The Moonlovers, by Olaf Lornquest
January, 1975 Pinnacle Books
One of the dumbest, worst books I’ve ever read, The Moonlovers is a sleaze novel with sci-fi trappings. One gets the impression that it is intentionally stupid – the author clearly didn’t intend for it to be taken seriously – but that doesn’t change the fact that it is, ultimately, stupid. It’s also a waste of the reader’s time…not to mention the narrator’s.
As with most terrible books, I get the impression that the story behind The Moonlovers is more interesting than the novel itself. “Olaf Lornquest,” clearly a pseudonym, writes his sleaze in that sort of Loeb Library-esque fashion; ie you see the words “manpost” and “manrod” a lot, and phrases like “engine of copulation” and “mount of Venus,” rather than the more sleaze-traditional anatomical terms, which are only used sporadically. In other words, the novel is written to the sleaze standards of a decade (or more) earlier, even using that same sort of faux-formal narrative style.
So my assumption is this: the novel is a holdover from Pinnacle’s earlier days as sleaze imprint Bee-Line. Maybe it was written in the ‘60s by someone who ended up being an editor at Pinnacle and thought they’d publish it as a lark or something. Who knows. At any rate I’m willing to bet this was written well before the mid-1970s. As further proof, the novel occurs in 1978, only three years after the publication date, yet it features interstellar space travel, aliens, and a voyage to the moon; tellingly, man’s first trip to the moon, in 1969, is never mentioned. Likely because it hadn’t yet happened whenever the book was actually written.
Anyway, it’s 1978. Our narrator, astronaut Stan Bailey, is about to head into space on his latest voyage – no mention of anyone else on his rocket, another indication of this predating the Apollo program. But Stan is nonplussed to discover he has a stowaway, once the capsule has disengaged from the rockets and gone into space – none other than Valerie Hobbs, his mistress of the past eight years, and the wife of his best friend(!). That “Val” could even live through takeoff without oxygen is brushed over – she claims she hid on a moonrover or something – so Lornquest can focus on the more important stuff; to wit, that Val has caught Stan “in the act” of fondling “Roscoe,” ie his pet name for his “manpost.”
Valerie, pointedly described as not “traditionally” attractive but still sexy, is a mother of two with somewhat “sagging” breasts who makes her living as a singer and classical pianist. Stan spends the first fifty pages flashing back to how they became an item: after initial interest, the fireworks started one night when Val’s car broke down outside the home of Stan and his wife, Ginny, and Val ended up spending the night there with her two kids. That night she and Stan began their affair, which has now lasted for eight years. Valerie didn’t want to be without Stan during this latest trip into space, so snuck onto the rocket to be with him for a few days!
When the sleaze occurs, it’s written in that formal/highfalutin style you’d encounter in such books from the ‘60s or even ‘50s:
The weightless state was amazing in the comfort and relaxation it afforded. Perhaps it was for this reason that I felt myself having a beautiful erection. Cupid’s javelin was extended farther than I could recall having seen it before. The spearhead was large, and drops of love dew were accumulating at the little mouth. It pulsated triumphantly in response to my heartbeat. Val eyed it admiringly.
“Oh, put that lovely thing inside me,” she said.
Lornquest, curiously, seems more game to have Stan describing his own “javelin” rather than the protuberances of Val or the other women he has encounters with. Also curious, and off-putting, is how Lornquest feels the need to focus on bodily waste or injury from sex; for the former, we have Val peeing into a sort of zero-gravity funnel moments after announcing her presence in the capsule; and for the latter, Val is injured horribly during an orgy with aliens(!), and Stan himself is put through a Pavlovian experiment where he’s hit in the balls anytime he gets sexualy excited.
Even though he sprinkles lots of “tech talk” through this opening half, with Stan communicating with control back on Earth about his haywire orbit (Val’s unexpected presence throwing the capsule out of whack), Lornquest isn’t much interested in delivering a hard sci-fi yarn. Instead, Stan and Val pass out after their whopping orgasms…and when they wake up, the capsule has landed somewhere, it’s super-hot inside (more gross body stuff with details on how sweaty and unwashed they are), and after putting on their space suits they discover they have somehow landed on the moon!
We even get an unwitting prefigure of Lost, when Stan and Val discover an air lock built into the dusty lunar soil. Rather than freaking out, they, uh, head back to their capsule to clean themselves off with sanitary napkins and then have more sex. Finally they decide to inspect that air lock, because they can no longer contact Earth and they’re running out of supplies and air. So they go down into the metal tunnels and encounter…my friends, they encounter dog men.
