3.10.2016

The Adventures of Richard Blade in Dimension X, pt. 1

The following is intended... well, I was going to write "For Mature Audiences Only." But I can't, really, as "maturity" is far, far away from today's post. A better way to put it is that the following is a foray into the Pulp-Men's-Adventure-of-the-60s-and-7os; if there's a literary equivalent of Cock Rock, we're aimed straight at the heart of it.

As Steven Hyden wrote in his opening remarks to this overview of AC/DC: 


"My suspicion is that we’re about to be neck-deep in balls."

Welcome to the absurd and pornographic world of:


When you see parodies of the men's adventure stories of yesteryear, it's Richard Blade they're talking about. Not exclusively by any means, but if there was innuendo or a cliche of the genre they could squeeze into these stories - published by Pinnacle Books between 1969 and 1984 and written by Lyle Kenyon Engel, Roland J. Green, Ray Nelson, and Manning Lee Stokes under the umbrella-pseudonym "Jeffrey Lord" - they did so, then cranked the volume to ten.


Of the thirty-seven books in the series, I only have eighteen. Rather than track down the others to conduct a guided tour of each and every book - which would be overkill of the sweatiest and ickiest order - I'll only cover the ones I have, six per post. The remaining two Blade posts will materialize sooner or later, and they'll probably resemble all the below note for note. Apologies for that: Blade may travel to a different dimension in every novel (or at least every other novel) but the circumstances unfold pretty much the same way.

THE BLADE FORMULA

At the beginning of each book, Richard Blade is brought into the subterranean levels of MI6 and hooked up to a supercomputer that will catapult him into Dimension X, an umbrella name for an infinite omniverse of unmapped alternate realities. Only Blade possesses the physical and mental toughness to journey successfully into Dimension X and back. He is stripped to a loincloth and lubed over head-to-toe with grease while Lord Leighton - the gnomish, deformed super-genius who invented the Dimension X computer - attaches cobra-headed electrodes to his body, while "J," the head of MI6, looks on with pride and worry for his best agent/ son he never had.

Upon arrival, always naked, Blade must immediately defeat some manner of man or beast, while a woman admires him lewdly. He usually identifies a lower-caste type that, once verbally and often physically backhanded into submission, makes a suitable underling. He is then either captured or gifted as a sex slave, usually to a queen or sorceress, which puts him in range of the ruling parties of whatever town or group he's thrown into. Then, usually via some mano-y-mano trial by combat that fulfills some kind of prophecy, he becomes second-in-command or under special protection of the king/ authorities.

Once he learns the lay of the land, he sets about overthrowing everything, Jim-Kirk-style. Along the way, he bangs at least two other ladies in Penthouse-forum-stylized sequences that go on for pages and pages. At novel's end, always knowing exactly the right moment to extract him, he's yanked back to Home Dimension by the computer.

Ostensibly the journeys are meant to increase England's prestige or scientific knowledge or wealth, but he almost never brings back anything of value. It's pure colonial wish fulfillment without any of the tedious colony-building or philosophy or even profit to justify itself. Blade arrives at a random place, adopts the mannerisms of the natives he encounters, bangs and murders his way to the top, blows it up, then warps out. 



The physical and mental anguish of traveling to and from Dimension X is inconsistent. In Monster of the Maze, the list of ailments include "the nightmare of black sweat and screaming, the pitiless alcoholism, the raging drive of satyriasis, the double and triple vision and loss of memory, the old friends offended and the girls lost because he could not explain. And the blackouts, the terrifying and frightening blackouts."

But this is all just Blade showing off for any other men's adventure protagonists who might be listening. Outside of satyriasis and the multi-dimensional STDs that must go along with them, all the wear-and-tear on his mind and body - his "pitiless alcoholism" for example - he bemoans is simply not in evidence. None of it matters anyway, as we get the barest glimpse of Blade's non-Dimension-X life. 



The original publishers described Blade as in the tradition of Doc Savage and Tarzan. Maybe they are, but for me a more accurate representation would be forty percent Conan, forty percent the shittier-away-missions of Star Trek: TOS, ten percent James Bond, and ten percent Fifty Shades of Grey.

(That the books never - to my knowledge - refer to him as "Dick Blade" is such a missed opportunity. I'll do what I can, below, but I fear it's like shutting the barn door after the horse escaped)

Please keep in mind that on some level of the tower and available exclusively via Ur-Kindle Prime, these books were made into a late-night Cinemax show starring Thomas Ian Griffith - he doesn't quite match the physical description from the books or their covers, yet it feels right - and narrated by Peter Criss.


