The Man From Planet X #1: The She-Beast, by Hunter Adams
February, 1975 Pinnacle Books
Proving there was no limit to what book “producer” Lyle Kenyon Engel was willing to try, The Man From Planet X is a mid-‘70s take on ‘60s sleazy spy series like The Man from O.R.G.Y. and such, only with a sci-fi angle and much raunchier sex. However it does maintain the goofy vibe of those earlier spy paperbacks, to the extent that The She-Beast is for the most part a sex-laden comedy with only occasional patches of violence.
According to Hawk’s Authors Pseudonyms, “Hunter Adams” was James D. Lawrence, who around this time was also writing the vastly superior Dark Angel series for Engel. Initially I never would’ve believed this, as The She-Beast comes off as very juvenile and lunkheaded in its opening pages, despite the plethora of hardcore sex scenes. But gradually I could detect Lawrence’s tone, especially given his occasional use of ten-dollar words and literary turns of phrase. (Also the juvenile bit could probably be explained by the fact that Lawrence was also one of the authors of Tom Swift.) I now suspect that Lawrence was the mystery author of another Engel-produced sleaze masterpiece, Memoirs Of An Ex-Porno Queen.
But the reader must be prepared to accept that The Man From Planet X is not to be taken seriously, and really is an XXX-rated spoof of James Bond or somesuch…again, like those earlier spy paperbacks, but a lot more explicit. And weird! For our hero, “Peter Lance,” is in reality a friggin’ alien from the planet Tharb, his real name Pritan Lansol. Under the guidance of Dr. Kaarg, Pritan has descended to the Earth in his UFO, which hides back in the Catskill mountains as Pritan attempts to gather first-hand knowledge of the Earthlings in New York.
In his real appearance, Pritan has red skin and a hairy face. But Dr. Kraag has “biochemically” changed Pritan into “Peter,” and now he’s a good-looking stud with glossy black hair, piercing blue eyes, and tanned skin. But the biochemical stuff hasn’t extended to Peter’s nether parts, and this being a sleaze series, we get right to it; when a hitchhiking Peter is picked up by a sexy blonde named Daphne, he takes out her pursuers in somewhat gory fashion and then proceeds to give in to her demands for immediate sex, right there in the front seat of her sportscar.
Well, friends, Peter Lance has some unusual equipment. Not only is it wide at the base and pointy at the top, but in its fullest extent it goes all the way down to his knee…plus he can control it as easily as a normal man controls his finger. Oh, and it vibrates. “Man, I’ve gotta have that in me, but quick!” Daphne thinks to herself as soon as she’s gotten a gander at it. Their first boink is sleazy alien sex for the ages:
Their initial coupling had proved even more exciting than Daphne could possibly have anticipated. His pointy whatchamacallit had slid in as smoothly as a greased speculum, but its increasing girth toward the root had swiftly opened her as wide (it felt) as the Lincoln Tunnel.
And the length of him – oh, my gosh! Every thrust felt as if he were ramming it clear up to her tonsils.
But it wasn’t only the size and the stroke – there was something else, still more sensational, that Daphne could scarcely even put into words. She and her girlfriends had often titillated themselves or each other experimentally with electric massagers. But talk about vibrations – holy cow! His thing positively seemed to thrum at supersonic speed. She could feel shuddery, burning waves of chills and thrills radiating all the way up and down to her fingernails and toenails until her whole being seemed about to burst into fire.
Within a few pages Peter’s scoring again, in just as detailed fashion, with Wanda, hot young wife #4 of Daphne’s mega-millionaire father, BG Wyngard, who lives in a secluded mansion. Mind you, Peter’s just going with the flow throughout this; unlike your average men’s adventure protagonist, he’s on no special assignment other than gathering data on humans, in particular their sexual behavior, naturally. But Wanda (“this Earthling’s titties were something else”) comes on strong to Peter, and when Daphne almost catches them in the act, Peter reveals yet another of his superhuman qualities: he hefts Wanda on his shoulders and runs at over sixty miles an hour across the courtyard, deposting on her bed and racing back to his room in a blur of motion.
Peter Lance has other superhuman qualities as well – he’s telepathic, able to read minds and communicate with animals, in particular dogs. He has the strength of ten men. And he’s got “miniature lungs” surgically inserted in his ears or something, which is the norm for all Tharbians, having eons ago made the land, the sea, and the air their natural habitat. Oh, and he has this “third eye” gizmo he can hook up to his forehead to boost his telepathy, so he can speak with Dr. Kraag back on the spaceship, and with minor “brain waves” from other Tharbian gizmos he can become immediately fluent in any Earthling language.
Lawrence lays the groundwork for the novel’s main plot, with wily BG Wyngard untrusting of this new young stud, and yet hiding the fact that someone’s out to get him and his family – something Peter’s picked up via ESP, not to mention the two thugs who tried to kill Daphne when Peter met her. Meanwhile Daphne’s called over two of her equally-sexy friends to check out Peter’s inhuman endowmnet. After dancing to Led Zeppelin on quadraphonic stereo, Peter sneaks over for more explicit naughtiness, with the gals arguing who gets Peter’s vibrating cock and who gets Peter’s vibrating tongue. Meanwhile Daphne makes a “sex movie” with her film camera and then takes her second helping of Peter when her two pals pass out mid-climax.
