Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Tropic Of Skorpeo Tropic Of Skorpeo
by Michael Morrissey
Steam Press

Supplied for review by Steam Press

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

I have to say that I don’t know exactly what to make of this book. Alternately sexy, silly, surreal, sensuous, and satirical, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever read. I’d call it z-grade trash if it wasn’t surprisingly well-written, with a remarkable turn of phrase, a fine grasp of language, and a plentitude of puns. Tropic of Skorpeo somehow merges Alice in Wonderland with the kind of 1950’s pulp SF that featured lurid covers adorned with half-naked women being ravished by multi-tentacled monsters, then adds erudite literary satire and throws in a packet of Pythonesque comic capers.

The plot turns around the adventures of the quadruple-breasted Princess Juraletta of Qwerty and the green-skinned Prince Rhameo of Skorpeo, and their rocky path to romance, harried by Punkoids, Slutoids Sleazoids, not to mention the maleficent machinations of Lord Maledor. It doesn’t help that in short order Juraletta is betrothed to the elderly Fissionable Duke, and Rhameo to the "ugliest life form he had yet seen", the Volgogthan princess Gloggwetafug.

Yes, that is a weta in there. And that’s far from the only New Zealand reference hiding in Morrissey’s strange universe—I noted scarfies and pounamu—and I’m sure there are more. Is this the quintessential New Zealand science fiction novel? If it is, then we are a very strange people! Another one for next year’s SJV nominations.

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