Cuban sci-fi author Yoss (Super Extra Grande, 2016, etc.) returns with another offbeat space comedy.
In the 24th century, humans have finally met aliens and discover that the protocol for contact throughout the galaxy is…sex. Josué Valdés is a Cuban “condomnaut,” a sexual ambassador living in a Catalonian space colony who brokers deals with extraterrestrials and boldly goes where no man has gone before. When news reaches New Barcelona that the first beings from outside our galaxy may have reached the Milky Way, Josué and his crew race to be the first to make contact and make a profit on whatever new technology they discover. Along the way, they’ll have competition not only from other aliens, but also from other spacefaring humans, including his archrival, German condomnaut Jürgen Schmodt. The story concludes with an alien sex surprise that readers may find comical or revolting—or possibly both. As in Super Extra Grande, the insubstantial plot is scarcely more than a framework to explore a far-out universe. Although the concept of contractual sex with aliens isn’t new (see also: Larry Niven’s Ringworld series), all its possibilities are fully explored here, although Yoss mostly cuts away before things get too explicit. However, there’s an unsettling flashback to 9-year-old Josué’s life, in which he discusses his desire for 6-year-old Evita. (He’s already had sex with his best friend, Abel.) At one point, Josué and Abel bathe her, “no longer staring at her naked body quite as innocently as we had the year before.” Later, Josué’s compelled to have sex with a morbidly obese woman, Karlita the Tub, which leaves him unable to perform sexually with any human woman and gives him an enduring disgust for fat bodies. Josué continues to long for the late Evita—who was raped and murdered by age 8—and tells readers that he calls “everybody with a BMI over 35” a “fucking whale.” Obviously, this sexualization of children and relentless fatphobia destroys what could have been another rollicking space tale—like the far-better Super Extra Grande.
A disappointing and disturbing sci-fi follow-up.