Taste Imperative: The (Unwarranted) Stigma Surrounding Graphic Novels is Alive and Well
One of the coolest science fiction sagas to hit the bookshelves in recent years is Christopher Rowley’s Netherworld trilogy (Pleasure Model, The Bloodstained Man, and the recently released Money Shot), the first titles from Tor’s Heavy Metal Pulp line, which combines the narrative elements of futuristic science fiction and gritty pulp noir with fantastic art featuring the themes, story lines, and audacious style of Heavy Metal magazine.
Yeah, they’re copiously illustrated novels – featuring 25-30 illustrations per chapter – and they’re unadulterated literary fun. I described Pleasure Model as “Blade Runner on a mind-blowing cocktail of steroids, Viagra, and crystal meth.”
Set in the near future (the year is 2068), Rowley envisions Earth as a post-apocalyptic, spiritually bankrupt world teetering on the edge of chaos replete with tyrannical government leaders; pleasure mods (highly illegal “vat-grown gene humans” with “the IQ of a pocket watch” that are built for the sexual enjoyment of both male and females); and an endless array of nightmarish, robotic killing machines.
When a burned-out police detective named Rook Venner is assigned to a bizarre murder case involving a former general with a shadowy past, his only evidence is a virgin pleasure model named Plesur. She’s a Pammie, modeled after a well-known blonde actress in the late 20th century. “Of course, her—its—vocabulary was limited, but apart from that it was a gorgeous young woman, bout twenty years old, with long golden hair, deep blue eyes, a pert little nose, and a large mouth loaded with heavy lips that worked like triggers on the heterosexual male mind.”
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