Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Outcast -- Sheldon Lord

Outcast is, hands down, the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not.

The fun starts with the cover blurb: “A novel that courageously comes to grips with the hidden problem of deviation among women.”
Okay, that in itself isn’t funny, but it becomes amusing after you read the novel, which is isn't about the "problem" at all. It's about a guy named Harry, who has sexual encounters one after another with every woman he meets. I lost count after the sixth.

I believe the third woman is Sherri, who tells him that he doesn’t stand a chance with her because “I haven’t been touched by a man in five years. I’m a lesbian.”

Sherri expects Harry to condemn her: “To you I’m just a freak, something that ought to be in a sideshow.”
But Harry fools her. “Okay, so you’re a lesbian. How was I to know? It’s nothing to me – I believe in live and let live. You get your kicks your way, I get mine another . . . . I’ll take you to your place, beautiful. Relax.”

The effect of this “quick speech made on the spur of the moment” is that Sherri falls into Harry’s arms, "her wide green eyes brightly blurring and her lips, wetted quickly by the flick of a pink tongue, shaping themselves into a kiss." Harry quickly realizes that “Sherri was starved.” So he gives her everything he has, so to speak.

The next thing you know she wants to marry him. Later the same tactic, along with a little rough stuff, works on Sherri's "friend" Terry. When Prudence joins in a threesome with them, Harry has her, too.

So much for the “problem of deviation among women.” Just introduce them to Harry. "Problem" solved.

And some of the dialogue is classic stuff: “‘I’m hip,’ Terry said. ‘I feel like having a real sick evening, dig? He’s like wild.’”

Did I mention the plot? It’s pretty much what I said above. Harry has sexual encounters with every woman he meets (including the nurse when he’s in the hospital after a serious automobile accident). You have to read it to believe it. You can do that in an hour or so, since the book is very short, probably not more than 40K words. Check it out, assuming you have a copy lying around. As funny as it is, it’s not worth the prices they’re asking on the ‘net.


Dave Zeltserman said...

Isn't Sheldon Lord one of Lawrence Block's pseudonyms?

Unknown said...

Yes, but this is a 1967 book, and Block was a couple of magnitudes better than this by that time. Maybe he didn't do this one, or maybe he wrote it as a joke. Maybe it was left over from 1957.

Brent McKee said...

It's the old male fantasy - that a "real" man is capable of converting any lesbian into a raging heterosexual, possibly even a heterosexual nymphomaniac. The new male fantasy is that a real man is capable of converting a lesbian - and her girlfriend - into raging bisexuals.

Unknown said...

Harry pretty much has that covered (so to speak), too.