Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Bizarro Classic Sci-fi novels #8 features the orgasm drive

Over the summer I did a ten week countdown of my favorite horror novels of all time. I had fun doing it and seems based on the numbers that a lot of people were were reading them. I enjoyed the discussions and so I decided to do another top down. So here are some rules, one book by each author because in this list it runs the risk of becoming the Philip K.Dick list. The second rule is nothing published in the 21st century. There are great gonzo sci-fi novels released in the last thirteen years for sure, The Skinner by Neal Asher and Dr. Identity by D.Harlan Wilson are great examples. They are great but we are talking old school now. The more weird the better, they can be serious or totally funny, the most important thing is that they are bizarro and awesome.

10.Shockwave Rider By John Brunner

9. Transmaniacon by John Shirley

Number 8 is :
Released: 1982 (year)

The plot: The Void Captain's Tale is a strangely erotic anarchist tinged Science Fiction novel that is like no other far future novel you are likely to read. It takes place during a second space faring age of humanity very far into our future. Humans travel the void by means that are less technology as they are uh...sensual. Space drives are a mystery run by symbioticly linked to women pilots. This interface is dangerous and shortens the life of the void pilots. This moment of transition in the void takes the pilot out of space time and is a very, very satisfying feeling. The orgasmic feeling is so intense that it drives the pilots insane.

The Weirdest Aspect: This is a very weird Sci-fi novel that takes itself seriously. I could explain the deep space drive on the ships as an orgasm drive and it wouldn't be far off. It makes sense and works in the context of the novel. This book is so detailed in the cultural stuff it is quite amazing, Language in the book jumps mid phrase from a future mishmash of English, Japanese, Spanish German and French.

What does it say about our world? This book is in many ways a statement on freedom in a cultural and sexual sense.

Bottom line is it good? The Void Capitan's Tale is set in the same universe as Spinrad's novel Child of Fortune. I enjoyed this novel but less adventurous Sci-fi readers might have a problems with this very strange setting. The Void-pilots are like a horny 14 year-old's twist on the spice navigators in Dune. Spinrad is a genius and an amazing Sci-fi writer but I have a feeling he was giggling a lot when he outlined this idea. The biggest weakness is how Hetero-normative this universe is when the culture of this future is supposed to be totally free-love. I would chalk that up to the times but this was eight years after Samuel Delany's Dhalgren and certainly both Leguin and Delany had lots of non-Hetro cultures in sci-fi.

The Author:
Again this is not Spinrad's best just his best-most weirdest novel if you get my thinking as for why it's on the list. I considered his second novel Men in the Jungle (a Veitnam allegory, my first Spinrad recommended to me by Cody Goodfellow) was written the same year Star Trek premiered and had a villain who ate babies. Spinrad has many excellent novels some highlights include Barron Bug Jack, Iron Dream and Greenhouse Summer. His novella Street Meat in his novella collection Other Americas is also a personal favorite of mine. He also wrote an episode the the OG Star Trek the classic episode Doomsday Machine.

Honorable mention of the week: Songs of the Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke

David Agranoff is the author of two published novels the Wuxia Pan style horror fantasy crossover "Hunting The Moon Tribe," and the satire "The Vegan Revolution With Zombies. He is also the author of the Wonderland award short story collection "Screams From a Dying World." His next novel Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich is due to be released soon by Deadite press.

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