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August 5th, 2009, 06:51 AM
Wow, talk about some obscure books. I went through the first couple pages of this forum and could only name a few books!

I've been trying to remember the name of a book for the last couple weeks, I don't want to re-read it, it just bugs me I can't remember it. I still have the book, but it's in a box in stack of boxes... or in one of several bookcases that are loaded three deep on shelves with mass market paperbacks. Point being searching for it would be a mess.

It's probably about twenty years old. It's about a guy who lives in an unpleasant underground city, basically a slum, and he wants to be a "mother", meaning have a child. But everyone is given a permanent birth control treatment when they are children and you need a lot of money to buy the treatment that reverses that long enough to have a child. So he does something dangerous and therefore profitable. Wealthy people lie on a table that allows them to inhabit the body of a donor (the main character in this case) for some finite amount of time and they do what ever while inhabiting the body. It's dangerous because the people using other peoples bodies might be into S&M, etc. A woman is trying to use his body for some illicit reason and by accident he inhabits her body. It turns out that the society is a caste system and people of mixed race are kept underground and not allowed to reproduce. People of "pure" racial genetic lines live on the surface and are free to have children (as long as they're not mixed race). Some memories are:

Robot police called Coppers because they look like they're made of copper (on the surface where they're clean)
Wood and other combustibles are outlawed underground because the surface dwellers fear an underground fire. As a result owning a wooden pencil is a status symbol underground because wood is so expensive there.
The female antagonist keeps saying "Mamma Mia, Mia Culpa, etc."
The worst swear word is "rape" because birth is beautiful and by the same logic "F***" is a good word.
I read it about the same time I read "Bone Dance" by Emma Bull so that would put it around 1991.

I thought "wooden pencil" and the Italian would be enough to find it with Google, but nope. Just a ton of hits on that movie (Mamma Mia). :D Tried searches here but got hits in long threads and couldn't find it.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. Just noticed the "show posts" on the search. Duh...