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Book Review: Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters, Pt. 1

Posted by Sunday on Apr 27, 2008 at 11:22 am in Literature

Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters, by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis (The Viking Press, 1972)

How many times have you wish for a novelized version of a British scifi television show from the early 70′s? A dozen? Hundreds?


It would be fantastic, I concur, and with evidence in hand: Mutant 59 is the funnest read I have had in some time now: Such shameless destruction! Such brash sexuality!

It is with sincere pleasure that I present to you Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters, a page-by-page summary in three parts.

To help assimilate information, I have color coded certain events. Red is for acts of violence and destruction. Violet is for sexiness. Green is for amazing science.

pg. 5: Multiple astronaut death by re-entry failure!

pg. 8-9: Jetliner death with elderly woman peril!

“The lives of the forty-eight passengers and crew ceased almost simultaneously as collapsing bulkheads and jagged paneling slashed their bodies into a terrible carrion which rained down onto the street below.”

pg. 10: Use of the word “maidenhead” as a part of a hymen joke.

pg. 16: Catastrophic series of fatal automobile accidents!

pg. 18: Scientists take a tea and biscuit break.

pg. 23: One character describes this scene:

“Some of the plastic in, I don’t know, some kind of Christmas toy grotto or bazaar has melted and the guy on the job can’t account for it.”

The other characters respond with merely lukewarm concern.

pg. 24: Primary male character (Man) grumpy about women not wanting to commit.

pg. 29-3o: Malfunctioning Christmas astronaut robot attack! Primary female character (Woman) injured!

pg. 31-32: Man must take Woman back to her apartment and examine her shoulder, accidentally sees breast which is surprisingly “full for her slender figure, and firm.”

pg. 45: Reveal of plot-important material called “Degron,” a plastic that turns to dust two hours after exposure to oxygen and sunlight. Used to make soft drink bottles with complicated, removable shells of non-disintegrating plastic that can be discarded to expose the interior layer of carbon-coated (to keep sunlight off) Degron. Result: half the plastic is used, eighteen times as much manufacturing technology is needed. Questions unanswered: if the Degron is the interior of the bottle, won’t there be oxygen and light exposure as you drink your beverage? Where do you discard the bottle if you are indoors (aka, would the interior of a waste bin provide enough sunlight?)? Doesn’t plastic always just “degrade” into smaller pieces of plastic?

pg. 47: Ad copy written for soft drink in Degron bottles:

“Help your environment, drink Tropic Delight. Pull the strip – watch it crumble. Put it on your window box – sprinkle it on your garden. Watch your flowers flourish. If you haven’t got a garden, flush it down the sink.”

It would seem that Degron degrades into a nutrient, unlike all other plastics ever invented.

pg. 49: Secretary hesitant to make a whole pot of coffee just so Man can have a cup. Man silently throws fit then resolves to force her to make the coffee anyway and “get her up off her fat can.”

pg. 63: Man afraid secretary heard him burp.

pg. 65: Grisly submarine death!

pg. 66: Mention of a different secretary, this one “rather asexually pretty.”

pg. 73: Adultery!

pg. 81: Disastrous subway peril! Children and elderly trampled! Elderly man described as “carrying a polythene container of paraffin” then “explodes in a ball of flame”!

pg. 82: Individual descriptions of people burning to death!

pg. 89: Detailed recap of subway peril from page 81!

pg. 90: Commuters “mowed down” by explosion debris! Crowds “crushed and flattened” by pipes like “monstrous pastry rollers”!

pg. 92 & 95: Brandy used to successfully revive two people near death.

pg. 98: Evidence of workmen having recently been in an unused subway tunnel: a still-warm kettle and scattered packets of tea.

Stay tuned for parts Two and Three!

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April 27th, 2008 | Literature

7 Responses to “Book Review: Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters, Pt. 1”

  1. halcyon Says:

    I would like to change my vote. Yes, I would like to hear that story!

  2. quagmire Says:

    More … more!
    Actually, this bit o’ cheese sounds interesting in a nice, uncomplicated by String Theory sort-of-way!
    Even tho I am a young lad, I appreciate the old-school sci-fi genre. The Brits have always injected their tea-time, quiet desperation into even the most far fetched literature and film. An incredibly poignant (and ancient) movie that you gotta experience is ‘The Man From Planet X’ (1951). This movie is on my Top Ten alltime fave scifi flicks … and certainly is one that set me on the Path To Intergalactic Hell (which I LOVE by the way!).

  3. Gao Says:

    Eagerly awaiting part 2!

  4. subspace Says:

    I’m reading as fast as I can! That’s not true, I’ve been doing errands all day and then watched some Season 1 of Buffy (they’re all so round-faced and optimistic!). But soon I’ll be reading as fast as I can!

  5. quagmire Says:

    Isn’t this like the eleventy-third time you’ve giggled and kevtched thru the Buffy Series? … just askin’, no judgment intended!

  6. computer_blue Says:

    Wow I just saw this in a use bookstore today and I wanted to get it, but decided to do some research before I bought it. Reading your synopsis, I’m sold. That was great, I can’t wait to hear part two!

  7. subspace Says:

    quagmire: Honestly? This is the second time. Second. It’s just that there are seven years of it, so it seems like it goes on forever. Sadly, it does not.

    computer_blue: Go back and get it! Parts of it are embarrassingly entertaining (lines like, “She writes good – for a woman!”) and other parts are genuinely well-written. It’s one of those books you can pull off a shelf and quote from almost at random and are pretty much guaranteed to crack yourself up.

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