Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite
What a sexy book. If you want to read homoerotic, hyper violent romance, Poppy’s your author. There’s a lot of supernatural romance out there, especially that involving vampires, and even involving gay men. I’ve even written some myself.
But this was long before the boom and even now, even with this overwhelming mass of similar books, Exquisite Corpse stands out as ahead of the curve, controversial and emotional all at once.
I went from this to read her other works, which are similar, but it was this one, and particularly the final scene, which I won’t spoil, that pushed it over the edge both in terms of societal acceptance and into my favourites. I love a questionable moral and even better one that spellbinds you utterly.
Atta by Francis Rufus Bellamy
Mixing things up a bit. This is a novel I bought in the last year or so, so I actually remember it. And I hate it! I mean, you have to forgive older science fiction as products of their time. Because of this, rampant sexism, homophobia, white male privilege and so on becomes commonplace and glossed over, which isn’t great to put it lightly.
Anyway, this has all that I’m sure, but what it also has is an absolute moron as a main character. He gets shrunk early on without knowing what’s happened and it takes him until the end of the book to realise what has happened. He even befriends an ant (the titular Atta) for God’s sake.
I mean sure, he probably hadn’t seen Honey I Shrunk the Kids, but he’d surely opened his eyes at some point and seen an ant? Or a blade of grass.
Anyway, this infuriating idiocy actually makes the book kind of an entertaining science fiction comedy, so I finished it. Though I will never revisit.
Taronga by Victor Kelleher
God, I used to love Victor Kelleher. Aussie YA? Yes, please. And this was animals and magic and a young man who I found to be oh-so-similar to me, so it was perfect.
This is the only one of his that I’ve kept because it has the special significance of being the first of his I ever read. I recall none of the other titles, anything about their plots or anything, but he and this book will always have a special place in my heart.