Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here's a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece on huge musical instruments: magnificent pipe organs


The jokes pretty much write themselves: ‘organ,’ ‘blowing pipes,’ ‘wind,’ etc., etc., so on, so forth …. But the giggling stops when you start to investigate the history, science, and simple magnificence that has gone into the creation of some of the world’s most incredible pipe organs.

As with a lot of important technological – as well as artistic – achievements, trying to determine who made the first one of these things is a bit fuzzy. Some experts give the ancient Greeks most of the credit – specifically the genius Ctesibius of Alexandria. Those early Greek organs were simplistic compared to the height of organ science … stop giggling … but the basic principle is still the same: force air through a pipe and you get sound. Make the pipe smaller, tighter, and the note that comes out is higher. Make the pipe larger, wider, and the note that comes out is lower.

What’s interesting is that portable organs were not just created but common in certain parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. They were probably about as mechanically simple as Ctesibius’s early invention, but it’s still remarkable that the technology was there and transportable by horse and wagon.

But when you want to talk about big organs … I asked you to stop giggling … you have to talk about the permanently installed ones.

As with astronomical clocks, large organs quickly became the blockbusters of their time. If yours was a town of any notoriety then you pretty much had to have one – the bigger the better. The fact that they were used by churches, like the aforementioned fancy clocks, couldn’t hurt either, as they had the deep pockets to afford them.

Here’s another bunch of interesting organ facts … what are you? 12? … the organ created for Halberstadt, Germany was a monster for its time. Its bellows had to be worked ceaselessly by ten men – who were, no doubt, music fans. The technology is impressive today, and was simply astounding when it was created in (ready for this?) 1361.


Because the technology of a pipe organ is relatively simple, making them bigger was pretty much a matter of just scaling them up: bigger pipes, bigger air supplies, etc. While there were a lot of monster organs … now you’re just embarrassing yourselves … there are some that took the musical instrument from noteworthy to astounding.

One of the largest is still played today: created in 1911, the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in Portland, Maine, is a beautiful piece of engineering as well as musical artistry. Although much of its technology is hidden – which is often the case with organs – what is visible is simultaneously elegant and powerful, which also perfectly defines the music of its haunting notes.

Another great organ … are you finished? … can also still be heard. Created in 1904 for the St Louis World’s Fair, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ in Philadelphia is a monster among monsters. Everything about the instrument looks like it was designed not just to make sound but a LOT of VERY BIG sounds: it has not one, not two … but, to get to the point, 28,482 pipes set in 461 rows. Its keyboard looks more like something used to launch a space shuttle rather than create music. But the organ definitely creates music – on a scale commensurate with its standing as the second largest pipe organ in the world.

Okay, get your giggles, guffaws and chortles out of the way. You ready to hear about the world’s largest organ? Unfortunately – as with a lot of big organ claims -- you’re likely to be disappointed.

Next time you’re in Atlantic City, swing on by and check it out in the Boardwalk Hall. Built in 1932, the organ makes that beast in Philadelphia look like a sickly kitten. While the Wannamaker Organ boasts those 28,482 pipes, the Boardwalk Hall organ has – ready for this? – about 33,000 pipes. I say ‘about’ because even the owner/operators of the machine aren’t sure. Even the engineering for the organ looks like something that might have been built to power the Muzak in the Tower of Babylon elevators.

The Boardwalk organ holds a total of three Guinness World Records: largest pipe organ in the world, largest musical instrument, and – it must have been a literal blast to have been there when this was set – the loudest musical instrument ever constructed. When asked how he felt about winning this last award, the keyboardist was heard, barely, to answer “what?”


Alas, the organ remains … you were waiting for me to make another joke, weren’t you? Well, I would if we weren’t talking about such a legendary musical instrument. The Boardwalk organ, alas, is largely silent: having been damaged by weather, water, budget cuts, and poor attempts at repair, it can still be heard but at only a fraction of its true potential and power.

