Sunday, January 25, 2009

Awwww ....

I just got the nicest message from Craig J. Sorense. I've said it before but it's worth saying again: writing can be a brutal and hard life, so the least we can to is try and be good to one another - notes like Craig's is what makes rejections and frustrations so much easier to take. Thanks, Craig!

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here we go again: another article for the always-great Dark Roasted Blend. This time it's on supercomputers. Enjoy!

In Isaac Asimov's classic story, "The Last Question," a supercomputer is, again and again, asked how to deal with the eventual heat death of universe. After upgrade upon upgrade, it finally has an answer -- but, alas, no one is left to hear it, because the universe has ended. So it simply states its answer out loud: "Let there be light."

Put another way, imagine that sometime in the future someone asks the smart-machine-to-end-all-smart-machines: "Is there a God," and said machine answers, "There is now."

What exactly qualifies as the earliest example of a "computer" is a matter of debate: some say the abacus while others point to the Antikythera mechanism, and still others push the calendar up to the 1800s with Charles Babbage's difference engine. Whatever their origins, though, with the advent of the digital revolution, computers have truly become super.

One of the first early super computers has to be Konrad Zuse's series of machines. Created in 1930s and 40s, they were one of the very first computers to be programmable as well as multi-function. Soon after, the Brits, needing some serious number-crunching during the war, built the aptly named Colossus -- which was smashed to bits in the name of secrecy when its job was done.

Not that America also wasn't up to the task: the U.S. had its own long line of increasingly sophisticated, and powerful, devices. First there was the Model K, then the ABC, followed by the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, and then came ENIAC.

ENIAC was considered state of the art, a true electronic brain capable of astounding feats of calculation. Now, alas, we can do the same things that ENIAC could with a cheap throwaway calculator. But in 1943, ENIAC was the tops.

After ENIAC came EDVAC, a change of much more than a few letters. Created by the brilliant John von Neumann, this series of computers was a monumental leap forward in computational ability, flexibility, and speed.

On a side note, as early 1945 or so, computers gave us the term "bug" for a problem with a machine. Coined by Grace Hopper, because -- quite literally -- a moth got caught in the circuitry.

The 60s, and the age of the transistor, gave us bigger and smarter machines. Lead by master builders like IBM, these machines became behemoths of blinking lights and whirling tape reels, able to handle the chaos of weather prediction as well as tax records with the greatest -- for the most part -- of ease.

But supercomputers seriously came into their own when they challenged ... well, okay, their "handlers" allowed them to challenge … man at his own game: namely chess.

The first human vs. machine challenge is also up for debate as more than likely a few early programmers tried their hands at defeating their own creations and even pitting computers against computers. Transistors, though, quickly became superior to squishy human brains. In 1981 Cray Blitz took the crown from Joe Sentef , and then in 1988 Deep Thought managed to share the glory with Tony Miles -- though some suspect the machine felt a tiny bit sorry for Tony and so allowed him to join it in the winner's circle. This suspicion is probably incorrect, however, as Garry Kasparov, who felt no such sympathy, actually beat the machine in two games. But In 1997, Deep Blue avenged its mechanical sibling and stomped Kasparov in six games. Ouch!

What really hurts is that humans now regularly lose to their computational betters. The question today is whether they'll even let us fleshy beings sit at the same table with them, let alone deem us worthy to play with them.

What's really interesting about the new generation of super machines is not that they're smart -- which they most definitely are -- but how, well, sexy they've gotten.

Just take a look at MareNostrum, which is a perfect combination of beauty as well as brains. Sure, the monster machine that lives in a deconsecrated chapel in Barceolona, might be only (ahem) the 8th most powerful of its super-smart digital kin, but it's certainly a star in the looks department: a series of imposing monoliths set inside a climate-controlled glass room, a perfect juxtaposition between its 21st century mind and the ancient architecture of the chapel. It's been used for everything from climate modeling to helping decipher the human genome -- all the while looking fantastic as it works.

Even the most optimistic of futurists know that it's just a matter of decades, or even just a few years, before we see our creations surpass us. All we can hope is that they look down on us poor, flesh-and-blood humans with affection -- or simply with benign indifference.

Either way, making something that eventually could say "Let there be light" is pretty damned amazing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Donna George Storey Loves Brushes

Donna George Storey, a wonderful person and an absolutely fantastic writer, has just posted this touching review of Brushes - including a mini interview - on her Sex, Food and Writing blog. Thanks so much, Donna!