And with no further ado, let us begin.

~
(1969)

My original plan was to take nice photographs of the plot summaries from the back covers. But my copies are kind of crappy, and I'm not much of a photographer to boot. I couldn't get any of them to come out legibly enough. Except this one (even it's a little crooked):


"By Frigga’s breasts!"

Blade's first foray into Dimension X lands him in a very Vikings-and-Druids sort of place where he becomes the immediate protector of a snobby princess he meets in the woods. The Bronze Axe of the title is "Aesculp, smasher of skulls," which Blade wins in (what else) a trial by combat between himself and a guy called Horso. Luckily for Blade, he is very proficient with a battle axe. 


"Ancient weaponry, the study and use thereof, had been a serious hobby with him. He had been a member of the Medieval Club, and, where other men boxed or played tennis or handball to keep in shape, Blade spent many an afternoon in simulated combat with lance and broadsword, axe and mace, long bow and arbalest."

So he's a Ren-Faire combatant of some kind? Excellent. "Just to keep in shape," of course.  

After the ring of fire (where he kills Horso), Blade has Sylvo (his former prison guard, whom Blade quickly dominates into a support position) apply salve to his singed buttocks. As Sylvo does so, he remarks on how magnificent Blade's arse is. Its magnificence, contrasted to his own, leads him to philosophize about the nature of things and the arbitrariness of life and caste until Blade threatens to cuff him one unless he shuts up. More ointment, less lip-flap, Millhouse.

Eventually, Blade gets himself captured by Redbeard, the marauder threatening the status quo of the land, and manages to challenge him to another mano-y-mano. He wins, of course, and assumes control of Redbeard's men, thus ending the regional threat. 


Wild Women of Dimension X!

- Taleen, the Princess of Voth. They don't hook up until novel's end, when s
he gifts him her virginity, which he accepts readily (thus setting her up for a lifetime of sexual disappointment to come. What man of Voth can do to her what Blade does? The idea is laughable). Her breasts are "larger than he had thought." It's good to know a man like Blade can occasionally be surprised, even if his area of self-proclaimed expertise.

Queen Beata, who temporarily takes sexual possession of Blade and relentlessly demands "copulation in grotesque positions." After a night under her sexual thrall - halfway through which Blade realizes she wears a wig and has false teeth - she ties Sylvo and Taleen to stakes and sets bears on them. Actual bears, not like, large hair gay men. Before they can maul anyone, the Queen's domain is overrun by Redbeard, and she is raped to death by Redbeard's men. This sort of sexual/ bears absurdity side-by-side with dark sexual assault is an unfortunate hallmark of the genre and the Blade books are no exception.

Alwyth, wife of one of Taleen's father's allies. She wears a veil to cover the half of her face Lycanto branded years ago in one of his fits of rage. Otherwise, "she was built in absolute proportion (and) her pointed breasts were painted blue and tipped with scarlet. She caressed them with jeweled hands and watched him with narrow eyes." I don't recall, actually, if she and Blade bang - I'm sure they do - but she teases him to distraction.

Drusilla/ Canace, High Priestess of the Drus. When first we meet her, she slays and then group-consumes the flesh of a virgin bound to an altar in the woods, At novel's end, after the ordeal with Redbeard, she spirits Blade away in her boat so he can heal. This involves an endless blowjob, basically, - you know, just standard Druid procedure; Blade has a highly specialized health plan - which prompts him to dub her "the mother of all fellatrices." I didn't even know that was a word. Her breasts are "blue-veined, brown tipped and wide of aureole, white as milk and firm as marble, and as cold to the touch." 


~
(1972)

"I am not a monster, Valli! I am a full-grown man caught in a baby’s body.
You must not be frightened
."

This time around, the trip from Home Dimension goes deliriously-pear-shaped from the get-go:


"He was only a brain on a stalk. The stalk was planted in purple gravel and atop it his brain waved and moved in a hot wind. Lights flashed and bells rang and behind a shadow screen he saw horned figures copulating. A clown ran up from nowhere and smote his raw brain with a bladder and there was more pain. The clown and his pain locked hands and danced off into silver fog. A girl with fur all over came out of the fog and stood looking at him. She sucked her thumb and stared at him and mouthed words that he could not understand. As his brain watched she grew a penis, a huge pole of flesh, and laughed and began to toy with herself and then went off turning cartwheels."

I know, I know - where the heck do you go from there? Well, Blade materializes in Dimension X as a baby:

"Blade looked at his hand. It was small and pink and chubby. Tiny. He was a baby. The computer had reduced him to an infant. He was Richard Blade, he knew it, but his tiny pink body was that of a newborn babe.

