated in front of the bookstore early in the  “mornight ”, hoping to lay their hands on a copy before Peterswarden administration, already miffed by the satirical innuendos of Aurorarama, made a move to ban the book, as the rumour (or the promotional scam !) had it.

It was a huge disappointment when it eventually appeared that the book was not available at all. Believing it was another ploy from the Peterswardenites (or perhaps stoked by Peterswardenite  provocateurs wanting to cast the Orsinites as a source of civil unrest) the frustrated, angered crowd started to protest vehemently before smashing the widows and trying to loot the bookstore.

The dangers of reading
 (photograph courtesy of the Boreal Beadle Blimp Brigade)

Warned by the “Blimp Beadles” of the new Boreal Beadles Blimp Brigade, whose round fat shapes now quietly bob above the city, the Boreal Beadles quickly charged and dispelled the unruly mob, lightly injuring a few troublemakers.

However, Alexander Greenlander, the suave and knowledgeable owner of Black Pages Book, has taken a rather philosophical stance over the whole matter: “ I consider myself lucky to be a bookseller in a place where people would still riot for books.”

But as to the mysterious existence of Luminous Chaos, he declined to answer.

Wednesday, May 2


 Dear reader- if you are still, as we are, a bit grumpy about the election of the new regent-Doge, why not try and change your mind with the “dreampunk” cult-hit Aurorarama - the (largely fictitious but tolerably entertaining) story of last year's coup that dethroned the Council of Seven and brought us our Dauphin-Doges Reginald and Geraldine Elphinstone ?  Although it was only released in paperback  format yesterday, you would be well advised  to hurry while there are some copies left on the shelves, or while it is still authorized by the new administration: one can't really say that His Most Serene Highness Ole Peterswarden's cameo presents him in a flattering auroral light. 

The Citizens of New Venice flocking in mass to take heed of Mr Valtat's last "tweet".

Thursday, April 19


It is done, reader. The black and white balls of the “Unforeseen Forty-Ones” have been counted and recounted, and the winner is:

Peterswarden: the man behind the mitts

Yes, reader- Dr. Ole Peterswarden, the 51 years-old polar explorer and former Dean-Director of the Academy for Arctic Anthropology.  Some may still remember him as a close councillor of the Council of the Seven with a direct responsibility in the infamous Inuit People's Ice Palace scandal that had provoked their downfall.  Dubious as these credentials are, they were still convincing enough for the Unforeseen. 
If the victory over Pieter Van Reimerswaal is not a triumph (only 24 white balls out of forty-ones), it is still a masterpiece of networking strategy from the underdog. It would seem that his knowledge of the Inuit has been put to good use, for the Inuvik members of the College of Chance & Choice, who everyone thought supportive of the administration that has granted them civil rights, have apparently, and a bit inexplicably, swung over to the Peterswardenite side, thus causing a fatal landslide in the otherwise divided Sectors.
As we had a chance to say before, Peterswarden's platform strangely looks like a return to the old ways of the Council. It suffices to say that amongst his staunchest supporters were Simon Isbary, from the Boreal Bank, that former Council of Seven stronghold. We may expect a few changes in that direction during the months to come, though all observers agree on the fact that they would have to be cautious. The rival faction around His Most Serene Highness (if for a few days) Brentford Orsini is still a force to be reckoned with, even if the oncoming reshuffling of official positions may disorganize it.
HMSH Brentford Orsini himself had adressed his congratulations to the winner, wishing him to “remain loyal to spirit of the Seven Sleepers”, while our beloved Dauphin-Doges, whose position at the moment is not the most comfortable, have remained silent on the event.
The Wedding of the new Regent-doge with the Frozen Sea, will take place aboard the Dukedominion on the day of St-Mark, after a canalcade through the city. It promises to be a festive event.

For some.

Saturday, April 14


It is not for us to say whether it is a coincidence, but the announced release on paperback of all-time New-Venice  “litertainment” bestseller “Aurorarama” in these hours of poletical tension, seems to be rather well-timed.
It would be not be the first time that the powers that be would use works of art to trigger, steer, or distract from the public debate, the Council of Seven’s past patronage the Cliquot’s Cub Clubbers or last year’s Elphinstone Exhibition being famous cases in point.
Accordingly, some voices are quick to denounce the fact that the novel (notoriously suspected to have been written by one of our citizens under a barely credible french-souding pen name) originates from the very close circles around the Regent-Doge, who is the transparent hero of this heady saga.  An epic of the city’s refoundation, it is, to its critics, nothing less than a work of vile propaganda for the current regime.

 In a brave effort to remain anonymous, “Jean-Christophe Valtat”,
and his bottle of compressed English.

