Southern Comfort by Gerrold Watkins (Barry Malzberg)
The narrator of this novel is named Gerrold Watkins, a spy for the north. This is a Civil War novel, although the characters talk like they are from the 20th Century. I was suspecting, like some Malzberg’s stories, that we’d learn the narrator is in a virtual environment, like Malzberg’s Cross of Fire where the protagonist becomes Jesus ina virtual for therapy.
Watkins is in Atlanta, a month before its burning down, spying on some important Confedaerate big wig. he winds up sleeping with his target’s wife and also their black house slave. What he does not know is that his journals, what we are reading, dispatched to his superiors, have been intercepted, at the Conferates know he is a spy and are letting him go on to find out what his agenda is. His target’s wife has told her to keep sleeping with him to find out if he slips and tells her something the South can use.
No matter — the Union troops have enterered the city and are bruning it down. As Atlanta burns, so does Watkins in sex frenzy with the wife and the slave.
Not one of Malzber’s better Watkins novels (A Bed of Money is better) but a fun read.
The book is the second Malzberg wrote for Olympia Press New York as a green paperback. It does not have a sexy photo in front like the others.