Exploring the final frontier
Lately, science has not been particularly kind to Supervert’s argument against the existence of extraterrestrial life: over the last eighteen months or so, there have been numerous technological advances and discoveries that would give heart to those our intrepid author would describe as having an alien fetish.
There was the discovery that the number of stars in the universe might be triple previous estimates; there were already up to two hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe, each with hundreds of billions of stars. The number of Earth-like planets orbiting newly discovered stars, which are typically more than ten billion years old – long enough for complex life to have evolved – is now perhaps in the trillions. Ponder these numbers for a moment.
Then there was the discovery of a microbe at the bottom of a Californian lake that thrives in an arsenic-rich environment; the microbe takes arsenic – poisonous to terrestrial life as we know it – and uses it as a building block for its most basic biological structures. Astrobiologists
think this vastly increases the likelihood of life – as we do not know it – existing elsewhere in the universe.
And then the international scientific community was in uproar in September when particle physicists working at a laboratory in central Italy appeared to discover that neutrino subatomic particles could travel faster than light. If verified, the foundations of physics would need re-laying in a way that would potentially make some form of time travel a theoretical possibility.
Bizarrely, the discovery of an arsenic-based life form actually moderates the outrageousness of Supervert’s depictions of alien worlds and life. What it doesn’t do, and what the other potentially revolutionary discoveries do not do, is detract from Supervert’s effort to produce a literary and philosophical work of art.
ET Sex Fetish employs an unusual structure based on mathematical set theory. This was inspired, the author says, by the potential of such a structure to portray the “monomania” of the fetishist – in this case, for aliens – and as a solution to literary problems of form and formlessness. Thus the book
is divided into four “sets”: the first is a collection of fantasies of the protagonist, Mercury de Sade – Alien Sex Scenes (ASS), the “exploitation of aliens in fantasy”; the second is a serialisation of Mercury de Sade’s efforts to satisfy his necessarily insatiable fetish in New York City through the exploitation of a young woman in his real life. The third set is a series of studies of the work of philosophers through the ages who have in some way, even if indirectly, mused on the subject of extraterrestrial life; and the fourth is a “randomised series [of] commentaries, observations, and supplementary materials relating to the case history”.
Supervert’s own thought on extraterrestrial life unfolds with his historical presentation of philosophical thought on the subject; in the process, he makes his own contribution to the philosophy of speculation (as it must be termed) on the matter. It is with section 15 of his analysis of the philosophers’ musings, in this case Kierkegaard, that the tracts on the philosophy of exophilia – “a sexual desire for something that is literally not to be found on earth” – begin to become increasingly focussed and are gradually utilised more forcefully