Salvatore Lombino was just starting his famous 87th Precinct series as Ed McBain and coming off his success as Evan Hunter with “The Blackboard Jungle.” He did a few SF books as Richard Marsten along with a few mystery novels under that name. He also wrote mysteries as Curt Cannon, Ezra Hannon and John Abbott.
This book was published when the beat generation was in full force and most of the country was watching “Father Knows Best” and “The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet.” If you like SF used as a genre for satire then you’ll appreciate this lost gem.
It’s 2174. Things are being run by the Vicarion group. They believe anything goes. Drugs are legal and they take full advantage of that. Women dress in next to nothing and tint certain body parts to change color in different light. The entertainment and publishing industries issue the most sensous and revealing forms of movies, paperbacks and sensos they can. Sensos are movies that let the viewer feel all that’s going on. One quirk Vikes have is that they will never eat in front of anyone. Even in their own homes they pull the shades down and won’t allow anyone in the same room while chowing down.
On the other side are the Realists. The men wear coats and ties and the women dress conservatively. They object to everything the Vikes churn out and consider it all smut. They want to bring the Vikes down and once again take over. The Realists aren’t all that righteous as the group contains many alcoholics and viewers of Vike products.
Van Brant is a Vike literary agent and Dino Pelazi is a critic for the Realists. Dino uses an ancient law to sue Brandt and every other agent over nudity at a benefit show.
McBain/Hunter fans should enjoy this satire. It’s not necessary to be a SF fan to appreciate this look into a possible future. If you think it’s too far fetched, just check out the entertainment industry these days.