Maybe it was beyond the pale for 1972 and 1984 . . .
I first heard about Dr. Adder while reading a review of it one of Jim Baen’s New Destines book-magazines. New Destines was published in the 1980s, but I didn’t discover them until the early 1990s at used bookstores.
Anyway, the reviewer said something along the lines of “this is the sickest, most depraved book I’ve ever come across,” and gave a short paragraph on why that was the case (basically, the idea that the title character, Dr. Adder, performs elective surgery on hookers to the specifications of their clients).
For what it’s worth, Dr. Adder might have been considered “sick” and “depraved” when it was originally written (1972) and then published (1984), but today, it’s kind of . . . stale.
For me, the least believable part of the book was the CIA-developed “flashglove,” a prosthetic arm which is placed on the stump where the user’s original arm used to be, where it then connects with the user’s nervous system. How this connection is made (beyond physically joining the unit to the stump) isn’t specified by Jeter. (I guess that’s what this edition’s cover shows — Dr. Adder with the flashglove connected to his arm.) After being attached to the user, the flashglove then gives the user extended sensory abilities (again, how isn’t specified), along with the ability to kill with a touch (the unit emits some some sort of “vibration” that causes flesh and bone to explode).
Why anyone would voluntarily give up an arm and hand for this sort of thing is quite beyond me.
Probably the most notable part of the book was the description of the “Vagina Dentata,” where Adder does his surgical bit and adds sharks’ teeth (filched from the local oceanography labs) to the genitals of a hooker intended for his arch-nemesis, such that said nemesis is castrated immediately after insertion (pp. 89-90). Later, it turns out that this was really the idea of said nemesis, but whatever (p. 201).
The idea of looking into the deepest, darkest part of a person’s soul and making those forbidden, taboo thoughts into tangible reality is a theme that Jeter visits again at least once. See his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Warped, where a special holodeck modification is used thusly.
FOR FURTHER REFERENCE
- Approximate reading level – 9.5
- Reposted –