Monday, April 26, 2010

Star Web By Joan Cox

'Jade was a Linker, one of that special breed of pilots who guide starships through the treacherous lanes of the Star Web via mind-control. It was a fitting profession for a carefree drifter. Jade had and wanted very few friends: Heglit, his mind-link partner, and Borget and Lista, the sensual, golden-skinned Benjos who could pleasure a man to death.

He had no ambition greater than the cargo run, no destiny deeper than the next hallucinogenic "joyhouse."

Then came the mysterious mission when the ship's crew all died or went mad... twenty three hours inexplicably vanished... and the most powerful man in the Star Web began chasing Jade from world to world.

Fate was drawing him on an adventure linked to a planet's future, a fallen aristocracy, and his own incredible past.' (The back cover)
There is no page for Star Web or Joan Cox. This might be the first time I couldn't find someone other than myself on wikipedia.

In Star Web there are space-port opium dens, interspecies threesomes that might involve siblings, a telepathic tree that also has a sex scene, and absolutely no semblance of a discernable plot. Somehow you have all of those things, lots of space travel, some galactic politics and a laser battle or two, and still you end up with a very shitty book in your hands.

Well, not entirely shitty, but not the hidden classic I have been searching for. Star Web is a somewhat entertaining fantasy/sci-fi book despite all of its faults. There are lots of cool parts and plots and dialogue, but they are all spinning in different directions. Have fun trying to understand this one.

Here is the plot synopsis: Jade is a dude who can mentally control space ships and stuff. Jade has yellow eyes, never wears a shirt, and often lets his hair down, which is supposed to be sensual or meaningful in some way. Really, this guy is never wearing a shirt, and the author accumulates pages throughout the book painfully describing Jade's chest. Heglit is some ornery half human who is somehow bonded with Jade and knows how to use a sword. They go on a flight and mind meld with the STAR WEB and when they come out, the crew are all insane or dead and they have traveled through time slightly. The ship is now theirs, so they pick up these two nymph aliens who may or may not be siblings and Jade has a threesome with them. Some politician from the center of the galaxy wants to kill Jade.
Heglit (who is probably also shirtless in this scene) takes the crew to his home system, which has been in exile for 200 years. They have to leave because Heglit's people snag Jade and run some tests on him, in which they find out Jade is the central galaxy politicians son or nephew or something. The cock rocker, the quiet half human, and the sex maniacs escape to the Benjor (pervert) homeworld, where Jade goes on some astral quest and bangs the aforementioned telepathic tree. There is also a telepathic dragon. Is anyone still reading this?
An example sentence: 'in the nowhere not-being place of the star web their brains created allegory to deal with unreality'.

There is a lot of that going on in Star Web, whatever it is. I tried re-reading a passage of this book while, um, high, but that didn't help either.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mission Statement

I have been into science fiction for a good chunk of my short existence and I have always had a good laugh at 'pulpy' covers from the 50's to present day. After checking out the blog goodshowsir and having even more laughs, I asked myself 'are there any hidden gems out there with covers this terrible?'. So I am going to read a ridiculous looking sci-fi or Fantasy novel a week until I find that diamond in the rough or lose all of my patience with this little project. Either way, this should be kinda fun.

Arbitrary rules I created for myself:

1. Blog posts are up every Tuesday.
2. No 'classics' in the genre. Starship Troopers and Neuromancer had some far out covers and if I come across those in a store I might share a pic, but they are a known factor.
3. I have to physically own the book. Luckily Chicago has plenty of used book stores to pick through and this shit is cheap.
4. I have to read the entire book with minimal skimming. I am not a masochist.

See you guys on Tuesday!

Monday, April 19, 2010



'Regina and her bee-ladies, bored members of the elite, while away the idle hours by playing at conjuring the Devil - a game which leads to horrifying consequences. Alfred Bester's other novels include "Tiger, Tiger", "Extro" and "The Demolished Man". (the back cover)

Taking place in a city of the future, a group of bored wealthy women begin dabbling in ancient satanic rituals, unaware that their rites are actually working. The beast of pure evil, Golem100, is raised each time the group practices their ritual, embarking on a rampage of rape, torture and murder. The demon is tracked through the physical and spirit worlds by Gretchen Nunn, a master of psychodynamics, Blaise Shima, a brilliant and famous chemist, and a clever local police officer, Subadar Ind'dni. (

There were numerous things that compelled me to purchase and read this book- Alfred Bester is a somewhat respected name in the golden age of Science Fiction, the cover prominently displayed a naked woman being attacked by a lizard/insect demon... and it was one dollar.

Unfortunately this ended up being one of the worst books I have read in the genre, which is saying quite a bit. The three main characters- the topless black woman who is a hybrid shrink/mystic, some guy who is a scentologist or something and an Indian detective/philosopher- well, they chatter away like Gilmore Girls for 200 pages of this novel. There are also illustrations of the annoyingly weird journey through the id that they go on, while under the influence of some radioactive isotope drug thing:

Unfortunately the dialogue in between the illustrations does nothing to clarify what is going on. At first I thought maybe I just wasn't getting it, but a quick re-read of a chapter later and it was pretty obvious there was nothing to get.

Golem100 is a murky, nearly incomprehensible book. I really wish I could talk more about the plot, but it rarely made sense. Some eccentric club of idle rich women attempts to summon the devil, but instead they conjure up their sexual urges in demon form. The demon (named Golem100 because its like, evil to the 100th power, man) goes on a boring murderous rampage whenever the 'bee ladies' perform their over the top rituals. At one point they try to summon the devil in BINARY. There is a necrophiliac thrown in at one point just so he can killrape a character in deus ex machina fashion. Yep, and this was all meant to be comedic.

Synopsis: fifty pages of decent action driven sci fi/horror, and then 330 pages of diluted psychobabble and condensed dick jokes. There are some cool moments, but would you sift through shit for a few quarters?