A MOUTHFUL OF TONGUES: Her Totipotent Tropicanalia

Paul Di Filippo, Author . Cosmos $29.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-58715-506-2

It's 2015 and armed National Guard patrols stalk the urban jungles of a North America dominated by a security-obsessed, corporate-governmental complex in this apparently sincere effort to prove that the phrase "erotic SF" is not an oxymoron. Life, for most, is a plague of shortages and disease. After meeting with devastating sexual brutality, secretary Kerry Hackett intentionally merges with a parabiologically engineered entity composed entirely of totipotent cells—the benthic. Super-human, super-sexualized and super-morphic, this amalgam of woman and benthic, who looks like a normal woman, is immediately off to the tropics of Brazil. There the "She Beast" comes fully into her powers through a series of fantastic (and graphic) sexual encounters. She can generate autonomous tongues (and other organs) as well as modify her gender, shape and appearance and do the same for others. For all her godlike powers and kinky empowerment, however, this new monster verges on the pulp-era SF female, a sexually voracious man-eater to whom men ecstatically succumb with lots of slime involved. Di Filippo (Ciphers; Ribofunk) transgresses and subverts enough to push SF to its brink, but outside of genre he is nowhere near the erotic edge. His truly wondrous wordcraft—a lush and sometimes playful use of language—is reason enough to admire this short, possibly satiric novel. (Oct.)

FYI:Di Filippo is also the author of Strange Trades (Forecasts, Aug. 20, 2001), a story collection.

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
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