Bacchus recently sent me a capsule review from to what sounded like a very strange book, called Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish by someone (or something) calling verself Supervert. Bacchus sent the capsule under the subject line “A Book for You?”

Yes. Bacchus knows me rather well.

I have long held in my mind the question of what one might do if one has a fetish whose object cannot actually be found in one’s environs. Foot fetishists and hair fetishists in some ways have it easy — feet and hair are everywhere. Even a necrophiliac can raid a morgue or a graveyard. But what if the object of your erotic attraction are hot nymphets from around Polaris? You would then appear to be seriously SOL, my friend.

Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish is a book about a man with this sort of curious problem, one Mercury de Sade, a computer programmer living in turn-of-the-twenty-first century New York. Mercury de Sade is really into aliens.

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But of course there aren’t any aliens for Mercury de Sade to get it on with, even in New York, and so he is led down some dubious paths in life: weird sexual fantasies, philosophical studies, various digressions and tangents and, oh yes recruiting (or abducting) teenage girls whom he designates as “Ninfas” and attempts to “convert” into aliens.

Mercury de Sade’s odd life is reflected in an odd literary structure. There are a long sequence of short chapters classified as Alien Sex Scenes (ASS), or Mercury de Sade’s fantasies of sex — often nonconsensual — with various imagined extraterrestrial beings, Methods of Deterrestrialization (MOD), or Mercury de Sade’s attempts to make Ninfas into aliens, Lessons in Exophilosophy (LIE), where are essays on the idea of alien life in the history of ideas (including such figures as Descartes, Locke, Voltaire, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer and so on), and various philosophical reflections called Digressions and Tangents (DAT). There is one of each of these for every one of the twenty-four letters in the Greek alphabet, thus 96 short chapters in all. One can read these linearly, or one can partition the book in other ways. For example one could read only a history of ideas by starting with LIE 05 (Descartes) and proceeding through LIE 23 (Barthes). Or if one wants to read the rather squalid tale of Mercury de Sade converting an abused girl named Charlotte into “Ninfa XIX” you could read the MOD sections straight through. Or if you just want fantasies of alien sex, read the ASS chapters in any order one pleases. Though you might miss a little in doing that — for example, Voltaire’s imagined Micromégas, and a being 120,000 feet tall from Sirius (LIE 09), and Mercury de Sade’s fantasy of attempting to have sex with an equally large alien woman (ASS 09).

As you can probably guess, there’s a lot for many people in this strange book, especially if you have something for grays or little green men or alien giantesses. In general, the alien sex fantasies are quite imaginative. The answer to the question “what do you do if your fetish is just impossible” seems to be “lots of things: philosophy, fantasy, and maybe kidnapping.” I especially like the conceit that philosophy can be a result of thwarted sexuality: Nietzsche must be smiling, up in philosopher’s heaven. I am a little puzzled why a computer programmer like Mercury de Sade (evidently a very able programmer, as he is able to afford a loft in Manhattan and those were not cheap in 2001) doesn’t try more with virtual reality, video games, or other technologies that would seem germane. (That’s where I would be, if I had Mercury de Sade’s fetish and his skills.) Still, worth a read if it sounds like your thing.