Richard Blade #3: The Jewel of Tharn, Part 2

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To recap: sentient erection Dick Blade has been plunged into a new Dimension X. This one is sort of a futuristic dystopia segregated by gender, with genetically engineered neuters charged with running day-to-day life. Honcho holds Zulekia – Blade’s true love of the week – captive in order to force Blade to do his bidding. Honcho has thus enlisted Blade in an attempt to impress the backwards and savage Pethcines with his prowess so that Honcho can gain control of the Pethcine army. Unfortunately, this required Blade to decapitate that greasy hunk of man-beef Gutar after a naked, sweaty, heaving, and not at all homoerotic battle to the death.

Having pulled a giant sword out of a stone (gee, there’s an original idea), and thus impressed the Pethcine chief and his lascivious daughter Totha, Blade now spends the next few days or weeks or whatever knocking fur-skinned boots with Totha as she demands, although the thrill quickly fades. (I mean, she’s no Gutar)

And so we continue.

Blade pumps Totha for information about the neuter Honcho. She tells him that the supposed neuter has a thing for girls, though he can only watch, not participate himself.

Honcho had an unquenchable curiosity about sex. What the Tharnians called coi. He would take a Pethcine girl into seclusion, strip her naked, and finger and prod her and ask endless questions. What did it feel like to have coi? How often did they like coi? What did they do when they had coi?

Once, and Totha fought hard to restrain her giggles, once the neuter had brought along an artificial phallus, made of the omnipresent teksin, and thrust it into a girl and watched her reactions. And made those strange marks of his with a stick on a piece of flat bark. This was as near as Totha could describe a stylus and slate.

Strap-ons? We’re getting pretty kinky here, Jewel of Tharn.

Blade, in this extended exposition dump, also learns what’s up with THEY, the inhabitants of the city of Urcit, the upper crust of Tharnian society whose overthrow all this fuss has been about. For starters, they are all broads:

The Tharnian women had revolted, vanquished the men, and banned them forever from Tharn, keeping only a few prisoners for breeding purposes. The men, living like savages in the Gorge, had gradually evolved into a new race, the savage Pecthines. But racial memories did not die, and always the hope glimmered that one day the Sword, and Pethcines, would return to rule Tharn.

It’s now clear that Honcho’s plot here is for Blade, posing as the long-foretold god Mazda, to gain the Tharnian women’s trust, then allow the Pethcines in to conquer them, at the end of which Honcho will be left in charge. Honcho shows up in person after a bit to spell this out for Blade. Blade tells Honcho that he’ll only play along with this if he can poke his fave firecrotch Zulekia one more time. Honcho relents, and Blade has another sexy encounter with Zulekia, although it is somewhat constrained by the fact that the pervy neuter is doubtless listening in on the two lovebirds. However, Zulekia has a surprise for Blade:

She breathed the words, rather than whispered, as faint as a dying echo.

“When you make coi to me you must touch me deeply there! Very deeply.”

And by ‘there’, Ms. Z means her fish mitten.

Continue reading “Richard Blade #3: The Jewel of Tharn, Part 2”

Richard Blade #3: Jewel of Tharn Part 1

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So far the eponymous Richard Blade’s excursions into the various Dimensions X’s have found him in lands suspiciously similar to earth’s own historical epochs, if those epochs were very shoddily researched and featured a lot of buxom princesses with improbably healthy teeth. To be honest, this seems like a bit of a waste.

This is Dimension X we’re talking about! The sky is the limit! The writers could populate it with monsters, elves, robots, space pirates, lizard men Elvis impersonators, whatever they damn well please! Instead we get a thinly-veiled version of what British people in the 1930’s thought China must be like. Argh.

But friends, that all changes now. Don’t let the above cover fool you. Which it seems like it is actively trying to do. No togas are in the offing here, I assure you. This outing we are avoiding vague gestures at ‘historical’ fiction and instead imagining fantastic dystopias based on broad gender stereotypes!

As with all the ‘Blade’ books thus far, “Jewel of Tharn” begins in the thick of the action, with “J” and Lord Leighton discussing finances with the Prime Minister, and Richard Blade nowhere to be seen. “Jeffrey Lord” certainly has a keen grip on pacing. It seems Lord L wants a million pounds to continue his highly scientific ‘project’ of injecting a greasy, naked man into unknown and highly dangerous situations for weeks at a time so he can pork princesses and bring back unusual trinkets. Surprisingly, the Prime Minister signs off on this without much of a fuss.

I’m sure there’s a joke about British politics here somewhere, but I’m not British, so it is left as an exercise to the reader.

Meanwhile, Blade is having girl troubles. His beloved Zoe is leaving him. Not surprising, given that he keeps slipping off into other dimensions and sexing up everything with two legs and a loincloth. OK, Zoe doesn’t know about that, but seriously. It’s hard to get worked up about this girl being “the love of Blade’s life” when we know that he’ll soon be porking savage maidens from hell to breakfast. Let me tell you the number of times Dick Blade has thought about Zoe while he’s in Dimension X over the course of three books: Zip, zilch, and nada.

Author “Jeffrey Lord,” if that’s his name (spoiler alert: no), is endeavoring to drum up some pathos for Blade’s little domestic crisis, but all that is really interesting here is that we get some eye candy descriptions of the man himself. While this series supposedly caters to the rampaging hormones of straight males who are adolescent either in body or in mind, the fact is that Blade’s tawny physique and various, erm, ‘attributes’ are always far more lovingly described than the heaving bosoms of any of the sultry vixens he encounters.

Exhibit A:

Blade wore only a pair of white shorts. His body, so recently drained, was at ease, if not his mind, and he looked like a huge brawny tanned cat against the white sheet. He was well over six feet and built in proportion, with an awesome symmetry about him, so perfectly in scale, that a stranger did not realize how massive the shoulders, how oaken the thighs, until the stranger had occasion to see, or to feel, Blade in action.

How oaken the thighs!

Erm, where was I? Oh yes, Zoe is walking out on Blade, leaving him in their cozy little Dorset cottage for the last time to drive to London. Blade tries to change her mind with this winning bit of sexism:

Blade frowned: “That’s women’s logic – which means no logic at all.”

Alas, this sensitive plea falls on deaf ears.

Blade helps Zoe carry her luggage out to her car – apparently, called a ‘Minx’ – and she drives off into the sunset. Or dark, I have no idea what time of day it is.

Freed at last from the minx, er, Zoe, Blade can answer duty’s call. Before you can say “grease me up, Scotty” he’s wearing a loin cloth and Lord L is taping wires to his body.

Blade closes his eyes, a switch is thrown, and he opens them to find himself in

Continue reading “Richard Blade #3: Jewel of Tharn Part 1”

tl;dr?

Hey pulp fans, I’m about to get back in the saddle with the next Blade book review! I’m sure you’re all waiting breathlessly.

The next post ran long; so long, in fact, that I’m splitting it into two parts. I may do more of this going forward.

could write shorter reviews, admittedly. Is it necessary to give you a blow-by-blow of every pointlessly convoluted plot twist this series indulges in? No. But if I shorten these reviews that would almost certainly mean that I wouldn’t have space to bring you all the breathtakingly ridiculous, silly, racist, or misogynistic bits of actual purple prose that make up these books.

I’m just mining these books for the good stuff, people. Sometimes when you do that you strike a lot of gold.

So bear with me and thanks for reading.