TighterItGetsBy ROBERT MOORE (Ophelia Press; 1970)

Robert Moore (actually Russell Martin) was a prolific contributor to the famed smut book outfit Olympia Press and its offshoot Ophelia, under whose imprint the present book appeared.  Moore/Martin’s books were distinguished by a frank, hard-boiled prose style and titles (like THE RAPE CONSPIRACY and HARD GUYS AND HOSTAGES) that adequately summed up the contents.  A particular standout was 1971’s MADAM SEX THIEF, a mind-roaster about penis transplantation in a silver mine, while THE TIGHTER IT GETS, which appeared a year earlier, was surely Moore/Martin’s magnum opus, a future shocker about North America overtaken by Africans.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking: the invading Africans of this novel are white skinned, being descended from European settlers who re-populated Africa in the wake of a nuclear war.  Thus the author side-steps the controversial racial implications of his premise, although that’s about the only area in which he shows any restraint!

The novel begins shortly after the takeover, with a young “noram” woman and her mother forced to sexually service occupying “panaf” soldiers.  From there we move a bit further on into the occupation, looking in on a woman who is once again fated to service panaf soldiers, prior to being shipped off to a breeding farm in which she’s subjected to horrific surgical mutilation in order to render her a more efficient breeding machine for the panafs.  In the following chapters we’re taken even further into this nightmare reality, which comes to encompass mass cannibalism in the form of assembly-lines upon which newborn babies are selected to be raised as human cattle for consumption by the panafs.

The novel is laudably ambitious—indeed, by traditional smut book standards it’s downright visionary.  It also, unfortunately, has a misogynistic edge that (as in Robert Moore’s other books) is rather extreme, and a dystopian universe that could have stood to be laid out with a bit more detail; clearly the book’s modest 180 page length was insufficient for its aims.  Granted, it’s probably silly to complain about such things in a smut paperback (a format that doesn’t exactly thrive on thoughtfulness or refinement), but given the author’s outsized ambitions I think I’m being fair in noting that he didn’t quite achieve them.