Or so says, Pr Corkring, a Full-Fledged fellow at Doges College in an interview for the Arctic Illustrated News  : “ This rather bloated penny dreadful has no other purpose than to blacken the memory of the Council of Seven and of its loyal servants and to extoll the dubious merits of the Orsini clique.”
The Doges’ entourage has been quick to refute this allegation, through Gabriel d’Allier, the current Prime-Preceptor for the Dauphin-Doges, who answered our queries through pneumatic post. “ I seem to remember than Pr. Corkring is a literature teacher. His first degree reading is a sad indictment of the current trend in Higher Education. It is well known books worthy of that name has four levels of meaning, and he did himself justice by picking the most blatantly vulgar one.”
As to the recurring rumours according to which he would  himself be the author of “Aurorarama”, Mr d’Allier dismissed them unambiguously  as “fiction.” 
However, as a gesture to appease these “futile debates”, the Cultural Council of the Commonwealth has announced that “Aurorarama” will be only available from May one – two weeks after the results of the poll.

Thursday, April 12


Where have we been, dear reader ?  Working for you and the community as the Regent-Doge’s Cultural Councillor. And what a fascinating year it has been.
But now, a few days away from the election of the new Regent-Doge, we felt it our duty to revive the New Venice News and cover this important event, a “feast of all firsts” for our beloved city. 
I know, dear reader, that the results are not in your hands anymore. The Council of the Sectors, for which you have voted last year, has now delegated its elective powers to the Unforeseen Forty-Ones of the  College of Chance and Choice. The last two candidates, Pieter Van Reimerswaal, current Exchequer for Exceptional Events & Every day Entertainment,  and Dr. Peterswarden, current Dean of the Academy of Arctic Anthropology, have been designated for the final race. It is the outcome of this seemingly aleatory process that we now expect, but not without, it has to be said, a certain anxious helplessness.
The system, indeed, does not seem as airtight as promised, and rumours of pressures abound in the corridors and lobbies of power. Nothing, of course, bubbles up to the surface, but it would seem that the eternal scourge of New Venice, all these clubs, lodges, secret societies, and so-called churches are giving free rein once again to their conspirative tendencies. And we all know, don’t we, where it ultimately comes from : the Forty Friends, our “Sleeping Partners” who, from their foreign haunts, dream of bringing us back to the days where they did their underhand business with the Council of Seven –peace be on their souls. That Dr. Peterswarden used to be involved in the Inuit People Ice Palace’s scandal, says enough, we think, about who is pulling the strings. 
Dr. Peterswarden’s program speak volumes in that respect : we all know what  “tightening the bonds with our historical partners” or “valorizing the assets of our immediate environnment” means : obeying the pressure, not to say blackmail, of the Forty Friends, whose only aim is the right to exploit our natural resources to their own ends.
Should we remind the reader what the Orsini administration, now rooting for Mr Van Reimerswaal, has brought to the city during its brief government ?

- The restoration of a line matrilineal descendants of the Seven Sleepers, and the building of the Seven Sleeper’s Memorial Mausoleum to house the effigies of our founders, thus legitimizing and ensuring the continuity of power in our city.
-       Universal suffrage, including women, for the Council of the Seven Sectors – a premiere in New Venice.
-       Equal rights for the Inuit citizens and creation of their own sector.
-       The creation of the Boreal Beadle Brigade for “daylight duties” in the Sectors, so as to counteract the power of the Gentleman of Night.
-       Restoration of the Winter Carnival, which has been a success despite a few unfortunate incidents.
-       Suspension of last years’ “Drug Decrets” which denied free access to self-knowledge to the citizens of New-Venice.
-       The “Chessboard City” Reform of the Arctic Night Light Act, ensuring equal hours of all illuminations for all citizens.
-       The “Heaven Harvest” program, with more than 200 balloons exploiting electrical power from auroras and storms.

Of course, it has not been easy, but this was only the beginning of a more ambitious project aiming at  giving to the city a complete political and economical autonomy. We all agree that there is still a lot to be done. The Boreal Bank, which has recently drifted away from the Arctic Administration, comes to mind as a target for  urgent reform. Justice, reduced to poverty as it is by years of neglect, must likewise be adressed as a priority, for what is a city without justice ? 

Wouldn’t it be a shame to see these painful but necessary efforts stalled and squandered by a return to the old, obscure ways of yesterday ? So, more than ever, fellow-citizen and citizenettes, it is time to speak your mind aloud and explain to those around you why the current administration deserves to be given the chance to finish what it has started last year. 

Maybe, who knows, your voice will reach the “isolated” members of the College of Chance and Choice.

Keeping the dream alive:
The new Seven Sleepers ' Memory Mausoleum off Symmes' Spit.

Tuesday, January 11


The Coanda Sled: New Trand in Transportation or... hot air?