I’ve been an admiring fan of M. Christian’s work since well before I began writing erotica myself. He’s edited twenty anthologies and written over three hundred stories, four novels, and four short story collections, with numerous appearances in Best American Erotica and other Best of’s as well as being an annually returning alumnus of The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. His narrators and protagonists come in a rainbow of sexual preferences, yet the stories are always incandescently erotic and convincing. On top of this, his work spans a range of genres, from literary to horror, science fiction and a soupcon of erotic romance.

I’ve always wondered what the “M” in M. Christian stands for, but I’m pretty sure it stands for “Maestro”!

I recently had the pleasure of reading one of his most recent novels, Brushes. A multi-layered treat for the mind and the senses, Brushes reminded me how a well-written novel can really draw you into a totally different world and keep you there, enchanted. M. Christian transports us to glittering Paris where we follow the adventures of eight denizens of the art world, from an acclaimed artist and his muses to desperate wannabes. As their lives brush up against each other, serendipitously, inevitably, all experience a compelling sexual encounter that changes their lives forever. The variety of sex scenes is like a tempting buffet, the prose as silky smooth as a pot de crème. The novel definitely raises fascinating questions about the artist’s life and the silliness of the business surrounding it. This tale of mystery will definitely provoke and entertain anyone who’s intrigued by the power of the creative--and the erotic—spirit.

That’s me, baby—how about you?

And now, I have the even greater pleasure of inviting the Maestro to my blog to chat about writing, erotica and sensual indulgence of the culinary persuasion.

DGS: I’ve always been amazed at your versatility as a writer, your virtuoso ability to cross genres and genders. How do you do it? Or are you actually a shapeshifter from another galaxy?

MC: Nah, I’m just a classic hack, though being a shapeshifter from another galaxy would make it a lot easier to find a date on Saturday night.

How did you get started writing erotica?

Well, I’ve always wanted to be a writer – in fact I first remember deciding it would be the life I wanted to live when I was in the fourth grade or so – but I had zero luck with it for, oh, about fifteen years. Tired of rejection slips, I signed up for an erotica writing class from Lisa Palac, who used to edit a magazine called Future Sex. My thought at the time was something like: why the hell not?

Turns out I was pretty good at pornography – who knew? – and Lisa bought my first story, which was subsequently published by Susie Bright in her Best American Erotica 1994. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history.

You’ve been publishing erotica for a long time now. In your view, how has the genre and the publishing environment changed over the years.

Lordy, that’s a big subject! Right off the top of my head I’d guess the biggest change has got to be the death – or imminent death, to be polite – of the traditional publishing model of business. Printed books are simply way too expensive to produce, especially these days, and far too difficult to sell. Sure, there will always be big houses operating like we’re still in the ‘50s but going forward we’re going to see far more small-to-medium-sized publishers connecting with very specific audiences. That’s good news for readers, as a publisher’s profit doesn’t have to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only having to make a few thousand means they can take risks and produce books for very narrow-focused interests. The bad news, though, is that the days of huge – or even large – advances for authors are gone … bummer. Don’t despair, though. Because the smaller publishers don’t have huge overhead, they can pay better royalties, and because of Amazon – the sort-of-great literary equalizer -- a small-time author has about the same ‘shelf’ space as a big-time one … the trick, of course, is to get yourself noticed.

You’re now blogging at Imagination is Intelligence with an Erection, Frequently Felt, Meine Kleine Fabrik and The New Café (Racer) Society. What do you like about blogging? How does it fit into your fiction writing schedule?

Actually The New Café (Racer) Society is a two-wheeled, one-man enterprise run by my brother, S.A. – who works with me on Meine Kleine Fabrik. I like blogs because they’re a way to get yourself out there. With Meine Kleine Fabrik, which is German for “My Little Factory,” the name of a jewelry company S.A. used to have, it’s a kind of commonplace book; a way of sharing the fun and wild and weird and silly and cool things we’ve come across. Frequently Felt is kind of the same thing but with a sexy twist – and is also a place where authors can share their work as well: my way of opening the door for new erotica writers. Imagination is Intelligence with an Erection, is my writing site: the place where I post reviews, announcements about new projects, new books and suchlike.

I kind of cheat, to be honest, with these blogs: I usually just post or repost stuff I find. Sure it makes them a bit less ‘rich’ but I simply don’t understand writers who spend hours posting and no time on their craft. Working on stories and books is what I love to do, so they will always be my top priority.

One of the pleasures for me while I was reading Brushes was the chance to come to my own conclusions about the shadowy central figure, the artist Escobar, based on the clues provided by the perspectives of the different narrators. It’s also fun to see how the different characters “brush up” against each other in different ways on the streets of Paris. But what might be pleasure for the reader could present a real logistical challenge for the author. Did you have a particular strategy to plan and keep track of all the “brushes” in the novel?