He tried to raise his head. Too heavy. He could not even move it. That made sense, if any of this made sense. Despite his size, his brain was full-grown and housed in the cranium of a full-grown man. He was a macrocephalic horror! Whoever found him would probably kill him on sight and either stuff him or preserve him in a bottle
."

The plot of this one involves a king on his deathbed - luckily for Blade, he's a bit senile and desperate for a male heir, so a talking man-baby is seen in a better light than perhaps it otherwise might -, the king's double-dealing sorcerer who rules over a pit of man-monsters, and the evil Loth Bloodax, ruler of the Hitts, who threaten the people of Vir.

Blade allows himself to be captured by the Hitts, whose land is filled with diamonds of a size and quality (and abundance) he's never seen before. Bloodax keeps Blade prisoner and forces him to mate with his daughter in the hopes of breeding a half-wizard. He escapes in a pair of glider-wings he builds himself (this sequence is actually kind of cool). After making his way back to Vir and saving the place by destroying it more or less, he's yanked back to Home Dimension with no diamonds to show for it.

Wild Women of Dimension X!

Valli, a handmaiden, who finds the strange infant with the adult-sized head on a baby's body. Having recently given birth to a baby subsequently taken from her, she is willing and able to nurse Blade to keep him alive. Her breasts are "bare, large, and firm with brown-tinted nipples." Only at first, though. As Blade grows out of his condition and begins to resemble a man again, her breasts "no longer looked so much like mother’s breasts, the source of nourishment, but had somehow become more round and firm, softer blue-veined marble, shapelier, the nipples larger and more erect." Later, she begs him to impregnate her to repay her kindness, and, an English gentleman to the last, he obliges.

Lisma, Loth Bloodax’s daughter. Small-breasted but big-nippled. You get the idea - this is how Blade sees the world.

Janina, the diamond-statue-woman of the Hitts. Blade doesn't bang a statue, unfortunately, but its shapely, sparkling form casts a lustful shroud over his mind. And finally: 


Princess Hirga, whom Blade marries, kinda-sorta. He's irritated, though, by his inability to sexually dominate her, and puzzled by the "smell of death" in her bedchambers. He later learns that one of the man-monsters of the pit is her lover; Casta (the evil wizard) bound the Princess (and thus the kingdom) to his will by addicting her to its demonic phallus. Upon revealing the truth and temporarily free of the heroin haze of man-monster-penis, Hirga begs Blade to kill her, which he does, before killing all the other sexual rivals man-monsters in the pit.

~
(1973)

"By Juna’s golden tits!"

The novel opens with Blade relaxing on a private beach until he's disturbed by a woman who tells him that his massive body is taking up way too much of the sand and to please go elsewhere. Blade looks her over. 

"He was something of a connoisseur of breasts, and he immediately recognized that hers were hybrid, half Nordic, half Mediterranean. Not tanned pears, but with a hint of conoid; not warm melons, but welling to round fullness. Her nipples were half-awakened rosebuds. She tossed her thick brown hair behind her shoulders. The movement sent her breasts to rippling. His loins were excited and moving." 

A connoisseur! Now it all makes sense. That description is just I-don't-even-know-man. They bang ferociously, then Blade hightails it over to MI6 where he discovers the lady is none other than "Lady Diana," a famous actress.
 

He plops down in Dimension X (there's an equally-wtf interlude-between-dimensions, but no need to recover that ground) smack-dab in the middle of a war between Thryna, ruled over by a cult of Juna, a goddess who bestows sexual favors via her priestesses on the warriors who fight for her, and Samosta, some other land ruled by a guy named Hectoris. Blade meets a commoner named Nob, who dutifully acknowledges Blade's blatant superiority. With his and a few other underlings's help, he susses out the whys and wherefores of the conflict, upends the social order, then escapes back to Home Dimension. 

Wild Women of Dimension X!

- Lady Diana, movie actress, aforementioned. Upon his return, Blade reads in the papers that she is pregnant, presumably with Blade's child. He muses upon the concept of immortality through progeny - even if he'll never know if the child is truly his - and the effect the pregnancy will have on her magnificent breasts.
 