Unrivaled sensations of this year's Council of Custom and Commerce Machines & Motors Market in Machinery Hall, the new turbine-powered sleds by Coanda seem bound to become all the rage in ground transportation. If it is doubtful that they are going to replace the propelled sled used by Subtle Army and the Jitneys Taxsleighs of the city, they could well supersede the Champagne Sleds on the Kingnes Speed Ring Rink and, beyond that, could well make their mark as a personal leisure vehicle outside the City Limits for all amateurs of speed. Their downside is that they tend to warm your backside a bit: even a bit too much, some say. 

The Champagne Sled: losing its fizz ?  

As every year, other vehicles have tried to contest the rule of the Bollee Sled as a family vehicle, but they have failed to impress the onlookers the way the Coanda did. 

The Debesse Sled: put on ice ?

Never say Nivert, but...


 Happy New Year 1907 After Backwards to our readers.

All due apologies from the staff at New Venice News. It has been a while since our last communiqué: a dark, cold, snowy while plagued with technical problems, that the endless collective hangover from New Year's Eve did not exactly helped to be solved in due time.

We are back in business, sort of.

The mushroom is a nice touch, we think.

Thursday, November 25


Underlined in everyone's agenda  tonight is the grand opening of the Elphinstone Exhibition at the Arctic Academy Of Arts. Paintings and Engravings by the two Elphinstones, Samuel and his son Ebenezer, will be displayed there until January, 21, 1907 AB.  
Especially awaited is the original of the famous “Elphinstone map”, etched by Samuel in 1907 BB, and which has been kindly lent by the Regent-Doge to the Academy. The show also features less known, but equally dazzling works, such as “The Seven Sleepers dream” which represents a magnificent, if somewhat fantastic, view of Central Canal.

You're not dreaming:  it's The Seven Sleepers' Dream, by Samuel Elphinstone

From Ebenezer, there will mostly paintings, depicting scenes of the New Venetian everyday life such as his famous White Night in Frislandia:

 It is going to make your day: White Night in Frislandia,

Unfortunately, his masterpiece, the endless Myriorama of the Frozen Sea, cannot be showcased because of a lack of space to accomodate its 24 gigantic panels. 
Of course, some of our most sharp-tongued citizens have promptly remarked upon the fact that Elphinstone is the name of our current Dauphin-Doges, and that Samuel and Ebenezer are respectively their grand-grandfather and grandfather. 
These critics go as far as presuming that this "coincidence" may explain the considerable ballyhoo surrounding the exhibition. And one of them even added that he was waiting impatiently for a retrospective of the Dauphin-Doges' father, the infamous Edward “Endlessex” Elphinstone, once the unrivaled leading man of the Circus Of Carnal Knowledge. 

People can be mean sometimes.

Thursday, November 18


As our perspicacious reader had doubtlessly noticed, we are finishing our first week without any solar light, and there is, to this day, still 94 days to go before our favorite star pops up again from its hibernation.
And like every year, there is a debate about the "Black hours" during which electric and gas  lights should be turned down.
As usual, the Arctic Administration leans towards  six full hours of darkness from midnight onwards, so as to ensure a little peace for the citizens and avoid power shortages which could have dreary consequences. 
On the other hand, the Council of Customs and Commerce pleads for shorter  or no "black hours", in the name of our economical activity, for it is well known that New Venetians usually fight the Boreedom of  Wintering Weeks by throwing money all around on the Marco Polo Midway and Venustown.
Taking a step further, the Council for Customs and Commerce has even urged the Senate of the Seven Sectors to re-establish and extend the duration of the City Carnival, a tradition which the Council of Seven had practically sentenced to death two years ago when  masks were banned in the streets for “security reasons”.

 The electricity bill, having a ball

The Regent-Doge has yet to express himself on that matter, but, one of his close advisors, Gabriel d'Allier, Prime-Perceptor for the Dauphin-Doges has accepted to grant us a little interview on these topics:
Q: What about the right amount of black hours ?
A:  It is difficult to say. No human life could thrive under these latitudes without a large amount of light. But no human life could survive either without its fair share of silence, sleep and dreams.  Beyond that, we all should be aware that  city lights  are a political subject and that, throughout history, differences in urban lighting have always reflected social divides. What we want to ensure is an equal access to both light and darkness. The Regent-Doge is working on what he calls a chessboard model, alternating dark and lit  zones that would change during the "day".  
Q:What about the return of City Carnival, then?
A: I have nothing against it, but I see no reason why it should be constantly floodlit. Darkness could even make it more, shall we say... interesting. I am especially impatient to see masks legal again. Their interdiction has been a blow to the anonymity, and hence to the freedom of New Venetians. It is no secret that it was the Gentlemen of the Night who were behind that unfortunate decision. Wearing a mask is always a little like sleepwalking, like carrying a piece of personal night even in the full  glare of the city lights.  It is too part of these dreams that the citizens need  in order to live a fuller, richer, more enchanted life.
Q: Has your taste for masks something to do with the fact that you are often taking our Dauphin-Doges on secret nocturnal rambles through the city?
A: I do not know what you are talking about.  

The City Carnival: these were the err.. days.