Thank you so much – it means a lot to me that you liked it!

While it was a tad challenging, it was also a lot of fun to do. My motivation was to try to put together something showing our various ‘faces:’ like the Donna I know isn’t the Donna other people know, etc. In the case of Escobar these multiple ‘faces’ are amplified because of his fame: the people around him have their own perspectives on him, twisted by jealousy, fear, unreasonable admiration, and all those other lovely emotions. Occasionally I’d find myself ‘painted into a corner’ especially since I was trying to tell the story from different perspectives but also taking place at the same time. Although there are some things I wish I’d done better, I thought it came out pretty well. I guarantee I’ll do better with the next book, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that ….

Your novel has countless wonderful examples of how an erotic scene reveals character—this is really the heart of the book. I’ve chosen this excerpt from chapter 4, told from the point of view of Marcel, a snobbish, fastidious gallery owner, who has called in a paid companion to “celebrate” after a long day in the art business. Here’s a tasty sampling of the scene:

"I love my breasts," she said. "I love they way they look, but I really like the way they feel." Purple painted nails slid over the slopes, stroked under, and deliberately hesitated over the rises of her nipples. One hand went behind, reaching for another clasp, preparing for another revelation.

More than at any time in recent memory, he was aroused. With Josephine it had been there, but more abstract, more a quality of the whole experience than a pulse-matched deep down, stirring where he wasn't Marcel the gentleman, the rich man, the owner of L'Art, but rather just a man and a very demanding desire. He might still be struck by silence, but he could move.

There was a good reason Zazu would love her breasts. They were phenomenal. Large yet exceptionally firm, they swept gently from the satin of her chest, ending in two saucer-sized, swollen areolas, topped by aggressively firm nipples the color of fresh strawberries and the size of gumdrops. As her bra joined her clothes at her feet, her breasts swung and jiggled, a mesmerizing display.

"Aren't they beautiful? I'm so lucky. But what's even better is that I like how they feel, not just how they look." With thumb and forefinger she tightly plucked at her right nipple, much harder than he'd ever seen a woman do before. She hissed, deep and languid, in response. Then the same, this time to the left, but now the hiss became a moan and her knees seemed to lose a bit of their strength. "Oh, wow," she said through a sharp laugh.

Stroking himself, he realized he didn't care that he was or that she knew he was. It was too good. This woman was beautiful and sexy, and more importantly, he was enjoying himself more than he ever had before. How his zipper had come down, how he'd extracted himself from his underwear, he didn't know, but there it was and he wasn't about to stop. Again, the question -- but this time only the barest of whispers in his mind and nowhere near a loud thought: what am I? The answer came immediately: I am me... and I like this.

The other nipple again; this time she had to catch herself before dropping all the way to the carpet. It took her some time to pull herself up and stand straight. "I like this. It's one of my... things, I guess you could call it." Peering through her purple bangs, she caught his gaze with hers. "Having fun?"

Even before he'd realized he'd broken the silence, he found his voice. "I-I am."

Do you have a particular favorite among the characters or scenes in Brushes? Any that were harder or easier to write?

Once again, I really appreciate your kindness and support, Donna! Writing can be a damned hard life so compliments and kindness – especially from a writer I like and admire – are a real treat!

Each of the characters in Brushes had their challenges, as well as their easier bits. I’m so glad you liked Marcel: he was a particularly fun one as I was trying to use his sexuality as a pretty broad reflection of his personality: removed and controlling in life, removed and controlling in bed. Escobar was probably the hardest because as I was ‘doing’ him, I kept thinking that here he is, the guy everyone’s talking about. A bit of pressure there ….

What’s next for you?

Let’s see … working on a gay horror novel called Monster that should be done in a few months. Have a new collection of straight erotica coming out soon, called Licks & Promises. Both The Bachelor Machine, my science fiction erotica collection, and Dirty Words, which is a gay erotica collection, are being reprinted and should be out soon. I’m also chatting with some publishers about doing some new anthologies – more on those very soon. I’ve also done my first screenplay, the movie for which should be shooting soon, and I’m working on other fun stuff as well. Just keep an eye on my blog for more info and updates and such.

Finally, describe a perfect meal that would be guaranteed to seduce you—into a deep conversation about the writing life, if not something even juicier!

A perfect meal? Hummm … I love a lot of food, and have a long list of great restaurants, but to make any meal perfect I’d have to have the company of my wonderful lady, and soon-to-be-wife, Sage Vivant. As I already mentioned, writing can all-to-often be a brutal and hard life. I am very fortunate to have found the woman of my dreams, and would never do anything without her.

