Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Baroness #6 - Sonic Slave (Paul Kenyon, 1974)

Instead of the usual hero introductory opening chapter this one kicks off with establishing the threat. A lonesome rider arrives to some god forsaken village/oasis in the middle of the desert and finds all of its population dead. None of the victims has visible wounds but they are all bloated and starting to decay. And right away we get the first LOL moment. Because I don't think you have to be some badass secret agent to figure it out that those unfortunate souls were killed with some sort of a nasty WMD and to get a fuck away as soon and as fast as possible. Instead this idiot takes his time to unpack his gear and starts sending Morse (!!!) encoded messages to his headquarter. Sure enough, body count meter starts rolling.

So we need to wait a chapter to meet the Baroness. And it's well worth waiting. She buys a horse for a million bucks at a high society auction in Kentucky and then fucks some aristocrat. In his stable! And why? To make this guys's stud horny so it would fuck her recent acquisition!

Great stuff, I was hooked! Unfortunately it doesn't keep up with sustaining such madness and loses lots of that initial momentum as it progresses. You can read all the details on the ultimate source for Men's adventure novels at Glorious Trash and there are some useful links on the author's website so I'll just list some of my major likes and dislikes.

Our heroine herself is of course uber cool but she should be more bitchy! All the aristocratic and modelling crap somehow doesn't fit her although some of those "darlings" are quite funny. It needs to be said that the villains in this one definitely steal the show from her. Pair of them is so delightfully insane that I decided to add the 'bad guys' section to the facts. Have been considering this for some time and these two loonies are perfect for its inaugural edition. So scroll down a bit for details.

Next cool thing - Gadgets! And more Gadgets! And even more crazy Gadgets!

  • Wearing computer (=computer that one wears) with millions MOSFET devices built in. MOSFET? Metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor! And the crazy part is that they actually exist. To save you some googling, you can find the specs here. Considering this was published 40 years before iWatch invention, dare I say that Sonic Slave was ahead of its time?
  • Silent microphones (they pick up vibrations of larynx). In order to use them, Baroness and her team need to "subvocalize"
  • Radio transceiver built inside of mouth (with saliva used for its powering!) 
  • Drugs like Puromycin (erases the immediate memories before they become permanent) and Etorphine (ten thousand times more powerful than morphine). Not surprisngly by now (and little worrying) these too actually seem to exist!
  • Ultrasonic buzz saw

And what is not so good? I think it's too long. The whole thing about her team could be cut out. And it should have been since they are just another stereotypical group of beautiful people skilled in various deadly techniques but they don't contribute anything substantial to the story. Also that whole hunting affair should have been told in a single chapter instead of taking 25 pages.

Funny enough that I can't quite decide about the sex. There should be more of it (after that stable stud arousing thing she fucks just one more guy) but at the same time scenes are too long  They both take several pages and although language is pretty crude and the author certainly doesn't shy away from the occasional fuck or cock, the style is far from sleaze or porn. Wikipedia describes it as "graphically poetic pulp tradition" which I think it's accurate enough for stuff like this:

Her melonlike bizaz was digging into his chest, and the little man between his legs was stretching and waking up.

[After already "climbing in the pulpit four times so far"] she reached between his legs and found the axe handle sprouting there... and after a couple of pages... she reached down for the torpedo shape protruding between her legs

But all in all, great fun and I will most certainly check the others of the series. Wish they were a bit cheaper goddamn!

I'm off now to sign the petition to make these novels available as e-Books.

4/5

Facts:

Hero
Penelope St. John-Orsini aka Penny aka The Baroness. Code name The Key

The Baroness was a compelling beauty whose face had been seen on all the major fashion magazines. A glossy black mane framed wide sculptured cheekbones, enormous emerald eyes, an exquisite nose and a generous mouth with strong white showing now in a dazzling smile. She was a tall, supple-bodied woman in her early thirties, with broad shoulders, tapering torso and flared hips. There was an athletic bounce to all her movements.

Most women would have struggled, or tried to kick the man behind them. But the Baroness had a set of of one hundred and twenty-four possible reflexes programmed into her nervous system to deal with the problem of being grabbed from behind. The basal ganglia in her brain automatically chose the correct response for the situation.

"The sheik tells me you're bad woman," he said.
"Positively wicked, darling," she said.

Bad guys:
Octave Le Sourd is a crazy/genius scientist with ultra hearing capabilities who wears a bat in his hair. Yes, you did read that correctly. I'm not sure how it is possible but he indeed wears a fucking bat in his hair!

But the undisputed star of craziness and extravaganza is the Emir of Ghazal. Horny bastard with 347 children. With Terry Gilliam-esque thrones (one is converted dentist chair and the other is the golf cart; both of course covered with priceless jewels). With a couple of dwarf servants wearing diapers (wtf ?!??) and turbans. With an obsession for his pet falcon named Fakim. When Baroness kills this darn bird, poor devastated Emir feasts one day in honor of its memory and then declares a nation day of mourning!

Pure quality. Unforgettable!

Location
Briefly in Kentucky and Rome but then it moves to a fictional middle-east country of Ghazal.

Body count:  
Can only do a rough estimation. Not counting:

  • entire populations of the two small "mud" villages 
  • approximately 50 death-row convicts killed on the hunt
  • a bunch of tribesmen that Baroness takes on with a fucking tank!
  • Mad Max like desert battle where 3 tanks, several jeeps and even 2 Phantom Jets are destroyed. And there's a twist - during the battle all sounds are muted! (don't ask, it's a long story and too technical for us mere mortals to understand)
  • Fakim the falcon

And assuming that small tank commander has one gun operator and that Ghazal's chief jailer has three assistants we come to the grand total of 30 individual kills.

Object of desire: 
"You'll control the world's major oil supply. Europe and the United States will be at your mercy."
....
"Your secret agreement with Communist China will make them think twice."
...
"Yes. And when things have died down after a year or two, I'll wipe out Israel... The true successor of Mohammed."

Dames
see 'hero'

Unconscious moment
There was a blinding pain in her head, and then darkness, as final and complete as the end of the universe.

Title: 
Sonic part has to do with the sound based doomsday device. Slave part doesn't make much sense.

Edition:  
Pocket Books, November 1974

Cover
see 'hero'. Illustration by Hector Garrido. 

Cool lines
Almost, the blood drained from her face gave her away. She forced it back into her skin by concentrating on one of the simpler Yoga dharana exercises... She forced her mind into another Yoga channel, pranayama, and felt her breathing slow down. She was going to have to be fatalistic. If she was blown, she was blown.

She kicked him in the balls. But he didn't have any balls. The kick that would have disabled a normal man just left him standing there, looking slightly greenish.

"This is a knife that gelded my father," he said proudly. "He was chief eunuch before me, in harem of Emir's father."

"It's always nice to be mutilated by a family heirloom," she said dryly.

2 comments:

  1. Great review! Ironically enough I've recently decided to read this series again...I have a new review of volume 1 coming up on my blog the week after next, if you're interested.

    ReplyDelete
  2. sure, looking forward to reading it.

    and thanks for the nice words. means a lot coming from the master ;)

    ReplyDelete