Eli Yaakunah’s The Woman Who Sparked The Greatest Sex Scandal Of All Time, published 2013 (originally), is a Sci-Fi novel painting a clear picture of a dystopian society with echoes of Brave New World and 1984, though not quite as absolute. This is, ultimately, a thriller rather than an allegorical deconstruction of modern society, though there are elements of that too. Given that the novel is all about censorship and media control, it’s a little ironic that the novel itself has run into publishing difficulties (see Denounce Censorship) and was consequently re-published ‘slightly abridged by removing the explicit descriptions of sex scenes’ in 2014 (both versions are available from Amazon).
The writing is beautiful, erotic, poetic, intense, imaginative, intelligent – and gripping enough that I could barely put it down. The author/narrator is Ishtar, named for the goddess of love, war and sex. The gods of this future dystopia are the creators of reality. They are the elite who have absolute control of the media, and the reality that is represented there. Ishtar is a part of that, and at the beginning of the novel she is a writer of news stories that blend sex and monsters – news that people enjoy reading, and therefore more real than reality. When a promotion elevates her to the realm of the upper elite, and takes her away from a man that she has started to love, she begins to understand how the grand conspiracy that she is a part of is in truth a system of profound injustice, and her eyes are slowly opened to the real world.
I do have some complaints: The title certainly catches the eye and has some relevance to the book, but it’s also a little misleading; I might prefer ‘Ishtar and the Written Reality’, perhaps. Also, I am confused about when in the timeline the kiss in the park took place, and the device that the plot resolution hinges on is a little absurd… But these are all minor issues. Ultimately, this is one of the most delightful books I’ve ever read.