- Juna, the name of the goddess and also the name of the priestess whom Blade has agreed to protect. After quarreling with him, she leads him away from the group so they can bang on an altar before a cracked statue, at whose marred features Blade stares, feeling oddly like he's in the grip of the goddess herself. (Sidenote: Blade's voluminous climaxes are always described in great, gushing detail.) At novel's end she becomes the new Queen via the trick he learns from:

- Izmia, the Love Cult Queen. When Blade first meets her, she milks him to a climax and then places his seed in a bowl on a ledge by the fire. He thinks it's a little odd, but hey, that's life. Later, to gain strength for his deep-water dive to retrieve a black pearl from the bottom of a giant lake (seriously! It's like a Freudian cocaine binge) she dies, and he uses the whole semen-powder trick on Juna before jumping back to Home Dimension.


~
(1974)

Blade finds himself in a crumbling city where violent gangs roam the streets at night. When he takes refuge in the basement of one of the buildings, he discovers a number of steel doors in the wall. One of them opens, and a naked and startlingly beautiful woman emerges in a cloud of mist. The woman, Narlena, leads him to a luxurious one-room apartment filled with technology far beyond anything Blade's seen. They bang.

She reveals to Blade that she, like most of the upper class of her society, has been sleeping for a hundred years. She and other Dreamers stay sequestered below, kept alive by the machines, while the Wakers rule the world above and make increasing incursions into their domain. Blade rallies the Dreamers to fight back against the Wakers until he is captured by one of them, Korg, leader of the People of the Blue Eye. After slaying Korg's War Master, Blade is gifted with the slain man's job as well as Korg's daughter, Halda. It all leads to a huge battle where the Dreamer/Waker dichotomy is smashed forever, and Blade disappears back to Home Dimension.


This time around, he manages to bring back some Marconite, a renewable power source of some kind that the Dreamers have. He assumes it will be of some use in meeting England's energy needs. (Like the Solex Agitator in The Man with the Golden Gun, whether or not it ever does is never mentioned again.)


Wild Women of Dimension X!

Annie, a fashion model with whom Blade is sailing at novel's beginning. When a submarine surfaces (again, clumsily paging Dr. Freud) Blade dips the lanyard in old-school recognition and receives the return signal. ("The Royal Navy always comes up punching.") This excites Annie, who comes from a long line of Navy Men, and they bang.

Narlena, Blade's initial point of contact with the Dreamers. "High, firm, youthful breasts; trim, flat stomach."

Halda, Korg's daughter, whose prurient interest in Blade borders on violent. Later killed by Narlena, extinguishing the "proud jut of her small, firm breasts." These are the details I have to work with, folks.

Christine, a German tourist who shares Blade's train compartment upon his return to Home Dimension. The novel ends on the suggestion they'll be sharing more than that; her breasts are undescribed.

~
(1975)

"Yes, the Shaft of the Warriors rises the fastest of all the Shafts in the Tower of the Serpent. And the shafts of the Tower of the Serpent rise the fastest among all the Towers of Melnon." 

Blade lands in a land dominated by seven great towers ruled over by "the War Matriarchy." In the Tower of the Serpent, after besting their best warriors to the astonishment of all assembled, Blade becomes the official Steward and Lover of Queen Mir-Kasa.

The War Wisdom of the people of Melnon has endured as basic law among the Towers for fifteen generations. By this fiat the High People remain totally separated from the Low People and enforce their rule with the lethal white wand, which discharges lethal energies. Blade takes it upon himself to forge a new way for the people of Melnon.


Lots of annoying names in this one (Kir-Noz, Bryg-Noz, Pen-Jerg, etc.) No semen-powder or man-baby-suckling, but plenty of hot wand-on-wand action. And of course: 

Wild Women of Dimension X!

- Mir-Kasa, the Queen. "High, full breasts… They were magnificent – there was no other word Blade could think of. There was no other word he could have thought of, even if he had been able to consider them and contemplate them unaroused and at his leisure."


- Kun-Rula, one of Bryg-Noz's aides. Particularly responsive nipples.

- Ye-Jaza, one of the leaders of the Tower of the Leopard. She is a hold-out on Bryg-Noz's plans for war, so he sends Blade over to romance her. It takes him awhile, but once they get there, they bang for three solid days. Very jealous, with surprisingly large nipples. Don't shoot the messenger.

~
(1975)
 
Blade lands in Dimension X on a rocky beach pounded by rising surf. He is attacked by a Yulon - a giant sea serpent which rises from the water to wrap itself around his naked torso. (At least it's not one-eyed.) He is aided at the last minute by crossbow-firing mermen. Well, not all mer-men. He can make out that one of them is female - "unmistakably, magnificently female." They disperse, though, and he's rescued by a passing ship.

