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Passing for Human

(The Benaroya Chronicles #1)

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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When a dolphin-like alien comes to Earth disguised in a female human body, it sets the stage for a wild feminist romp that out stranges Stranger in a Strange Land.
Foreword by Barry Maltzberg
* * *

"A riproaringly magnificent time. Passing For Human is quite unlike anything anyone else has ever done."
--Neil Gaiman

“Exuberantly clever and wildly iconoclastic… If you thirst
...more
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published August 17th 2015 (first published 1977)
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3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  76 ratings  ·  26 reviews


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Peter Tillman
In 1999, I wrote:
In Jody Scott's cheerfully implausible PASSING FOR HUMAN (1977), Central Galaxy anthropologist Benaroya has conscious control of her breast size -- and everything else. She starts out playing "Brenda Starr" in a little red sports car on the LA freeways. Benaroya among the bushmen! Worth looking for. How very *complex* the sweet little bushmen were!

And here's Charlie Jane Anders' take:
"Benaroya is a giant space dolphin who's only interested in pleasure, until she decides to stud
...more
Geoff
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, read-2019
That was weird. I'm not sure if the disjointed, slightly annoying writing style was a function of the time the novel was written, bad writing, or a brilliant strategy to portrary humans through alien culture-shocked eyes. And wow does Jody Scott see nothing redeeming about humans!
Mark
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this listed on a "10 Weirdest SF Novels That You've Never Read" so gave it a go. It was more goofy than weird but an enjoyable, quick read. Written in the aliens point of view, the way humans were observed as being primitive, petty and cruel was handled cleverly and funny at times. I totally agree with the aliens.
Stephen Robert Collins
This book long out of print has been reissued again so look out for it.
Chris Thompson
The only thing that Jody Scott's Passing for Human seems sure about is its manic energy. Each page crackles with an energy unsurpassed by none, and yet this energy is its undoing. Scott, I assume, is attempting to tackle serious social issues, yet her flippant tone makes it hard to take anything that happens seriously. The breathless way Scott jumps from action to action, idea to idea, leaves the reader with nothing to grasp, whether ideologically or visually. I see that the book was originally ...more
Daniel White
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enticing.
Ian
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was, when I started this, expecting something not unlike Josephine Saxton’s Queen of the States, a novel I like very much. However, Passing for Human is a decade older, and it reads like it. If anything, the one book it reminded me of was Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge – and it even explicitly references Vidal’s novel at one point. There’s a pair of sequels, I, Vampire and Devil-May-Care, only the first of which was published by The Women’s Press (but since the third book wasn’t even published ...more
Joshua Buhs
Oct 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I jus don't get this genre of science fiction.

Passing for Human is the first of two books by Jody Scott (I already read the second one.) It was highly praised by Barry Malzberg (and William Burroughs); I've read some Malzberg and see the similarities and don't really like his writing, either.

It's all very loose, very flip, with sarcasm that (in my opinion) falls flat.

This book is about an alien, Benaroya, who comes to earth--able to shift between many different bodies; in the course of e
...more
Max
This was pretty awful, sadly. The back cover makes it sound pretty great, but really it's just a kinda generic evil overlord versus good aliens sci-fi plot with some vague attempts at satire thrown in. Unfortunately, the satire generally falls flat and winds up making the protagonist and the other allegedly good aliens seem monstrous. Within the first chapter, the protagonist murders a number of cops and a random woman, and things only get worse from there. I only managed to drag myself through ...more
Cameron
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'll admit that I bought it for the cover and that the story is terribly silly.
But it'll only take you a couple hours to read it and then you'll be left wondering what just happened.
but mostly in a good way.
Andy
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I went into this book on an author recommendation. While it was not a ”you will love this” sort of review, I had thought I might. I was incorrect. It was somewhat as described, a bit alien, but unless subtleties of storytelling are lost on me it was definitely not as otherworldly as described.

It was certainly an interesting window into something resembling the pop culture of the time. I think it most reminded me of a Roger Moore style Bond... Tongue in cheek, campy, but intriguing concepts. It
...more
Jim
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the science fiction paperbacks from the 60s and 70s that my dad had read--and that I have now and keep in a box. I reached in the box and picked this one up. A blurb on the cover says it's "a Swiftian satire." The story is a satire and there are some funny bits--and it reminded me of Ron Goulart or Robert Sheckley. But I got tired of it by the time I got to the end on the 191st page. The story is an interesting one--an alien named Benaroya has created a human body to use as she e ...more
Deidra Hong
It was weird enough that I couldn't stop thinking about telepathic space-dolphin anthropology, not weird enough that I'd want to ever read it again, but a quick read that I certainly don't regret.
Jim Galford
Talk about weird books. Aliens come to earth and inhabit the bodies of humans they choose, many notable figures in history. The comedic writings of Jody Scott let loose an very enjoyable book.
Ashwin Ravikumar
It was pretty darn 80s. Theres an obvious feminist reading, which was good and fun, and may even have held a certain contemporary poignancy that eludes my (male) millennial sensibilities.

That said, the "humans are so silly and basic and stupid, tee hee!" became so repetitive as to be grating. Scott drops an occasionally awesome and hilarious turn of phrase, usually characters lobbing colorful insults at each other, which made it worth reading. It was fun, and it was quick, but not really mind bl
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Jacob
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a GREAT book but it's an admirable one. Jody Scott is the only sci-fi author I've read who actually understands how to write an immortal being. The book comes off as flippant because, guess what, these characters don't give a single crap about us!

Of course, the problem then becomes that it's hard to empathize with the main character because she is so decidedly un-human.

Scott is trying her best to demonstrate the opposite of humanity as a way of showing us what is wrong with humanity.
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Wolverina
Interesting. I find her writing style a little too chaotic but she has some fucking cutting lines in there. <3
Ben Fountain
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
one of the worst books I've ever read.

full of neurotic psycho babble that Q would expect troi to come out with. started well, dropped rapidly, struggled through to finish, got worse
Michael Bonnet
I WAS weird, but it was my kind of weird. Jody Scott has an interesting point of view metaphysically speaking.
Tine Steiß
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book like she crawled in my head and wrote what I'd enjoy the most. Alien anthropologists playing James Bond with their archenemy on earth as an excuse to dissect the human condition. Loved it!
Erik Graff
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: satiric sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Not very deep, but amusing satire.
Josh English
It is a strange book about the battle between, well, fish-people and a jerk, as far as I could tell.
Sinéad
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
meh
Linda
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get through. Good premise but unsympathetic protagonist.
Hope Barrett
rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2011
Stephanie Quinn
rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2016
Jack Tripper
rated it liked it
Oct 12, 2017
Tim Poston
rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2016
Alexander
rated it liked it
May 18, 2017
Andrew Bell
rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2017
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"What a wild, original and outrageously funny writer she is." -TimeOut

Jody Scott (Jan 13, 1923- Dec 24, 2007 ) was an award-winning American writer whose novels garnered extensive critical and peer acclaim though most of her works remained unpublished during her lifetime. Scott was a satirist who employed speculative and mainstream fiction to critique society and question the nature of reality. H
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Other books in the series

The Benaroya Chronicles (3 books)
  • I, Vampire
  • Devil-May-Care (The Benaroya Chronicles Book 3)