October 11th, 2012

politics

Links I found interesting for 11-10-2012

buzz

October Books 3) Conquest of the Amazon, by John Russell Fearn

I have no idea why I got this book. The cover art is quite remarkable in its own right and possibly caught my eye. (My wife wondered how the nipple shields might be attached; myself I wonder how much practical use they are in combat.) It turns out to be the cover for the wrong book; the heroine of Conquest of the Amazon is blonde and wears a white suit, whereas this lady is dark-haired and not wearing anything much at all. More critically, the cover suggests a sword-and-sorcery romp, when in fact the Amazon is a near-future woman using her super-powers to keep the space lanes clear from marauding Martians and treacherous if handsome men from Jupiter. I'm sure it sold well anyway - heck, I must have bought it (or perhaps someone else bought it for me) - but I wonder how many early readers suffered buyer's remorse after realising that it wasn't the Conan ripoff they were expecting?

I vaguely knew of John Russell Fearn, of course, but I don't think I had read any of his works before. This turns out to be the seventh book in a series of twenty pulp adventures of the Amazon, who acquired super powers half a century ago at the age of three, and is exercising them in the cause of Good. It is, frankly, not a good book, yet I got through to the end after tossing Dagger Magic aside because it doesn't take itself too seriously. At first I was tweeting particularly eye-catching samples of Fearn's deathless prose -
"Book me a reservation on the next helicoliner following the Mount Everest route."

"The end of the world is within sight. I thought you should know that."

"This woman has always been a smooth talker. She can get out of any tight corner by using subtlety." [Subtlety, eh? The fiendish minx!]
- but then I decided to just go with the flow, as the Amazon tries to simultaneously stop the Sun going out, hold back the glaciers, and resist the culture of the Great Red Spot. It's all utterly implausible, but it's a romantic portrayal of a future where a benevolent science rules and a superwoman saves the world. Short (126 pages) and rather sweet.