Well, congratulations--that's definitely a match made in erotica heaven!! I wish you both all the happiness in the world (as well as many delicious meals together).

Thanks so much for stopping by to talk shop with me. And for those of you interested in some more hot-and-hot-off-the-presses M. Christian fiction, check out his novel Painted Doll and Hack Work, a series of short story downloads, as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Lively Discussion -

If you're interested in erotic writing - and, frankly, you have to be if you're reading this blog - then head over to the always-wonderful Remittance Girl's site to check out the discussion she's been having about the pros and cons (and other issues) of erotica featuring non-consensual sex with all kinds of smut-writers (including myself). It's thought-provoking and stimulating ... in the very best way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pauline Likes "A Light Minute"

My sweet friend, Pauline, just sent me this lovely review of "A Light Minute" - which is part of my recent release of short stories. Thanks!

Sexy, sexy sexy!!
I am so envious of M.Christian's talent, both as a writer and story teller.
As a wannabee writer myself, I am daunted whenever I read one of his erotic short stories. I sigh, shred another one of my efforts and face it - I am more of a reader than a writer, and how I relish being told a good tale.
In A LIGHT MINUTE, M.Christian gives us the agoraphobic Alyx. Her lover, Jo, has left her, packing their little world into boxes and Alyx has tentatively ventured into the world of electronic mail.
Through his enticing prose and quite remarkable imagery, M.Christian hits exactly the right note as Alyx hesitantly dips her toe into cyberspace and falls for the exotic Sasha. All Alyx has is Sasha's picture and Sasha's erotic emails. She's never even heard Sasha's voice. In this gloriously sexy short story, we see Sasha's developing control over Alyx, as she lures her out from the suffocating world Alyx has painstakingly constructed around herself.
"Watch me. Come with me Alyx." Sasha bids Alyx enticingly, after a mind blowing session of cybersex.
Sasha gives Alyx a phone number.
Be brave Alyx, or stay in your safe box. Action or in-action. Make something happen, or stay safe. It's a hard world out there. Have courage. That's Alyx's dilemma.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Forum UK Loves Painted Doll

Here's a lovely review of Painted Doll from the great people at Forum UK:

In an unnamed Japanese city of the near future, Domino is a highly sought- after erotist, who uses a combination of skilful words and paints loaded with unforgettable sexual experience. However, the icily perfect Domino is only a façade, an identity created to protect American Claire from a killer who is on her trail. Meanwhile, Claire’s girlfriend, Flower, has been sent to a hippy commune in New Zealand, also for her own protection. The girls only have their memories, which they share in increasingly explicit letters, to keep the relationship alive, but both live in hope that one day they will be reunited...

The Painted Doll is a dark erotic novel, set in a world where the United States as we know them have been destroyed and the only safe haven is the hi-tech world across the Pacific. M. Christian weaves a clever tale of love and loss, slowly dripping in the details of Flower and Claire’s back story as events builds to a startlingly unexpected conclusion. Domino’s sessions with her clients are designed to explore how large a part emotion plays in any sexual encounter, and as the men who visit her as manipulated to climax by her words and her paints, she begins to realise that it isn’t always the most obvious scenarios which will push anyone’s erotic buttons. This is one for lovers of speculative fiction, rather than the general reader, but it’s memorable and skilfully done.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here we go again: another article for the always-great Dark Roasted Blend. This time it's about weird, weird worlds. Enjoy!

It’s a tad brisk here in San Francisco and -- yes, I know – that’s nothing compared to other places where it’s chilly enough to cause white, icy stuff to fall down from the sky but it’s still cold enough to make hands shake and teeth chatter. So it’s not exactly a surprise that thoughts of warmer climes have been sultry and steaming in my head.

Take for instance a vacation spot a mere 870 light years away. Whatever your definition, WASP-12b is an unusual place. Discovered in April of this year, it’s a large planet – 50% bigger than our own biggest world, Jupiter – and a damned fast one. How fast? Well, you know that Earth takes 365 days to go around our comfortable yellow sun. But WASP-12b takes a fraction of that time … in fact a 364th fraction of that time. WASP-12b orbits its sun in a little longer than one day.

WASP-12b is also a rather balmy planet. Considered a “Hot Jupiter” world, a gas giant without a rocky surface, its temperature has forced a lot of astronomers to rethink exactly how hot a planet can get. Time to play that game again: how hot? Well, our previously mentioned comfortable yellow sun has a surface temperature around 5,000 degrees centigrade. WASP-12b is also a fraction of that …. in fact only half of that. WASP-12b has been measured at about 2500 degrees – one of, if not the – hottest extrasolar worlds so far discovered.

