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Statement by the Case Historian

This is a sample chapter from Supervert's book Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish. It is the very last text in the book, sort of a postface.

Appendix 2
Statement by the Case Historian

Why did I write Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish? It started out with two impulses: first, the vague desire to write a book called Alien Fuckfest; second, a romantic fascination with the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. Interestingly, neither of these impulses carried over into the text itself. The title I decided not to use, for the crass reason that having "fuck" in the title would make the text that much harder to distribute. And as for extraterrestrial life, the scientific and philosophical reading I did early on in my research convinced me that there is no such thing. Or to be clear, I think there may well be bacteria or extremely simplistic organisms on other planets, but I also believe that there is no conscious intelligence (other than man) anywhere in the universe. Coming to this negative conclusion obviously put a strange twist on the composition of the text. I had few choices. I could drop it altogether, but this I was loath to do. I could make the protagonist, Mercury de Sade, lust after bacteria or extremely simplistic organisms, but this he was loath to do. I could make the text a confrontation with the myth of extraterrestrial life — and this is really what I chose to do. ETSF is not a story about aliens, nor about a man obsessed with them, nor is it really even a story at all. It's more an "analytic," in the Kantian sense, but written in the montage style of modernist literature.

In particular, ETSF reverses two myths. The first is that of superior intelligence. Aliens are supposed to be smarter than humans? Then the protagonist, Mercury de Sade, gathers together some of the greatest minds in human history — Plato, Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein — to demonstrate that an alien intelligence would have a very high bar to leap in order to show itself superior. This is reinforced in the "alienosophy" section, which asks: If aliens are superior in intelligence, should their communications to humans not reveal some fantastic wisdom? If human philosophers are capable of such profound formulae as "I think therefore I am" and "To be is to be perceived," should alien beings not be capable of even greater thoughts? A review of the "philosophical" pronouncements made by aliens in abduction accounts unearths no examples of a stunning wisdom. The intelligence of aliens turns out to be little more than the "philosophies" of trite human minds imputed to equally trite imaginary beings.

The second myth is that of abduction. Aliens come to earth to abduct, rape, and sometimes impregnate its inhabitants? Then the protagonist, Mercury de Sade, will do the reverse — he will seek out other worlds in order to abduct and rape their inhabitants. However, the difficulty that emerges here is that these two myths actually work at cross-purposes to one another. In order to abduct and rape extraterrestrials — or even to want to abduct and rape them — it is at least necessary to believe in their existence. And yet to perceive that their "intelligence" consists of human clichés is to admit that aliens are nothing more than fantasies, myths. This reduces Mercury de Sade to the unenviable position of wanting to rape something that he cannot believe exists. A "diary entry" that did not make it into the final draft of the text put it like this: "My mind may seek to know itself (hence philosophy), but my body seeks to know others (hence pornography). Sometimes a homosexual feels like a woman trapped in the body of a man. I feel like a solipsist trapped in the body of a nymphomaniac. (Strictly speaking, this would mean I go around fucking things the existence of which I deny.)"

The psychology of a character caught in such a dilemma will naturally be one of frustration. He is intelligent — or rather, intellectual — and yet his potency in matters cerebral is matched by a fundamental impotence in his sexual desires. As a character this does not make Mercury de Sade either likable or sympathetic. He is superior and, like many frustrated people, basically mean. Moreover, Mercury de Sade learns nothing, undergoes no revelations, experiences no reverses of fortune. He is one-dimensional — and yet this very flatness is the psychology typical of the fetishist. Unless he is caught, embarrassed, shamed, arrested, the fetishist is characterized by the subordination of his entire personality to a single-minded goal: the satisfaction of his "thing." This is why nineteenth-century psychologists called them monomaniacs. And unless you happen to share their "thing," it can also make fetishists rather monotonous.

This is where set theory comes in. Astute readers, perceiving that connections between the various texts of ETSF have the same contingent character as hyperlinks on the internet, will no doubt assume that it was my intention to write a "hypertext," to deform the novel utilizing the techniques of a web-browsing experience, or some such. Although I recognize the legitimacy of this interpretation, it was not in fact my intention. However deeply my professional life involves me in the language of machines, really it was not the computer but mathematics — in particular, set theory — that inspired the overall shape of ETSF. There were several reasons for this. First, on the level of content, I thought that set theory provided a powerful framework for describing fetishism: monomania is an obsession not with one thing but with variations on that thing — not one shoe, for the shoe fetishist, but a whole sequence of shoes of different types, qualities, colors, styles. Second, on the level of structure, I thought that set theory might provide new solutions to certain old problems of form and formlessness. Here my literary models were the serial structure of 120 Days of Sodom and the collage structure of Naked Lunch. By writing in interleaved sets, I was able to obtain the best of both: reading within the sets is serial, reading across the sets is collage.

Finally, I would like to say that I expect ETSF to cause much consternation — not because it is intrinsically polemical, like an abortion debate, but because it defies genres in a way rarely done before. (Sade and Kierkegaard wrote similarly recombinant works, but who else?) Many will reject ETSF as pornography. Pornographers will reject it as philosophy. Philosophers will reject it as literature. Litterateurs will reject it as science fiction. Sci-fi readers might accept it, because they tend to be more flexible about these things — and yet, in spite of my enormous respect for science fiction, I don't think ETSF is that either. "Science" means knowledge, and knowledge by definition is true; "fiction" means counterfeit, and counterfeit is by definition false. The term "science fiction" is thus an oxymoron meaning something like "truth falsified." This is probably an accurate description of certain classic works of the genre: Philip K. Dick really had a way of fucking with reality, and is "fucking with reality" anything other than falsifying truth? Conversely, I think ETSF falls in a weird bastard category more like "pseudo-science non-fiction," by which I mean falsity — the belief in UFOs, Martians, grays, Little Green Men — exhibited and analyzed.

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