That’s right, friends – dog men!! Biped canines capable of both speech and interstellar travel, these creatures, led by Vorf, have set up camp here on the moon for some reason. But this is a sleaze book – Stan could care less about who these beings are or where they came from – instead, he’s more curious about their sexual apparati! Once again our hero shows a lot of attention for the male anatomy, as he notes that the dog men seem to be equipped mostly like males, with some changes. Long story short, turns out they’re hermaphroditic.
Stan and Val stay with them for weeks, until one day Vorf announces that Vowfoff nears. The annual orgy, Vowfoff is comprised of the dog men drinking copious amounts of varma, their potent wine, and screwing each other senseless. And hey, Stan and Val are welcome to join! At first the two of them are all by their lonesome as the dog men engage in a humping chain all about them…
While I had had some memorable sexual experiences, most of them with Val, I could scarcely compare them with the ecstatic experience we achieved in our first copulation in Vowfoff.
The heat and moisture of her Cupid’s cavern enveloped my invading probe and seemed to draw it inside, to lengthen and strengthen it. I stood there, holding her against me, crushing her wonderful breasts against my chest, straining her buttocks toward me so that I could enter her more fully. She clutched me frantically, and we strained toward each other again and again.
But then the humping dog men sidle closer, one of them taking on Val…and one of ‘em taking on Stan! So our narrator continues to have sex with Val, who is also enteraining an “invading probe” from one of the dog men, with more in line, waiting their turn – while our hero himself is sodomized. So this is another of those vintage sleaze novels that feels the need to cover all the bases…
As mentioned, Lornquest likes to equate sex with pain, so after the madness of the orgy Lornquest and a bleeding Val escape, where Val realizes she’s been quite damaged by those dog men phalli. Meanwhile they run into another settlement, here in the underground world – the Miroslava Space Detachment, a Russian space outpost which is composed mostly of women, run by the stout Olga. They too have experienced Vowfoff – they claim it has made many of their women insane, and all of their men insane – and they inspect Val, revealing that some important things have ruptured inside her(!). But don’t worry, they’ll fix her up.
Apparently the Russian women have a peaceful relationship with the dog men, who by the way promptly drop from the book. The Russians are here for, you won’t be surprised to know, procreative purposes; their mission was to have rampant sex to propagate the Russian seed, but all those insane men are now incapable of any shenanigans. But hey, Stan looks hale and hearty…
Surprisingly, The Moonlovers doesn’t descend into an endless sequence of Stan entertaining one lusty Russian gal after another. Instead he’s put in his own room, and each night a mystery woman sneaks into his bed, arouses him – and then either hits him in the balls or causes him some other sort of pain in that region and runs away, laughing. So once again we’re on the sex=pain kick, and Stan is in misery, complaining often to Olga, who also acts as the chief doctor.
Eventually some of the mysterious female visitors begin drawing forth Stan’s “essence” with their mouths, funnelling it into beakers and then running away – after again hurting him, once he becomes aroused again. At length it dawns on Stan that he’s been used in a Pavlovian experiment, courtesy Olga, who reveals herself as a man-hating shrew who has done all of this because it is her goal to destroy all men. She throws Stan in a cell with a still mentally-damaged Val, and humorously it takes Stan weeks to realize that he and Val are now prisoners!
Apparently Val’s reproductive area has been repaired, because despite her mental damage (she’s incapable of much talk and is afraid of everything) she gradually becomes more hot and bothered for Stan, thus leading to yet another long sex sequence, she and Stan fueled by some of that alien Varna wine Stan conveniently finds, after which they pass out – and then Stan wakes up in his own bed, in his home on Earth, his wife Ginny nervously shaking him awake.
Yes, friends, the entire goddamn thing has been a dream – and I mean all of it. Not just the stuff with the Russians, the dog men, the space flight itself – everything! For it turns out that Stan fell asleep, that night “eight years ago” when Val’s car broke down outside his house…and thus every single thing in the book was a dream, even his long relationship with Val!
“But I had loved her so!” Stan marvels, and then insists his wife not allow Val inside, because “that’s how it all starts!” Ginny gives in to Stan’s bizarre rantings, thus Val and her children are not allowed inside the Bailey residence, and thus Stan avoids the eight years of infidelity with her – not to mention the sex-and-pain filled trip to the moon.
So as mentioned, the entire book is pretty much a waste of time, but it’s got big print and it’s short. That’s not to say I recommend reading it, though. This is one I’d advise avoiding at all costs.