SAR — John Robert Russell (1974)

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Publisher: Pocket Books

First Pocket Books Edition, 1974

Cover Art: Charles Moll

Plot Synopsis (of cover): “This is not at all what I wanted,” thought Gary, his jaw set as firmly as he could manage. Gwendolyn snapped her whip against the air, briefly silencing his inner monologue with a crack. “Boy, your mind wanders,” Gwendolyn reprimanded, “and your face is full of shadows. You will be punished. Then rewarded—with further punishment.” Gary picked the bikini bottoms out of his buttcrack. “Now see here,” he protested, “I had a very clear idea about what I wanted…” “Silence!” Gwendolyn interrupted. “You will not be heard, ‘lest your utterances are those of your unfettered agony! Your willpower remains only as a thing to be broken, a foregone conclusion. Anything less than complete assent will result in an embarrassment of switches!” As the wind chilled his bare thighs, Gary reflected on his lot. His past as a marine biologist had stirred exotic sexual urges—he had fallen in love with his bathysphere. It was a whirlwind affair, and resulted in heartbreak for the both of them. In an effort to recover, Gary sought help from an escort agency famous for its versatility. He was stunned and elated to see that, on the “preferences” section of the website, there was a checkbox specifically for his orientation. He realized then his mistake, and chided himself for jumping to conclusions regarding the phrase “sub play.”

Relatively Irrelevant Inside Text: So there’s a few different ways to cast off the chains of bondage. By their nature, these things take time, and are accompanied by years of hardship and upheaval. Unless you’re Sar. Sar gets captured, fucks his way out of trouble, kills everyone, and society benefits for it. I mean, “slay puss and kill bitches” as a rallying cry for the downtrodden doesn’t have the same kind of ring as “I have a dream,” but Sar is a man of singular character. Actually, let me be careful in how I phrase that. Sar is a singular man with no character beyond being sexy and powerful. That’s not to say this book isn’t enjoyable—it sneaks up on you a little, but you will have fun with it. The dystopian atmosphere combined with some curious post-civ tribe building makes for a well-crafted narrative that doesn’t spoil everything at the outset, which is a tall order when you’re preaching to the converted. I’m just saying that those of you who use this website as a guide for creating your Women’s Studies curricula may want to consider different material.

Rating: 8.2 Post-Apocalyptic STDs

Questions for Critical Cover-Viewing:

  • Given the nature of the rest of the cover, isn’t the phallic spaceship set over the glowing egg-sun in the background gilding the lily?
  • Is Sar a professional swimmer, or does future evolution eliminate the genes for leg hair?
  • Seriously, am I just never going to be able to read on the bus without people shielding their children from me? Follow-up: what’s the literary equivalent to Megan’s Law?

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