The Void Captain's Tale does not disappoint on this score. Instead of the 60's lingo, though, Spinrad uses a melange of English, German, Spanish, French, and some other languages, code-switching at will as characters speak. A sentence might have all four languages in it, but rarely is the novel difficult to understand because of it. What is slightly difficult is the syntax: Spinrad not only makes the characters' diction unique, but also plays with sentence structure. This is not a novel you can read with half your head. It requires attention and quite a bit of rereading. Mostly, this is a pleasant experience, though a tiring one.
The plot itself is rather bare. Not much happens in the story--that is not necessarily a bad thing, as the point of the novel seems to be both the exploration of a style and a character--and that which does happen seems to happen more than once. There is little to "spoil" here, as the title character writes the story in a flashback. Our Captain is in charge of a starship that is mostly a cruise liner, populated by the idly rich and their attendants. He must balance the demands of the social order and its leader, a woman who is responsible for the passengers' enjoyment of the cruise, with the officers and staff in the ship. Complicating this all is his forbidden relationship with the Pilot, Dominique.
Where the novel gets really, really strange is in the way the interstellar Jump works. Sci-fi is replete with technological wonders about faster-than-light travel, from warp drives to hyperspace to stargates and so on. I've never run into an explanation of the interstellar jump quite like this one. The Pilot (always female) experiences a complete tantric "platform orgasm" to complete the jump circuit, which is directed and ordered by the Captain.
Most of the novel is about the romantic entanglements of Captain Gupta. He is expected to service the ship's domo (sort of a combination hostess/activites director) but begins and maintains a relationship with the Plot, Dominique, against custom. Where I found the novel at first interesting, then a bit tiresome, was in the many, many descriptions and ruminations of the sex act. I lost count of how many erections Captain Gupta had (only slightly more than the number of ejactulations he has) but believe me, you get to hear about all of them. The novel's obsession with tantric arts is also wearisome after several dozen repetitions.
This is almost a "sexual Siddhartha" kind of novel, but doesn't seem to go as many places. The ending is remarkably anticlimactic as well--not that the plot was ever the centerpiece of the novel, but I was still let down after I finished.
Still, the style and strangeness of the jump dynamics make this novel powerful enough to recommend. Just don't expect a lot of action.
Be seeing you!