If sexual fetishism is fuelled by forbidden and unattainable desires, then the ultimate sexual thrill must be love for the extraterrestrial, literally that which is not of the earth. Mercury de Sade, “male, Caucasian, thirty years old, unmarried, computer programmer”, suffers from such a condition, pathologised as Exophilia. From the fact that this condition exists, and that the tabloid papers regularly contain stories of Earthlings being molested or worse by little green men, but there is no record of the reverse, the author concludes that one of three things must be true:
- Extraterrestrials do not exist.
- Extraterrestrials exist, but they do not visit Earth.
- Extraterrestrials exist, and they do visit Earth, but they avoid exophiles.
Such is the kind of thinking that characterises the extraordinary, brilliant Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish from the creator(s) of Supervert, which marries centuries of thinking about the possibilities of extraterrestrial life with Sadean wit and imagination.
Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish is not a novel, but a collection of interleaved case histories, categorised according to the methods of set theory, and consisting of Alien Sex Stories (ASS), Methods of Deterrestrialization (MOD), Lessons in Exophilosophy (LIE) and Digressions and Tangents (DAT). It can be read linearly, or reordered according to the will of the reader, in the manner of BS Johnson’s The Unfortunates.
ASS is a stream of sexual vignettes: Mercury de Sade’s encounters with imaginary, potential lifeforms, such as the cunnilinguistic beings of Pi in ASS 16, whose females are both sexual and semantic objects. Each female stands for something, and communication is achieved by fucking the desired symbol. “In this way, a simple statement such as ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ required at least a threesome, and heated arguments would culminate in orgies that bordered on senseless babbling.” But their vocabularies are necessarily limited by the availability of sexual partners, and exophiles such as Mercury de Sade would be rewarded for introducing new lexical objects by being allowed to frolic in the pastures of speculative discourse, a joy for the exophile “insofar as metaphysical propositions were formulated through acts of creative sodomy and abstruse areas of aesthetics were illuminated by variations in the sadistic treatment of nubile alien girls.” Mercury de Sade plunders the constellation camps of a horoscopically divided Earth to bring fresh Virgo girls to Pi, arranging them in increasingly distorted positions to educate the Pis in the concepts of art and literature.
In the MOD set, Mercury de Sade befriends a young woman, Charlotte, and we follow his frustrated attempts to turn her into Ninfa XIX, the 19th in a series of alien substitutes which he uses to satisfy his cravings for extraterrestrial sex. Such endeavors are ultimately unsuccessful, because Charlotte is incontrovertibly human, and the logical conundrums that result serve only to deaden Mercury de Sade’s passions. “Does Mercury de Sade not intend to make an alien out of her somehow? Well, but how? Where do you begin? You can’t saw off her hands and replace them with tentacles – or rather, you can, but how do you know aliens have tentacles? If you attach tentacles to her arms, might you not just succeed in making her into an octopus? Isn’t there a tremendous failure of imagination here?” Still, Mercury de Sade can perhaps gain some benefit from the fact that Charlotte’s abusive, hated father is the billionaire owner of a flotilla of satellites, their positions and access codes stored in the computer in an office to which she has access…
LIE contains the author’s meditations on the history of exophilosophy, beginning with the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras’ theory of the plurality of worlds. Anaxagoras believed that the moon was inhabited and that the first life fell to earth from space, riding in on comets and asteroids, a concept that later scientists would christen panspermia. The notion of the plurality of worlds originates in the concept of mind or nous existing independently of matter, and since mind gives order to the universe, it must be coextensive with it. Exophilosophy moves on, through, inter alia, the theories of John Locke, who introduced the question of whether aliens and man could communicate as one of the tests of his assertion that all ideas derive from experience, and Arthur Schopenhauer, whose characteristic pessimism admitted the possibility of extraterrestrial life, but concluded that if it exists, it must be “as despicable, boring and inane as life on Earth.” Ultimately, the author sees exophilosophy, like its less exotic brother, falling out of favour to be superceded by the exosciences, in a line that stretches from Galileo and Kepler to Carl Sagan and beyond, and by the relatively modern psychological doctrines of Carl Jung and Wilhelm Reich, who devoted whole books to the consideration of flying saucers. Ze notes, however, that, much as theology does not require a deity in order to thrive, so exophilosophy may continue regardless of contact. (One of the benefits of reviewing a book of interrelated, endlessly rearrangeable texts is that the reviewer cannot commit the sin of the ‘spoiler’: all endings, all climaxes, are but starting points for new and different readings.)
DAT, finally, sprawls out along non-aligned pathways of exotheory; here contemplating the novelty of extraterrestrial intelligence and the potential for the introduction of entirely new political systems and philosophical enquiries that are not merely extraterrestrial but altogether extra-planetary, there examining the cognitive theories of brain vs. computer, and the argument that the brain of the programmer, the future brain, slowly becomes a computer as it strives to eliminate all error, even that of thought and action.
Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish, as literature, is an attempt to attain escape velocity, to blast off from the dead lands of Western writings to explore new realms of intellectual and sensual endeavour. A treatise on UFOlogy, a novel of ideas, a radical reconceptualising of science fiction (which the author terms truth falsified), an overview of all Western thought, an extremely dirty and occasionally violent book, and much more besides, it is one result of Supervert’s stated aim to evoke a “unique combination of intellect and deviance. Perversity for your brain. Vanguard aesthetics, novel pathologies.” We look forward to reading the next instantiation, Necrophilia Variations, whose interests are perhaps encoded in the closing passages of ESF: “The vast distances of interstellar space can only be crossed by a being with incredible endurance and longevity… does this not also mean that, if exophilosophy ever does achieve contact, extraterrestrial life will not be living?”