And there’s nothing funny about an organ that isn't operating at full capacity.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Am Spotframe

Even though I'm a diehard Apple fan, I have to admit I'm thoroughly enjoying my xbox 360. If there are any other gamers out there, look me up. My handle is Spotframe (don't ask me why, it was the name they assigned me).

Right now I'm into GTA4 multiplayer. Join in if you have the game ... but be warned: I'm a "bad ass mofo."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Sexy Yet Spooky Fun


Keeping with the season - and nicely dovetailing with my article that just appeared in Forum UK - the great folks at Phaze Books just released a pair of my stories, "Begging Ivory" and "Thicker Than Ink" as part of their HeatSheet erotic horror line. Click here to order this mini-collection, and here's a quickie description of the stories:
From an acclaimed author of erotic fiction comes two tales of titillating suspense. Begging Ivory: An antique object not only brings pleasure to it new owner, but assists in freeing her from an abusive relationship. Thicker Than Ink: Some tattoos are beautiful, others intricate and ornate. Still others provoke a variety of emotions - arousal, ecstasy, even a desire for revenge.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Sexy Yet Spooky Article In Forum UK


If my fans in the UK run out to their nearest newsagent they can pick up the newest, October, issue of Forum UK (Vol. 43, No. 11) and find an essay by yours truly on sex and fear called BOO! Why A Good Scare Can Be Great For Your Sex Life.

Here's a teaser:
You can't run. You can't hide. No matter how hard you try, it creeps up on you, tenses, pounces, and then traps you in an terrifyingly inescapable truth: a good fright –a really nightmarishly fine bout of terror – can really put the libido into overdrive.

There are as many theories about why scares and sex go hand-in-bloody-hand as there are movies featuring unstoppable forces of demonic fury. In other words, a lot. In fact one popular idea about why we have such a strong connection between the two is because for many folks, the first time they are introduced to anything really sexual, it’s thanks to a horror flick. Or, to put it in UK terms, because they'd watched a video nasty.

And no wonder it's a popular idea: From Jason to Freddy to Michael (that silly fisherman guy in the pathetic I Know What You Did Series), the formula is the same: boy meets girl, girl gives boy head, boy (and then girl) loses head. For lots of teens, these kinds of films are the first time they'll see anything really sexual, even if it's just the first sight of bare boobs. You don't have to have a degree in psychology to figure out that if the next scene has those same jiggling tits sprayed with arterial blood there might be a connection between getting rabidly turned on and getting totally freaked out. Add to this that, for a lot of people, a horror film was the first chance to get really close to the opposite sex, even if the embrace was one of terror. Think of it this way: no one ever got lucky after a Disney matinee.

[For the rest yer gonna have to buy the mag]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Masquerade: Page 7

Here's another preview of a very special project: Masquerade was illustrated by my great pal, and a fantastic artist, Wynn Ryder, from a story by ... well, me ... for an upcoming graphic novel anthology called Legendary.

I'll be putting up more pages from the final over the next few months ... or you can read the entire thing on Wynn's Deviantart pages.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Redux: Eros Ex Machina

Now and again, I'm going to post little bits on some of the fun projects I've done ove the years. Just a little trip down memory lane. Hope you enjoy!

Eros Ex Machina: Eroticising The Mechanical (anthology)

Rhinoceros Publications (March 1, 1998)

A
s the millennium approaches, technology is not only an inevitable, but a deeply desirable addition to daily life. Eros Ex Machina: Eroticising the Mechanical explores the thrill of machines our literal and literary love of technology. Join over 25 of today's hottest writers as they explore erotic relationships with all kinds of gizmos, gadgets, and devices. Featuring stories by: Kim Addonizio. Bill Brent, Pamela Briggs, Pat Califia, Rene Charles, M. Christian, Stephen Dedman, Jack Dickson, Janice Eidus, Amelia G, Paula Guran, Gerard Houarner, Maxim Jakubowksi, Kevin Killian, Nancy Kilpatrick, Marc Laidlaw, Marc Levinthal, Anita Mashman, Carol Queen, Stephen Mark Rainey, Shar Rednour, Mike Resnick, Thomas Roche, Chadwick Saxelid, D. Travers Scott, Simon Sheppard, John Shirley, Cecilia Tan, and Lucy Taylor.

