I bought pulp fiction I shouldn't have bought, because reading what little I read of it made me feel bothered, bad and bereft. Not even 160 pages long and I gave up within the 60s, and it can take a LOT to get me to give up on a book. Written by Ted Mark, the reason we have a book titled I Was A Teeny-Bopper For The C.I.A. and also the "Man From O.R.G.Y." series, because it was the Sixties and there were both clever and allegedly clever acronyms for all sorts of secret organizations that showed up in novels and films.
That cover image? From a scene in Chapter 1 of Ted Mark's The Pussycat Transplant (1968) where main character Penny Candie (really) is -- CONTENT WARNING -- at apparently the world's only "wacky" abortion provider. Which she rather blithely went to. Where the main assistant is the world's scariest Evil Lesbian Abortion Provider+, using her job as a chance to assault the scared and the nubile (YES, ASSAULT, I'll say no more)...
...and who, when Penny Candie's abortion procedure is interrupted by the arrival of Pennington P. Potter, a guy who's winged himself by a gunshot to the head -- I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, this is what Ted Mark made up in 1968 -- panics because it might bring cops to their back alley abortion provider and THROWS PENNY CANDIE IN A FURNACE.
And the book's description of Penny's reaction to being consumed by flames?
It was too sudden for Penny even to have had a chance to scream.
She never even had a chance to say how much she disliked barbecues...
How much hatred of women is screaming out here? (As well as hatred of lesbians, babies, and basic human decency.) AND THAT'S CHAPTER ONE.
All this is setup for Penny Candie's somehow-still-living brain being placed in the somehow-still-living body of Pennington P. Potter, the guy who shot himself. There are not enough italics for this. The letters would need to be spinning to convey the WTF levels in this one. And when the brain transplant (BRAIN TRANSPLANT, people) works perfectly, the masculinated Penny Candie is set loose in the streets of New York City for adventures. By the 60s pages, where I gave up, said adventures include robbing along with fellow robber Clytemnestra.
They call themselves Penny and Cly. *shudders*
By Chapter 7, Penny and Cly (sweet yodeling Jesus) are involved in the least urgent police chase ever and talking in Southern accents for not-immediately-obvious reasons and that is where I gave up. The idiots may poison me with their idiocy. Yes, the characters are DUMB. To a person. They're retarded chess pieces, being shoved around by a thoughtless hand and mouthing unreally bad dialogue.
I think Ted Mark was trying to be funny. I think he was trying to be sexy. What he finds funny and sexy, scares and bothers me. And his writing's so poor, it's not too far advanced from words being typeset at random. It's not even entertainingly bad. I can't laugh at it. It makes me want to wash my skin from the inside.
This is worse than OH JOHN RINGO NO. You didn't think that was possible? Prepare for sudden, sodden, jaw-dropping, sense-crushing disappointment. And to not read this.
I should find higher-quality pulp. And maybe just eat The Pussycat Transplant, 'cause I can always use the fiber.
+The Evil Lesbian Abortion Provider's name, by the way? Miss Carridge. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP EITHER. The doctor? Dr. Kilembrio. A BOOK WITH CHARACTER NAMES LIKE THESE GOT PUBLISHED. THIS WAS CONSIDERED WORTH PUBLISHING.