Runts of 61 Cygni C — James Grazier (1970)


Publisher: Belmont Books

First Belmont Edition, 1970

Cover Art: Uncredited (please leave a comment if you’ve any leads)

Plot Synopsis (of cover): Attention, boys of all ages (18+)! Cast your minds back to the time of your innocence, and remember summer days filled with youthful frivolity. Perhaps you had a treasured baseball glove, or a four-legged pal that would chase your bike down the cul-de-sacs of your midwestern suburban paradise. Certainly, you knew one or two lucky lads on your block fortunate enough to have a collection of comic books—perhaps you were that lucky lad yourself. Remember how the adventures of Superman and Archie Andrews would set your imagination aflame with possibility? And how, in the back of those comics, you were treated to golden opportunities to purchase miracle x-ray specs, high-tech two-way wrist communicators, or, most spectacular of all, the camaraderie and wonder that was the underwater universe of the Sea Monkeys? Remember, in your adolescent dreams, wanting to fuck your Sea Monkeys? Well, now you can*! Just send us your one-time payment of $49.99 (Ovaltine proofs-of-purchase no longer accepted) and we’ll send you an envelope full of cycloptic mini-sluts, with complimentary faux flora for frolicking fun-times! *Warning: For entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt intercourse with brine shrimp.

Relatively Irrelevant Inside Text: So, before you ask (you disgusting pervert), this is not actually porn. Well, I mean, if it is, it’s in that strange class of porn where there is sex, and it’s acknowledged that sex is happening, but the descriptions thereof are so vague and prudish as to miss the point entirely. Put it this way—if your parents were in this novel, and they were having sex as is described herein, you would not be made to feel uncomfortable. What might make you uncomfortable is the unintelligible, unscientific word salad used to explain, at length, the “science” of the novel. Besides having the worst grasp of relativity that I’ve ever seen (and I’ve read Bob Frissell), the characters and the narrator seem to enjoy simply stringing together scientific terms to form a dog’s breakfast of nauseating technobabble that, for some reason, Grazier seems really proud of. His characters, all four of them scientists, delight in sharing multi-page explanations of said “scientific” concepts to one another. Except that they’re all scientists, so they all already know, but they let each other ramble on like they’re all simultaneously really polite and sickeningly condescending. So, between being lectured at by the narrator and by the characters, and having that lecture be nonsensical and bizarre (waaaaaay too much time describing space food tubes, the physics of which do not require the level of exposition Grazier gives them), there’s not much to the tale. When they finally get to the alien planet they’re headed to, there’s some relatively adept setting creation, though it fails to redeem the rest of the novel. Final assessment—I wish this was porn.

Rating: 5.0 Percent Correct on Grazier’s Physics Final

Questions for Critical Cover-Viewing:

  • Is the cyclops in the background playing Marco Polo, or is she just really drunk?
  • Do you think that this is what they mean when they say the media creates unrealistic expectations of beauty?
  • Why do you suppose I kept getting funny looks while I was reading this on the bus?

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2 thoughts on “Runts of 61 Cygni C — James Grazier (1970)

    1. It’s really just an excuse to buy more books, though that WordPress money is pretty sweet. I’ve got enough yachts to qualify as a “fleet” now. Thanks for reading!


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