I'm trying to find the title of a science fiction novel I read, in hardcover probably in the late 70's.

All I can remember is that it was your typical story of the characters fighting a world-wide pandemic on Earth. The key difference in this novel was that the way the virus worked is that the infected became promiscuous, which then spread the virus through the ensuing contact with other people.

This is not Colin Wilson's The Space Vampires (made into the movie Lifeforce). Nor is it any of Octavia E. Butler's stories (such as, Clay's Ark). It is strictly a pandemic story.

I thought the title actually was The Promiscuity Virus, but I can't find any hits. The funny thing is I can picture which shelf it was on in the public library. Maybe the author's last name is in the middle of the alphabet? I don't remember the author as being well-known.

I think the book cover was all words, no picture, possibly yellow. Or a comic book style cover! Which in my defense does have a lot of yellow in it.

  • goodreads.com/book/show/2628344-the-sex-virus - From 2004, but meets your description
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2021 at 22:39
  • isfdb.org/cgi-bin/… - "The ??? Virus" doesn't seem to match any listed property on ISFDB
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2021 at 22:46
  • @Valorum: the synopsis for The Sex Virus does seem in the right ballpark, but the 2003 publishing date rules it out. Also, I seem to remember that if the protagonists got infected it was game over for the good guys. Nov 28, 2021 at 22:56
  • When I was (probably too) young, I read Cliver Barker's Books of Blood in their entirety. One of the many stories that left a lasting impression was "The Age of Desire". Granted, it wasn't a virus as far as I can recall, but it was about a medical experiment gone wrong and it was...graphic. As only Barker can be. I know it doesn't answer your question. but if you're interested in similarly themed stories, that's a good one. Far more horror than sci-fi, of course.
    – Deepak
    Nov 29, 2021 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


Possibly Kronk ???


(The main characters were not trying to stop the spread, but actually trying to ensure it did spread - there were other characters opposed to it)

From https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Kronk

Kronk, originally released as Son of Kronk is a 1970 Dystopia novel by Edmund Cooper. The protagonist, Gabriel Crome, book artist, is sharing a bottle of vodka with a raven and contemplating suicide when he has the opportunity to save the life of Camilla Greylaw who has similarly arrived to commit suicide. After convincing her to give life a chance, he learns that her scientist husband has infected her with a virus named P939 which is a sexually-transmitted disease that removes all aggression from those it infects. They eventually decide that it is their destiny to spread this disease among the world and thereby bring about world peace.

P939 includes a "prommy" stage of a few weeks where the recipients are obsessed with sex and seek to spread the virus.

  • 2
    This is a strong candidate. The "inhibits aggression" seems familiar, as is the virus name (P939). And despite what I said in the Question about the cover, this image of the original Son of Kronk cover biblio.com/book/kronk-cooper-edmund/d/1139018894 really seems right. Nov 28, 2021 at 23:35
  • Here's another review of Son of Kronk with a good picture of the comic book style cover: vintage45.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/… Nov 28, 2021 at 23:56
  • I've added a couple of the covers from Goodreads. Please feel free to remove these if you don't like the change. Nov 29, 2021 at 6:30
  • Thank you for finding that. I remembered the book, but kept searching on this site for it, whereas, I think I found it somewhere else. :)
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 29, 2021 at 13:46
  • 1
    Hmm, too bad it wasn't named P6969...
    – Nelson
    Nov 30, 2021 at 7:38

If it is possible that you read the story in the late 1980s instead, it sounds like it might be by not super known author Joe Clifford Faust's novel A Death of Honor, in which a club drug causes people to have ecstatic/euphoric/orgasmic experiences by interacting with others—including sexually—in order to stimulate memories (which are subsequently consumed by the designer viruses which actually are the 'drug'). You do not describe the book cover that you remember seeing, but here are some covers:

A Death of Honor cover A Death of Honor cover A Death of Honor cover

  • 6
    I own A Death of Honor -- I just found it in my collection, in the 1st of your covers. That's not the novel I'm looking for. I updated the Question with a comment about the cover. Nov 28, 2021 at 22:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.