During one of my recent trips to the Land of Scorch, my lovely polymate Deb took me to one of my favorite bookstores in the Valley of the Blistering Orb: Bookman’s Book & Record Exchange. There I perused the stacks and shelves awhile, before finally ambling over to my favorite guilty pleasure: a single wire bookrack. The kind that rotates to display book covers stacked six deep. One has to really be dedicated to book hunting to ply these ancient arrays.
But I do it every time. Because it is here, in this lonely dusty rack, tucked up between the enormous magazine section and the book-haggling desk, that some of the best pulp fiction at reasonable rates can be found. Wonderful books with sensationalistic covers of half naked women, bearing lurid titles like Teen Temptress, The Nympho Next Door, or Sweet Wild Wench. Fifty-plus-year-old soft core porn? Yes, please! But I digress.
The point is, I picked up a book with the none-too-subtle moniker: The Man From Planet X. It cost me a whopping two bucks and brought me hours of the worst kind of entertainment. Well, maybe not the worst… The protagonist is an alien scientist here to do “scientific research,” which includes becoming intimately familiar with the human female’s anatomy. Of course. I’ll just let the author of this masterpiece, Hunter Adams, introduce our hero Pritan Lansol, aka Peter Lance:
In outward appearance, he was a good-looking, muscular dude, six-feet-two, with glossy black hair and brilliant turquoise eyes. His coppery-red skin had been biochemically paled just enough to enable him to pass as an ordinary, tanned, ruddy-complected human.
Inwardly, beneath his denim safari jacket and jeans, there were… well, certain very extraordinary differences from the human norm which were not immediately apparent to the eye.
Which means he has an enormous schvantz and he is not afraid to use it. He’s also telepathic, supernaturally strong and can move faster than the human eye, all of which allows for some of the most ridiculously over-the-top, and therefore brilliant, action scenes ever committed to paper.*
I haven’t read anything written this badly, with such earnestness, in ages. Usually, these books are either eye-rollingly bad or laugh-out-loud hilarious. And though I admit I did laugh out loud a couple of times while reading this book, I was also completely entranced by the smooth transitions from smarmy, purple prose depictions of human-alien sex, to all-out invasion/action in true Ian Fleming form.
I mean, one minute ol’ Peter is researching the heck out of some rocket scientist bimbo, the next he’s taking on and subduing an army of machine-gunning miscreants with the help of his infatuated feline companion, the Siberian Tiger Tawnya. Naked, of course. I can’t make shit like this up.**
Which means it wasn’t really terrible. Cheesy, yes, with horrible dialogue that makes Showgirls sound literate but also very entertaining in a way only books written in the early 70s could be – baldly and innocently devoid of political-correctness. Nothing is sugar-coated. Breasts are “globular funbags,” penii are “ramrods of pure masculine intent” and the bad buys are sneering racial stereotypes. Here’s just a sampling of the author’s prowess:
The two young women , in turn, stripped Peter and fondled his lance – or as one might alternatively put it, they stripped Lance and fondled his peter.
“Before proceeding to further extremes of venery,” said Crystal, “may I be Mistress of the Revels?”
“Oh, do please, Lady Gwendolyn!” begged Velva.
“Then let’s you and I lie down in each other’s arms, sweetie, and spread our legs while Peter repeats his masterful performance on the grass the night before we took off for Africa!”
“Oh, goodie! What a keen idea!”
The minxes were soon embracing horizontally near the fire…
Believe me, it doesn’t get any better…
This book is pure Velveeta and I would give my left nut to turn it into a movie.*** There would be nothing else like it. Think Austin Powers meets Doc Savage as directed by Russ Meyer and you’ve just licked the buttery tip of that iceberg. Complete with international intrigue, a disreputable film crew, tiger telepathy and some of the most outrageous sex scenes ever written, its proper realization would be pure genius.
Alas, I am not in any kind of position to even begin thinking about producing such an off-beat and highly specialized feature. I mean, it’s right up my alley, but gathering together the millions it would take to pull something like this off? Way beyond my purview.**** It’s just too bad I don’t have one of those handy dandy Tharbian mind amplifiers Peter Lance uses, because if I could project my vision of this cinematic masterwork into the brainpan of a mogul with deep pockets, he would spring an instant money boner. Of course, we’d have to deal with the fact there is already a movie titled The Man From Planet X (1951), but does anybody remember it?
Who knows, maybe I’ll get a wild hair and adapt this brilliant turdfest into a script anyway, if for no other reason than that I want to experience the challenge. Well, that and the fact that the editing of my latest movie has been put on hold while the big man in charge’s current project is given precedence. I have no delusions that such a script will ever get made, but writing it would be fun. Doesn’t everybody do projects for nobody else’s edification but his or her own? I do. That’s why I am so enamored of artistic types; people who can create something extraordinary out of ordinary objects, just for the sake of doing so.
Now, you should know that accepting the epithet “artist” has never been easy for me – too itchy and confining, like a hair sweater – but I do emulate the lifestyle. I’m a writer by trade. I can say that because my writing has been both lucrative and diverse, allowing me to attempt such notable pursuits as screenplay writing, stage writing, radio scripting, columnist, celebrity interviewer, sex writer.***** The list of commercial literary pursuits actually goes on and on and on, but only a small fraction of what I’ve written for fun has ever been seen by anybody but me. I’ve got file cabinets and hard drives filled to capacity with such fare. And to date I’ve only released one anthology of my own. Well, that and a chapbook or two…
But I’m no aesthete. If by some random chance, somebody should take a look at something I’ve written and decide it must be published or produced, so much the better. I don’t actively pursue it anymore, but I’m always welcome to the opportunities. This probably doesn’t make much sense to anybody but me, but I have had a few instances wherein I have dusted off an old story and submitted it to an anthology, usually at the request of the editor. Why can’t it also work for scripts?
Of course, there are no guarantees, but a guy can dream, can’t he? I put a lot more stock in dreams these days than I have previously. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that I posted something about the pursuit of dreams being a waste of time. Funny how attitudes change, but at least mine is for the better. I’m a big dreamer and those dreams may just help me sail through the unpleasantness yet to come. If a situation appears hopeless, open up the dream factory and give yourself reasons to succeed. It’s working for me. So far.
* Yes, paper. It’s something ancient peoples once used to scratch information down so they wouldn’t forget it. You may have learned about it in history class…
** Well, I could, but why bother with gems like this floating around?
*** No big loss, thanks to Dr. Torquemada and his dastardly harpoon dildo, which seems to have left lingering after-effects centered on the above named gland.
**** Cancer is NOT a cheap mistress. Greedy bitch.
***** The same cannot be said of my other artistic pursuits, including filmmaking.