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  • Writer's pictureLee Murray

Tropic of Scorpeo

It’s her purpleness, Princess Juraletta’s, final chance for a ‘fling-a-ding before the string of the wedding ring.’ Will she do the deed before her nuptials to the decrepit Fissionable Duke on the morrow? Meanwhile, beautiful green-skinned Rhameo would prefer to be eaten by a tigon in the forests of Erath than comply with his overbearing mother’s wishes to marry Gloggwetafug, thereby uniting the Gloggothian empire with that of illustrious Skorpeo. And lording over it all, Maledor, that doer of no good, finds his evil deeds are backfiring. What is the universe coming to?

Michael Morrissey’s Tropic of Skorpeo Complete and Unabridged (Steam Press) is a rather romping Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups. Reading it put me in mind of a globulous yellow lava lamp, or perhaps the psychedelic orange florals of wallpaper from the late 1960s: it is so full of colour and fanciful things. The talking hedge is a particular favourite. Morrissey gives us fantastical political sexual satire at its very best. With ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ plotting, the style is succinctly Emperor’s New Clothes: if there are parts of it the reader doesn’t get, well, Morrissey doesn’t give a whit, an attitude which I found rather refreshing. So, if you like a tale of princesses and gorgons and nannybats, and you aren’t the sort who is prudish about Amazonians, Slutoids and fug ups before breakfast, then this is the fantasy for you.

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