Everything Is Nice

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

Posts Tagged ‘sex in the system

‘Poppet’ by Elspeth Potter

leave a comment »

Another very short story and one dealing with a subject I thought I would be more common in the anthology: better living through technology. After her partner is severely burnt in an accident, Jessamine smuggles the small, telepathically controlled doll they have been working on into the hospital. With sexy results. It is essentially a warm-hearted teledildonics story that explicitly thinks about the implications for the disabled. Aww.

Quality: ***
Sexiness: ****

Written by Martin

22 September 2009 at 08:34

‘Softly, With A Big Stick’ by Gavin J Grant

leave a comment »

One of the shortest stories in the collection this posits a world where noise is a crime, hence taboo, hence sexualised. It is pretty good but not really erotic, especially given that the ultimate escape form conformity is doing a big blow off.

Quality: ****
Sexiness: *

Written by Martin

20 September 2009 at 17:41

‘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

‘The Proof’ by Shariann Lewitt

with one comment

‘The Proof’ is the answer to the unnecessary question: what do you get if you cross a cheesy romance, outmoded gender politics and the Copenhagen interpretation? Sarah is scared of commitment because any man will make her give up Science. Then she meets Adrian:

His hair was thick and black and pulled back into the ubiquitous ponytail, his eyes were soft and chocolate and held some humour at the same time.

Can someone you’ve just met for the first time have a ubiquitous ponytail? Why would having soft, chocolate eyes make their ability to hold humor surprising? Lewitt’s prose poses many questions like this. It is extremely clumsy which made me think this was early work by Lewitt but, in fact, she has a substantial (although undistinguished) back catalogue.

Quality: *
Sexiness: **

Written by Martin

18 September 2009 at 21:24

‘Pinocchia’ by Paul Di Filippo

leave a comment »

Now, to awaken her, he had only to speak her name, a name he had chosen and suitably altered in memory of a fairytale he had enjoyed as a child, a fairytale whose creator-figure harmonized vaguely with Geppi’s own name and vocation.

How convenient. This is, obviously, a fairytale re-telling where – in keeping with the theme of the anthology – it is Pinocchia’s clit which grows every time she lies. It isn’t just stealing the premise, in style and structure it apes a fairytale.

I skipped forward to this story in the anthology because of this post by Alex Dally MacFarlane which starts: “I’ll skip any preamble: I read a story, I disliked it strongly, I am now ranting about it.” Her mistake is to read the story as an example of realism rather than as a cartoon. Within this context rape becomes just another activity. MacFarlane accurately concludes: “It all seems to be about the sex, rather than a true journey of self-discovery.” ‘Pinocchia’ is (perhaps unsurprisingly) rather similar to di Filippo’s erotic novel, A Mouthful of Tongues: Her Totipotent Tropicanalia; it is mostly concerned with the eroticism of variety and indulgence. That is to say a very broad sort of story, unconcerned with the way people actually think, feel or behave.

Quality: ***
Sexiness: ***

Written by Martin

17 September 2009 at 21:26

‘The Future Of Sex: A Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ by Joe Haldeman

with 2 comments

But ah! there may be brave new worlds
awaiting lusty boys and girls:

and it is to these futures grand
that I will lead you, by the hand.

Yes, it is poetry and no, it isn’t very good. Haldeman opens the anthology with what I believe we are meant to call “light comic verse” but you might equally call doggerel. It sort of scans and it does at least have a structure as it takes us through the increasing cybernation of sex but really there was no need.

Quality: **
Sexiness: *

Written by Martin

9 September 2009 at 18:02

Sex In The System – Introduction

leave a comment »

Well, this is nice and simple. Cecilia Tan gives a short but still long winded recap of how a poker game with Joe Haldeman – who both opens and closes the anthology – was the genesis for this book before briskly walking through the other stories and how they use technology to re-examine sexuality. Tan ends by saying “Oh, and the stories are just plain hot, too.” So that is what I will be the other factor I will be measuring them on.

Written by Martin

8 September 2009 at 09:08

Posted in short stories

Tagged with