Events move fast in Umbalathorp, the capital city of the new African republic of Goya. When Soames Noyes, a young Englishman of the old school (public, of course) arrives, he finds himself caught in more than one stream of conflicting ideas – and more than one bed of conflicting women . . . . . This is Brian Aldiss’ first straight novel for some years. It is as straight as a circular saw and as sharp, and is neither straight-laced nor straight-faced. Under its ironic and fantastic humour lies a keen perception of what gives human sex drives their pep. The answer would seem to be – the male response..
Only marginally science fiction, the story tells how the indecisive Soames Noyes (No-Yes) is sent by his company with a computer to the newly free black state of Goya, in Africa, where he becomes entangled with women and witch-doctors. Reluctantly, Noyes faces all challenges (“There are more attitudes towards love than there are positions for it,” Soames said) and, following by public promiscuity, becomes President. Nemesis, however, comes sneaking up on hubris. A forerunner to the Haratio Stubbs stories, the book was banned in South Africa as being “obscene, objectionable or undesirable”.
FIRST EDITION: Beacon Books, 1961
|1||Beacon Books, New York, 1961||Paperback|
|2||Dennis Dobson, London, 1963||Hardcover|
|3||A spanish language edition, 1963||Paperback|
|4||Four Square Books, London, 1966||Paperback|
|5||in Brian Aldiss Omnibus 2, Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1971||Hardcover|
|6||La Tribuna, Italy, 1968||Paperback|
|7||Panther Books, London, 1976 – reprinted 1978||Paperback|
|8||as: O! Afrika, Bastei Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach, 1987||Paperback|
|8||House of Stratus, London, 2001||Paperback|