Despite the goofy tone, the sex scenes here are much more explicit than those in Lawrence’s Dark Angel, which for the most part went more for a sleazy vibe than anything outrageously hardcore. Not so here, with the seeming intent of the series itself just being hardcore shenanigans with a slight spy-fy overlay. Unsurprisingly then, the main plot also has to do with sex; after our hero has staved off yet another attack on BG Wyngard and family, BG informs Peter that someone desperately wants control of a no-name company called Novitol which BG recently acquired in a business deal.
Hired as BG’s “corporate troubleshooter,” Peter is flown over to Switzerland, where he is to find out what exactly Novitol is. As mentioned, it’s of a sexual nature, having been run by a recently-deceased chemist who was looking to manufacture various sex-scents as perfumes. The book’s uber-goofy tone is displayed yet again when Peter telephathically informs a dog that it’s humping nothing more than a dummy, the dog having been fooled by the artificial scent sprayed on the dummy’s “receptacle.” The dog grumbles in shock – dogs speak to Peter in English throughout, by the way – and then pisses on the dummy.
It’s been a few pages, so Peter scores again, this time with Brigitte, 6’2” “raven-haired Amazon” caretaker of Novitol’s main company; she has “bushy black armpit hair,” “impressive mammary development,” and likes to ride men like horses. Here Peter learns that spys are afoot, tracking his moves. While speaking to BG through a Wyngard-designed “videoceiver,” which sends coded images over the phone, Peter learns that BG’s enemy is a mysterious woman of unknown age named Serafina Buonaparte, aka “The She-Beast,” as she’s known in business circles. As wealthy as BG, Serafima got her start as a hooker in Marseilles decades ago; the last photos of her appear to be from the ‘20s, and no one knows what she looks like now, though rumor has it she’s had untold facelifts. BG is certain the She-Beast is the enemy who has been trying to take Novitol from him.
On to more sleaze! Surprised by a “Cat Woman” while snooping around a laboratory (ie a well-endowed woman in a black catsuit with mask and claws), Peter of course has sex with her…only to discover it’s Daphne in disguise. Separately and together the two run afoul of various enemies, from agents of the She-Beast to the CIA to the KGB. This latter is represented by a sexy, busty gal (naturally) who has silicone-injected boobs that secrete – brace yourself – poison “titty-milk.” (She isn’t alone, either – check out “the lady with the killer-tits” in The Enforcer #4!) More sex is to be had throughout, both with ever-eager Daphne and a host of “nymphomaniac” women who were patients of the doctor who created Novitol.
For it turns out Novitol is both a company and a chemical, a serum composed of “sex excretions” of people in the act, combined with injections of their blood, or something. But the scientist who created it, kindly Brit Dr. Chumley, has been kidnapped by the Red Chinese, while meanwhile Daphne’s been kidnapped by the She-Beast’s men. Lawrence, as in the Dark Angel books, really brings on the lurid vibe, with Peter at one point visiting a private club where white women are raped by “Third World” denizens in vengeance for all the ills white people have perpetrated upon them; it’s run by depraved Colonel Dong, yet another villain seeking Novitol.
Indeed, the titular villainess only gets a few pages of text, thanks to all the other characters. Using a contraption of his own device, Peter Lance flies to the She-Devil’s castle in the mountains of Corsica, where he’s promptly captured by the woman’s green-leotarded minions. The She-Devil herself is a ravishing brunette who walks around her castle completely nude save for a piece of golden filament that forms a figure eight around her impressive boobs; we’ll learn she can actually control those impressive boobs, to the point that all she has to do is twitch ‘em and the filament, which is really a weapon, will fire a bullet!
Of course, the two promptly go at it on the shag-carpeted floor of the She-Beast’s quarters, but having allotted so many pages to previous sex scenes Lawrence only devotes a paragraph or two here. And talk about anticlimax (so to speak); post-orgasm the She-Beast withers away to the “old hag” she truly is, the Novitol – which turns out to be a youth serum for the very old, hence why the She-Beast looks so young and sexy – having stopped working for some unspecified reason. From here it’s all too-quick wrapup, with “the hag” turned over to the CIA (who promptly get ready to gang-bang her!) and Peter having quick sex with the rescued Daphne, after which we see Peter back on his UFO, debriefing Dr. Kraag and ready for his next adventure here on Earth.
Lawrence’s writing is good, all things considered, and despite the juvenile tone, the important thing to note is that it’s all still deadly serious to the characters themselves. In this way The She-Beast escapes the mire of those earlier sleaze-spy yarns, like The Man From TOMCAT, where nothing was serious. Lawrence also, as in the Dark Angel books, really captures the groovy, shaggy ‘70s, often rattling off the names of various rock groups (even the New York Dolls get a mention!) and always discussing the funky ‘70s wardrobes of the various characters. In that way the book is almost a time capsule of the ‘70s, same as Lawrence’s other series, and I dig that.