Today I read a book about an Amazonian-like race of black women from the planet Vixen who come to earth and kidnap a bunch of black men (and accidentally one white man) because all of the males of Vixen had died.
This Bargain Bin Book, Mission, is written by Pamela Leigh Starr. I acquired it at my local Dollar General for $1. The original list price was $6.99.
A brief synopsis:
Verena, the commander of the star ship Vixen II, orders her crew to travel to Earth to collect some mates for her planet, Vixen. All of the Vixen males had previously died due to an incurable, unexpected disease. So the Vixen women are searching the universe for compatible males so that their race does not die out. The Vixens are generally described as being very tall, lithe, and with varying shades of dark skin.
Jordan, an FBI agent with Project Discover (aka Discount X-Files) and his team are monitoring the new alien visitors. They notice several men enter the alien craft but none leave, so Jordan goes on board to investigate. Also, Jordan is extremely white. For much of the book, they call him “pale one.”
The ship takes off with Jordan still on board. The Vixens discover him after it’s too late to turn back. Verena, in spite of, or maybe because of the fact that Jordan is so different, claims him to be her mate.
Alien spacecraft hi-jinks ensue, including naked Karate, an emotional AI assistant, various couples falling in love, and unwashed Bigfoots. Bigfeet? Sasquatches? …yeah.
Firstly, I am a child of the 80’s. Verena is constantly referred to as “Mighty She-force.” It was really hard to read this when I kept having to stop and pose.
Next, there was a whole lot of deus-ex-machina shit up in here.
- The Vixens just decided to speak in English because it’s such a simple language. Communication between the humans and Vixens is suddenly way too easy. (This was better than pulling the old “we inserted translating devices in your ears” bit though.)
- Human men are immune to the plague that wiped out the Vixen men; they know this because they exposed one sample of human blood to the virus in this one simple experiment they did one time.
- Two hundred pages into the book, oh the Vixens can totally communicate via telepathy. It didn’t need mentioning before, but now it’s needed to progress the plot, so…
In the beginning of the book, Jordan literally asks, “Lost in space?”
The planet and its people are named “Vixen.” I get it, the planet is inhabited by highly intelligent and attractive women. Vixen men were considered as “less than.” But the play on words was less of a subtle nod and more of a five act Shakespearean tragedy rammed down our throats.
which was able to garner the same taken aback reaction from both a white woman and a black woman. Knowing that this was written by a black woman through the point of view of a white man, I really don’t know how to react to this. Because is it a comment that she herself does not find offensive? Or is it something that she thinks a white man would think when thusly surrounded by black women? (In some cases, she’s not wrong.) I don’t know, I really don’t. But growing up in the south, I’ve heard the Oreo line used too many times as an insult to just gloss over it while reading.
Writing-wise, the book is very readable. I only noticed one typo in the printing, which is really pretty good. The only clunky phrases were those which were supposed to be, such as ones from aliens speaking a language they don’t fully grasp yet. That being said, the very first page was brutal. BRUTAL.
“I have found a likely planet.”
“It is blah blah blah…..”
“More,” Verena demanded…..
Thank God the dialogue didn’t stay like that the whole book, or I would have quit before I finished the first chapter.
The main theme of the book is gender equality. The Vixens were used to the women being superior. The humans are used to the men being in charge. Culture clash, culture shock, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes the telling seemed a bit heavy-handed, such as an emotional AI interface telling a human that males are often over-emotional. That was the one time in the book where I finally yelled, “OKAY I GET IT!” out loud, scaring my cats.
But it has a point and it makes it, that compromise is good and the only road to success is working together as equals.
It is a romantic space fantasy with some sexual content, so if you’re looking for regular space fantasy, this is not the book for you.
I will rate it a 3/5, I am sending it to a friend to read.
If the planet were named anything other than Vixen, the inhabitants weren’t called the Vixens, and it didn’t have the telepathy-ex-machina thrown in, it would probably get a 4/5.
Also, these ratings aren’t for book of the year or anything, simply a reflection of “can I enjoy reading this random book I just plucked out of a bargain bin?”