Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Moonlovers

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.


Zwolf said...

Yikes! That book sounds... special. Years ago (at one of the weirdest used book stores I ever went to -- they primarily sold campers, and almost every book they had was beat-up and covered in filth... but I did find some really obscure stuff there) I bought a sleaze paperback called The Moonrapers. I forget who it was by, but I'm wondering if it could be a retitle of this? I never read it... and won't, because after I got it home I found out somebody had torn out all the pages with dirty parts. I kept it just for the cover. But given the title and the sexual "beast-men" theme, I'm wondering if it might've been the same book with a harder-core retitle. I'll have to dig it out and skim the remaining pages to see if any of it matches up. It was also big print and not very thick.

Joe Kenney said...

Thanks for the comment! A sleaze book with all the dirty parts torn out?? Man, that's harsh! I think you might be on to something about the Moonrapers deal. I'm certain Moonlovers is from an earlier era, even though it's copyright 1975. It would be crazy if it did turn out to be the same book.

Have you ever read one of Rosenberger's sleaze books? I doubt you'll be surprised to know they're a litle hard-going, and a chore to read at times...I've got a few of them, one that tries to retain a "journalistic" tone with hardly any descriptive stuff, the other that presents itself as case studies and then gets into sudden XXX material, complete with blunt, graphic description. Never been able to make it all the way through either of them, but even then they were better than Moonlovers...but I figured I spent the $ on this (can't even remember when I got it), so I might as well see it through.

Zwolf said...

I'll have to remember to dig up that Moonrapers book and look into it... I'll try to remember to let you know if I find anything.

I can hardly imagine Rosenberger doing sex scenes. Hell, I can hardly imagine Rosenberger enjoying sex... it's too much like fun! If he does porn the way he does gunfights, with every bullet's pathway tracked in micro detail, that would be either really good, or hilarious. And if his penchant for footnotes and getting sidetrackd on irrelevant details came in, that'd be really bizarre. The last Death Merchant I read interrupted a gunfight for several pages about the manufacture of bricks, so I can envision things like, "Dave pulled out early and came on the rug. The textiles in the rug had been harvested from a little known plant in Peru and shipped by burro to a factory in the south of Chile, where they were boiled in a vat of sodium benzonate tetrachlorine (NaBzTcH4) to make them supple enough to be woven. The process of carpet-weaving is fascinating, and started in approximately the year 103 B.C. in Hunan, China, by a man named Hzin, whose father was a missionary, who also made furniture. Much furniture of the time was carved to look like oxen, which were revered in China... "

(six small-print pages and eight footnotes later)

"Anyway, then Dave rolled off of Gertrude, smoked a cigarette, and took a nap."

allan said...


No, JRR does his sex stuff straight. Calling it blunt and graphic is putting it mildly. In several of his books - which were published in the late 60s before the DM and the other series - he has Ph.D. after his name. However, I read in one news story about an obscenity trial related to one of his books (The Animal Lovers) that he attended school only as far as the 8th grade.

Reading The Young Deviates or Experiences In Perversion (which he wrote as Rose N. Berg), you would never think it was the same writer. Maybe he got it all out of his system and then didn't want to do anything related to sex, and so that's why Canmellion is asexual. (Although in one of the DM books, he admits he was once married, but it bored him and that's all he says about it.)

englishteacherx said...

As I have dabbled in writing porn myself, I'm going to go ahead and guess that he wrote a lot of it under other names, as did many authors of the 70s, and burned out on it, and found lengthy descriptions of gunfights less ... draining, shall we say.

In one of his letters, reprinted on this blog, he says that he owned part of a dirty bookstore, also.

Was disappointed to see no content on your "World of Joseph Rosenberger" blog, allan!

Zwolf said...

Here's the other info on The Moon Rapers:

The Moon Rapers, by Ramon E. Banks, published by Hustler Paperbacks in 1980, ISBN 0899631150.

I knew Playboy had a paperback line, because they published a lot of horror. But who knew Hustler had one? There's a little catalog page in the back, with a couple dozen other titles on it, all total sleaze. From what I could tell by skimming what remains of the book between the ripped-out pages, it bears no actual relation to The Moon Lovers. Apparently just two different authors with similar goofy ideas.

Then, of course, there's the Moon People books by Dale M. Courtney. Here's a guy who makes William W. Johnstone look like... well, not Shakespeare, nobody's bad enough to make Johnstone look like Shakespeare, but Joe Rosenberger, at least. O' course, Courtney's self-published, so... Go use the "look inside" feature on Amazon for Moon People sometime, it's pretty amazing.

allan said...

I'm not sure what I am doing with that blog.
I could repost my "reviews" of his books.
I'd really like to do some research on his life and writing, but am not sure where to start.

halojones-fan said...

Agh, that made me spew out my drink! Well done.

Or should I say, "the involuntary tightening of his throat muscles as the lizard-brain reaction of mirth short-circuited his higher developed brain functions caused him to emit a loud snort, and the ejection of air that accompanied this reaction whipped the vintage gin of his martini into a froth. The foamy substance that had been his cocktail sprayed in all directions under the impulse of his outgoing blast, coming to land in a four-foot diameter circle all around him. As the alcohol and bitters began to soak into his cashmere wool sweater and to dissolve the soluble inks in the first-edition watercolor on the wall next to him, he said "shit!"

Griffin Calhoun said...

"We even get an unwitting prefigure of Lost, when Stan and Val discover an air lock built into the dusty lunar soil."