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Meltzer, David

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1937-2016) US jazz guitarist, poet and author whose sf is almost entirely restricted to two sequences of erotic novels published by Essex House at the end of the 1960s, though he had published a very few stories earlier. The first sequence – the Agency series comprising The Agency (1968), The Agent (1968) and How Many Blocks in the Pile? (1969), all three assembled as The Agency Trilogy (omni 1994) – is a remarkably savage Satire of a Near-Future USA through a plot whose erotic nature (a young man is indoctrinated by the eponymous organization into sexual Slavery, and himself becomes an agent for his masters) can readily be seen as a metaphor illustrating the Dystopian nature of post-industrial society.

This vision is even more sharply focused in the Brain Plant sequence – comprising Brain Plant #1: Lovely (1969), Brain Plant #2: Healer (1969), Brain Plant #3: Out (1969) and Brain Plant #4: Glue Factory (1969) – in which cartoonlike characters ricochet surreally through a disjointed USA in a pre-programmed search for theme-park Sex, while the Secret Masters (see Paranoia; Politics) at the heart of the military-industrial complex rule on.

Most of Meltzer's work, from his first book, Poems (coll 1957 chap), has been poetry, and he can be seen as a very late member of the Beat Generation; his roots in that tradition help make clear the intersection of erotic excess and political protest in his work. [JC]

David Meltzer

born Rochester, New York: 17 February 1937

died Oakland, California: 31 December 2016




  • The Agency (North Hollywood, California: Essex House, 1968) [Agency: pb/]
  • The Agent (North Hollywood, California: Essex House, 1968) [Agency: pb/]
  • How Many Blocks in the Pile? (North Hollywood, California: Essex House, 1969) [Agency: pb/]
    • The Agency Trilogy (New York: Richard Kasak, 1994) [omni of the above three: Agency: pb/]

Brain Plant

poetry (highly selected)


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