Review: “Lava” by Piers Anthony

1 of 5 stars.

In all blurbs about this anthology, Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, Piers Anthony and his story are lauded as the anchor. However, this is not a short story it is a exceedingly short [thankfully] ridiculous fable without a moral. But fable’s need a moral to be a fable so I’m not sure what that makes this piece except lacking. It’s also elitist, racist and sexist, but more on that later.

Jarvis is bored and lonely as his cruise ship is forced to dock on a quiet, tiny Polynesian island due to a hurricane that apparently does not come near the island. At an overlook to the island’s dormant but not extinct volcano, Jarvis dwells on his misery until he hears voices and a naked beautiful woman appears. She is Lava, the spirit of the volcano, ie she’s not flesh-and-blood real. But he wants to have sex with her, because [like a sex doll] she can be whatever he wants. In return, he must give her tokens of appreciation.

By the second day, Jarvis is in love with Lava, but seriously considers his situation for whole minutes before deciding that its ok that they cannot have flesh-and-blood children together, because they can just raise local islander children as their own. He gives Lava a token, a cheap plastic, lone cuff-link, but that’s good enough because its just a token. That’s all sex dolls / volcano spirits / women really need and he really wants to have sex with her. She’ll do that for a token, naturally.

But then they hear terrible news: since tourism has slowed due to the inactivity of the volcano, it’s going to be bulldozed to make way for a banana plantation. Because, we’re in a world where one can just bulldoze a volcano out of existence to make way for a banana plantation. [Please tell me this is a fable and not just highly misinformed.] Lava, the volcano spirit is distraught and informs the greater volcano of the plan. It responds by sending out building-busting tremors. But then, that was enough to scare everyone into changing their mind about the banana plantation. Yay, the island is saved all on that second day!! And the villagers will start worshiping the volcano again: “[The villagers] knew about pacifying volcanoes. Their ancestors had done it for centuries.” And really aren’t all island societies just on the verge of reverting to offering tokens to volcanoes in the ways of their ancestors? Sorry about the spoilers, but at least we got to the true moral of the fable. It was either: a) your sex doll will have sex with you if you insert a worthless token, or b) islanders only remember to worship active volcanoes. Which ever.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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