A unique SF romance, though less free-wheeling than earlier books in its series.

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JUNGLE BEAUTY GODDESSES

DIRTY BALL

Semimythological sisters return—and one may get too close to humans—in the lusty third book in George-Sturges’ SF series.

A group of sisters from the far-flung place called Ventopia tended to the delicate planet known as Earth in the first two books in this series. Earth was created by the girls’ parents—their father, DeMatter, and mother, Nebula—though it was their job as young goddesses to be “responsible for creating, protecting, and guiding various life forms” on the planet. One of the sisters, a girl named Afar, became a little too involved with humans; this book is, for the most part, her story. Simply put, Afar may be too attached to Earth’s first man, a figure known as Mada whose “masculinity was magnetic.” She experiments with Mada sexually (though avoiding intercourse) and, as he explains it, “stimulated me orally, extracted my DNA seeds, mixed them with her own, and planted them around the earth.” Afar even guides him to “Trees of Knowledge,” each of which holds “a secret that can be used for good or evil.” Mada was taught that a ruler should know how to control the masses, and after Afar makes him powerful, jealousy and murder erupt. The book ultimately revisits Afar’s sisters as well, taking up their stories where the second volume in the series left them. This installment, however, has a more earnest tone than the first two books, which involved horrors like rape and murder without losing their whimsical nature. The narrative here exchanges much of the earlier whimsy for the kind of heartfelt sentiment evident in Afar’s early feelings for Mada: “The more she watched him, the more she found herself falling in love with him.” As the romance develops, such passions can become tedious, though the sexual and other action keeps things lively. What will become of this man and his goddess? Though readers familiar with the previous books know that what will eventually happen won’t be good, how the story gets there proves a strange, lust-filled path.

A unique SF romance, though less free-wheeling than earlier books in its series.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-70706-532-5

Page Count: 153

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2020

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DUNE

This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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CAT'S CRADLE

A NOVEL

The narrator is researching for his book, The Day the World Ended, when he comes up against his karass, as he later understands it through Bokononism. It leads him to investigate Dr. Hoenniker, "Father of the A-Bomb," whom his son Little Newt says was playing cat's cradle when the bomb dropped (people weren't his specialty). The good doctor left his children an even greater weapon of devastation in ice-nine, an inheritance which won his ugly daughter a handsome husband; little Newt, a Russian midget just his size for an affair that ended when she absconded with a sliver of ice-nine; and made unlikely Franklin the right hand man of Papa Monzano of San Lorenzo, a make-believe Caribbean republic. On the trail of ice-nine, the narrator comes in for Papa's death and is tapped for the Presidency of San Lorenzo. Lured by sex symbol Mona, he accepts, but before he can take office, ice-nine breaks loose, freezing land and sea. Bokonon, the aged existentialist residing in the jungle as counter to the strong man, formulates a religion that makes up for life altogether: since the natives are miserable and there is little hope for changing their lot, he takes advantage of the release of ice-nine to bring them a happy death. The narrator's karass is at last made clear by Bokonon himself, leaving him to commit a final blasphemy against whoever is up there. A riddle on the meaning of meaninglessness or vice versa in a devastation-oriented era, with science-fiction figures on the prowl and political-ologies lanced. Spottily effective.

Pub Date: March 18, 1963

ISBN: 038533348X

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Holt Rinehart & Winston

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1963

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