This post is a part of a series of mini-reviews of books that I read while on blogging hiatus last fall.
The High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris is set on a post-apocalyptic planet that had been ravaged by nuclear war. Genetic mutations have made it very difficult to procreate, and so society has been arranged to glorify promiscuity in the hopes that some genetic combinations may prove fruitful. Civilization is centered around the Wells, which are pretty much centers of prostitution, and women hold most of the power in society.
When Estri, the Well-Keepress of Astria, receives a mysterious letter detailing her conception, she begins a journey to discover more about her past and origins. She hopes that if she is able to find out who her alien father is, she might learn more about herself and what kind of man would allow her to produce a child. However, for most of the novel, she just wanders around and has kinky sex with a lot of people. Mind you, I don’t mind sex in my pulp fiction novels (Case in point: I strangely enjoy the John Norman’s Gor novels), but in High Couch of Silistra, it was too much of a distraction from an otherwise very interesting plot. The last 50 or so pages of the novel were a drastic improvement, and as such, I’d be willing to pick up the next book in the series if I ever come across it at a used book sale. At the same time, I wouldn’t go as far as actually recommending High Couch of Silistra unless you are extremely bored.