This was my first foray into the world of Avram Davidson. Not so sure about this guy. The writing style was competent, the story… not very memorable. It certainly fits into its time. You know if a man lands on a planet and slips pretty easily into two or more vaginas within the first 50 pages (to be fair though the book is only 148 pages… alright now I’m laughing) you are reading a book written by a creepy white dude in (probably) America in the 1960’s or 1970’s. There is almost a pathology to it. It is almost incidental. The words related to any fornication could be substituted for relative words for eating a meal together and it would have so the same impact on plot and their lives.

They do the same sort of thing now but we are bored by something as commonplace as free-love, or consequence-free sleeping around with easy women. Instead we get rape and incest a la George RR Martin and sundry types. We’re all John Norman now!

If you contemplate this may all be wish fulfillment… you want to back away… slowly…

Anyway, I am not sure if Rork! represents a nadir in Davidson’s career. A simple “meh” moment, or he simply isn’t that good. I have a couple other books of his that I got off a personal library clearance.

It just wasn’t that special.


3 thoughts on “Rork!

  1. I just read Rork! last year and it was my first foray into the vaunted Avram as well. I felt similarly underwhelmed. I’ve generally felt the same about his short stories that I’ve read. I’m sure there must be something to his reputation, works that bear it out. But the fact that he gets named alongside Lafferty so often really baffles me. He doesn’t hold a candle.

    I was also glad and amused to see your thoughts about the fairly obvious sexual wish fulfilment too. Nobody seems to ever talk about this aspect of sf (and probably other lit) in that era, nor the present mutation of it in our own era.

    I did quite like the alien spider type things, but they ended up being a completely wasted opportunity for real mystery, dread, and wonder. They seemed merely sf props in the end.

    1. Since I have seen him mentioned alongside Laffertyas well, I will give him another spin or two. But underwhelmed describes it. It wasn’t bad, mind you, but if you’re being mentioned in the same breath as Lafferty…

      Since I have recently become Catholic in everything but the deed (if ya catch me drift) certain portrayals of sexual congress scream out to me. I read a Robert Silverberg book a few years ago about humanity basically doing all of their living in these giant, self-sufficient monolithic skyscrapes (The World Inside? I think that may have been the title). In these skyscrapers people basically played musical chairs sexually. You could walk into your neighbor’s place and start spooning another man’s wife (why the “convention” of marriage still existed in that world I don’t know) and the husband would simply turn away or go to another room.

      If, that is, he wasn’t already next door boning your wife…

      It was a really good book, but I couldn’t help thinking, “you wish, perv!” When I was about 40 pages into it, I said, “bet this was written between 1967 and 1973.” It was 1971.

      I am going to be doing a lot of talking about the subject of sex in science fiction as soon as I am done being tortured in school!

  2. I’ve wanted to tackle that theme for so long. I originally wanted to talk about how Gene Wolfe, himself a devout Catholic, seemed to have much the same protocol for ‘sleeping around’ in his fiction as his peers had. I used to think it was a blind spot for him because of the era he started publishing in. Nowadays I think he might’ve been doing some subtle criticism in there as well.

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