Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘The Book Collector’ by Sarah Micklem

with 2 comments

Much like the protagonist of ‘The Proof’, our heroine, Col, is a unique and beautiful snowflake who is straight but unsatisfied with the entire male population. This might have something to do with the fact the sole hetrosexual man on display is the office sleazebag:

Every time he came by Col’s cubicle to see if she was ready to hook up, she thought of herself dangling from his penis like a fish. It was anti-erotic.

That second sentence is priceless. Oh, so dangling from his penis like a fish was an anti-erotic image? Thanks for pointing that out. Anyway, this is an anthology of erotic SF so obviously Col finds sex in the system. On company time, no less; science fiction has never been very good on the world of work. Col designs artificial humans for a living for a company called Incubus. When she has an itch that needs scratching she has sex with her creations through a neural interface called a Sensorium. As the story opens she has just been commissioned to create “the male equivalent of the Mona Lisa” for a wealthy art collector. I think you can see where this is going.

Micklem is only interested in the growing relationship between Col and Philip, the male Mona Lisa, the titular book collector. The implications, even the mechanics, of Col’s job, company and world are barely considered. In fact this future feels very familiar: Col uses the phrase “a quick boff”, borrows a “fuzzy pink sweater” and her favourite shirt is “rose-colored velvet”. Maybe the future, just like the present, really is all about the Eighties. Or maybe a lot of writers don’t have very good imaginations.

The story ends with Philip being handed over to his collector and Col heartbroken. Unfortunately this central relationship is based on solicism and childish monomania. It is literally wank. It is hard to care any more about Col’s tears than those of a teenage girl devestated that Duran Duran have split up.

Quality: **
Sexiness: **

Written by Martin

20 September 2009 at 12:42

2 Responses

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  1. I remember once reading a news story about a female mortician who had abducted this particularly attractive corpse. Fleeing justice across state lines she took formaldehyde with her to keep the body frisky and upon being apprehended she claimed it was the best sex she had ever had.

    I think that contains more insight into relationships than this story seems to have. You have the desire for a submissive partnet onto whom you can project all kinds of desires and fantasies, you have the need to keep injecting life into the relationship to keep things interesting and you have the ever present risk of decay.

    Jonathan McCalmont

    20 September 2009 at 13:41

  2. I think a sense of the psychological extremeness of the women is what is present in your example but lacking in both these stories which treat them as straight romance. I’m obviously after something less vanilla (but not necessarily necrophiliac).


    20 September 2009 at 15:48

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