Another distant, possibly temperate, vacation destination is much closer, a mere 63 years away at the speed of light. Charmingly named HD 189733b, this world in the Vulpecula constellation is another big, hot, and fast wonder. Spinning only 3 million miles away from its star – which sounds like a lot but it really isn’t -- HD 189733b is just a little but bigger than our own Jupiter, orbits every 2 or so days and has a registered temperature of around 700 degrees Celsius.

HD 189733b might not be as big, as hot, or as fast as WASP-12b but it’s a world that has a lot of people very excited. To understand why they’re so thrilled by a world that would turn you into a puff of ash if you so much as even cracked your starship’s door, you need to know a bit about Giovanna Tinetti and what she discovered about HD 189733b in 2007.

Many things can get astronomers all atwitter: new stars, new worlds, new phenomena, and especially certain colors showing up on a spectroscopic scan. Without getting too technical, and not testing your patience any further, Giovanna Tinetti (and later NASA) discovered those spectroscopic colors in HD 189733b: water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane – evidence of what could be some form of life. Though what kind of life could live on a world like HD 189733b is anyone’s guess.

Cold or hot, comfortable or not, the universe can be a very dramatic place – and a very dangerous place if you should get caught in one of its ‘dramatic’ events. Everyone knows about black holes and supernovas, and some of you might have heard about neutron stars, quasars, and hypernovas, but in a few billion years everyone – if anyone is still around of course – will know all about our neighbor galaxy, Andromeda.

Galaxies, like our own Milky Way, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including elliptical, peculiar, or – in the case of our home galaxy – a barred spiral. Like everything in the universe they’ve been moving since the Big Bang, heading to an eventual Big Crunch (if there’s enough mass in the universe to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the expansion back into a supermassive black hole and then, possibly, out again in another Big Bang), Heat Death (where everything in the universe simply dissolves into a dull, gray, warm ‘blah’), or one of the many other theories about the eventual fate of the Universe.

But one thing is known: sometime in the next two and a half billion years, our skies will become very interesting as our Milky Way galaxy collides with, and merges with, our neighbor Andromeda. No one knows what will happen then, but if we’re around – maybe holding ‘hands’ with our friends from HD 189733b – the sight will truly be something behold.

That is, if we’re around to enjoy it …

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Another Teaser -

Here's another teaser - this time for the upcoming brand new edition of my science fiction erotic collection, The Bachelor Machine, from the wonderful Cecilia Tan at Circlet Press. The cover is by the always-magnificent Wynn Ryder.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

"Moving" - A Taste of Bite-Sized M.Christian

Here's a tantalizing taste of "Moving," one of the stories offered as part of Logical-Lust's special edition series of my stories. To get the rest of the story (and the other tales) just click here.

“Don’t move,” she said.

“That’s it?” I said.

“That’s it. That’s it, exactly. Don’t move.”

“Right now?” Smiling.

She returned my smile. “Right now. But get comfortable first.”

“Isn’t that sort of counterproductive?”

She tapped the tip of my nose. “Comedian. Don’t worry, you’ll get an experience.”

“But not a moving one, eh?”

The smile stayed, but her words were serious: “Great experiences are always moving – but not vice versa. Not at all.”

At least Sylvia’s basement was warm … no, not basement. Dungeon: that was it, though I still couldn’t think of it that way. “Dungeon” – that was bricks, rats, iron bars, and the Man in the Iron Mask. Who was in that, anyway Lon Chaney? Errol Flynn? Jose Ferrer? I’ll have to look it up later.

“Dungeon” certainly wasn’t a basement rec room in the Avenues, the perpetually foggy ocean side of San Francisco. No bricks, no iron bars, no rats, at least not as far as I could see. But that’s what Sybil called it, so that’s what I should probably call it, too.

Golden-yellow, close-cropped, shag carpeting. A heavy table covered in black leather. A pine chest with a latch and padlock – closed and locked. It certainly wasn’t anything Lon Chaney, Errol Flynn or Jose Ferrer would have been scared of.

But I wasn’t Lon or Errol or Jose, or even Brendan Fraser, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least nervous. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Sybil, but this was more than a bit new to me. For me, sex had always been about a cock (mine), tits and pussies. Not whips, chains and “Yes, Mistress.” But that’s what it was for Sybil. At least she understood my trepidation, thus the padlock on her war chest.

What am I doing here? It wasn’t the first time I thought that, walking in the door to her place. The response was the same as it had always been: because this was part of her life, and I wanted to be part of her life, too.