I have to say that I dont know exactly
what to make of this book. Alternately sexy, silly, surreal, sensuous, and satirical,
its like nothing else Ive ever read. Id call it z-grade trash if it
wasnt 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 1950s 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 doesnt 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 thats far from the only New
Zealand reference hiding in Morrisseys strange universeI noted scarfies and
pounamuand Im 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
years SJV nominations.