Once aboard, he learns he's the guest of Captain Foyd and his "exceedingly well-bosomed" daughter. They are people of the Sea Cities, at war with the fish-people for many generations. Both sides are only able to survive in the other's kingdoms for limited time, but someone seems to be arming both sides with new experimental weapons. He is captured while taking part in the Sea Cities Armada's assault on the undersea kingdom and brought before the unmistakably, magnificently female mermaid he saw before. She believes him to be the fulfillment of prophecy. After banging, Blade travels to the mainland (Nurn) to uncover the conspiracy that keeps both sides locked in war. 

Wild Women of Dimension X!

Svera, the Captain's daughter and leader of a peace movement. "Her breasts were magnificent. They jutted out in massive, freckled roundness, their tips rosy pink with no visible nipples." She disappears for most of the novel, though Blade, inexplicably, keeps inquiring after her.

- Alanyra, the princess of the fish-people. Her breasts are like "finely-polished sea coral." I have no idea what to make of this, but Dick Blade doesn't stop and worry about it - he bangs.

- Sister Brigeda, noble lady of Nurn who assists Blade in escaping the authorities' attention. After convincing her of the rightness of his cause, she laments that her life and vocation leave such little time to "know life as a woman." Blade knows an invitation when he sees one. Enormous long nipples "thrusting far, far out in their red-black splendor." His erection doesn’t have time "to complain or falter."

~
Phwew. 

One thing I didn't mention about these paperbacks is that they all have an advertisement for True cigarettes in the middle of them and ads for other lurid series like The Penetrator in the back pages.

Let's end this first overview of Dicky Blade's bang-tastic adventures in Dimension X with a breakdown of breast descriptions, because I don't think this post has enough of that.

Larger than Blade originally thinks? 1.
Notably large? 6.
Small but firm? 9.
Pointed? 2.
Large or Responsive Nipples? 6.   
Blue-tipped? 2. Red? 1. Marble? 1. Sea Coral? 1. Brown? 1. 
Made of diamonds? 1.
Undescribed but German? 1.
And finally: Magnificent? At least 18

Next time (whenever that will be) I'll try to be more accurate. 

7 comments:

  1. "A clown ran up from nowhere and smote his raw brain with a bladder and there was more pain." -- I shit you not, this sent me into literal gales of laughter for, like, a good solid sixty seconds.

    "Very jealous, with surprisingly large nipples. Don't shoot the messenger." -- Ditto. Had to goddam stop reading for a while after that one.

    ***

    Okay, I'm back. Jesus.

    I don't know what to say about any of this except that I heartily endorse it. I probably shouldn't; I should probably feel a significant amount of shame at having laughed at it by proxy. I don't, though. No sir.

    The older I get, the more I seem to come down on the side of "if you got the ability to be in a cock-rock band (literally, metaphorically, or otherwise), then it would be sinful not to exploit that opportunity for all it's worth." This piece-o'-shit world of ours could probably use a heapin' helpin' of Richard Blade right about now.

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    Replies
    1. Hear hear.

      Glad you enjoyed!

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    2. I watched the new episode of "Vinyl" tonight and, as is customary for an HBO show, somebody got nekkid. To be specific, Juno Temple. I found myself wondering how her breasts/nipples would be described in a Richard Blade book. I'm not going to deman us all by revealing what I came up with, mainly because I refused to let my brain dwell on it.

      But that's where it went, reflexively.

      I think that makes this post officially successful.

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    3. Very nice! There should be a "Richard Blade" commentary-track option for just about everything, up to and including the State of the Union.

      (Man, that description of Lady Diana's breasts in 'Pearl of Patmos' is just staggering to me. I can almost see the eyebrow raise and this pseudo-scientific appraisal going on in Blade's mind, which is almost certainly occupied solely by a pre-pubescent boy over-compensating, riding some kind of uber-phallic dinosaur.)

      (Along those lines, the "cobra-headed" electrodes the deformed Lord Leighton applies to his stripped, lubed body at the beginning of every book never fail to crack me up. It's the little things.)

      I've heard mixed things on that show. What's your take on it?

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    4. I like it. It's not an instant classic or anything like that, but since when is that a prerequisite for enjoyment of a tv show? Every episode has been good, and I see no reason it won't get better the further into it they get.

      I have nothing to add to your thoughts on Blade's thoughts on Lady Diana's breasts, except to give it all a thumbs-up.

      By the way, my eyes kept reading "The Towers of Melnon" as "The Tower of Melons," which seems appropriate.

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    5. If we split the difference, "The Tower Of Melnons" is really rather perfect.

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  2. Funny enough "beata" is the Spanish common languaje word for a pious and virgin woman.

    ReplyDelete