The High Couch of Silistra

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews High Couch of Silistra by Janet E Morris, with a mass market paperback cover by Boris Vallejo.

Janet E Morris Boris Vallejo High Couch of Silistra

This sword-and-planet yarn was the author’s first novel, and given that its entire sub-genre tends to fall (at its best) into the “guilty pleasure” category, I think it’s all right. I certainly liked it better than the Dray Prescott book (Warrior of Scorpio) which was my last reading in that field.

The sexual content is more explicit than Burroughs or Akers would deliver, and about comparable with Norman, although without the Gorean sadistic moralizing. In any case, it doesn’t really rise to the level of erotica despite the protagonist’s status as her homeworld’s most celebrated courtesan-madame-sexual athelete.

The metaphysical positioning of the book seems to break with the Burroughs-Norman tradition of fraudulent cults fronting for alien gods. The main plot of Returning Creation—evidently the author’s title, restored in a later edition—is the quest undertaken by a semi-divine woman (the “creation” in question) to find her alien father on his homeworld. Most in her society are skeptical about the “seed-sower” legendary that identifies the god race to which her father seems to belong, but her experiences eventually vindicate the lore, and the story ends inconclusively with her accession to her heritage among her father’s super-powerful people. Seeing that I have the sequels already in my possession, I expect to indulge my curiosity about where the author might take the narrative from that point. [via]

 

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