Sage Vivant's Intro To Licks & Promises

Here's a special treat: Sage Vivant's intro to my new collection of erotica, Licks & Promises (from Phaze Books). It's no secret that I adore Sage, but this intro touched me tremendously.
WARNING: The stories in this book may make you cry. There. I’ve said it. I know that’s not the best way to introduce an erotica story collection, but I can rarely read an M. Christian story without some kind of visceral reaction. So, I just wanted you to know up front that if you can get through this book without developing a lump in your throat or wiping tears from your cheeks, I honestly have to question your humanity.

Christian knows that sex is not purely about bodies, desire, and sex toys. He goes deeper, much deeper, dispensing with the puerile, predictable situations so common in erotic literature these days. He entreats his readers not to settle for the obvious clichés and the usual storylines where two (or more) people end up with their clothes off. Instead, he forces readers to consider the behaviors and thought processes that got those people naked in the first place — because that’s what the story is really about. The trembling, sweating, engorged body parts are just a bonus.

In the process of taking you on an emotional journey, however, Christian leaves you plenty hot and bothered. The man seems to instinctively know the perfect spot in his narrative for a well-placed nipple. He recognizes when a wet pussy needs filled and when it’s better to have it ache. He sends your libido careening on a roller-coaster ride that he alone controls. You’ve never been so grateful to be in such skilled hands, even as the landscape blurs by at lightning speed.

Along with intelligence and maturity, empathy abounds in these stories. Even when the characters make mistakes, stumble through circumstances, and generally screw up, Christian manages to show us their vulnerable side. He is not content to point out only how nasty or foolish people can be — he wants us to understand their motivations, learn what it feels like to trust or have trust revoked. He will show us where someone hurts and how sex healed the hurt. Or caused it.

In Christian’s world, lust is the springboard to passion, not a synonym for it.

The richness of language, the complexity of emotions, and the mysterious role of sex characterize M. Christian’s remarkable erotica. They celebrate life and castigate it at the same time. They explore disappointment and erupt with joy when you least expect it.

I defy you to get through this volume without shedding an appreciative tear, even if you’re touching yourself as you do it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Adult eBook Shop

Here's some great news for all my fans - both of them - living in the UK: the great folks at the British-based Adult eBook Shop has a page featuring a lot of my new books, including my very recently released Rude Mechanicals collection!

Monday, October 05, 2009

RUDE MECHANICALS Is Out!

I SO love this new world of publishing! Remember how I mentioned that Rude Mechanicals, my new erotica collection from Renaissance E Books, was going to be published soon? Well, 'soon' is right now! Below is the description, and here is the link to buy it.

Bondage, science fiction, fetishism, real realities and virtual realities collide in this unique collection by one of the most popular authors of erotica - ever!

"M. Christian's stories squat at the intersection of Primal Urges Avenue and Hi-Tech Parkway ... feral-eyed, half-naked ... Truly an author for our post-everything 21st century."
- Paul Di Filippo, author of the Steampunk Trilogy.

Two unforgettable novellas highlight Rude Mechanicals: In "Hot Definition," the story of a future just around our corner, Neko experiences the ultimate domination from the woman who is her master; and in "Speaking Parts," the second novella, two lovers, one with a camera-shutter eye, come together in a scorching, obsessive, edgy relationship that will take them both to the limits of sexuality and beyond. Plus four provocative, physically explicit short stories of sex and technosex.

"M. Christian writes like a dream!"
- Paula Guran, DarkEcho

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ashley Lister Likes Licks & Promises

This is very great: Ashley Lister's review of Licks & Promises, from the always-great Erotica Readers & Writers site:

It’s not an understatement to say that M Christian has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. He is the author of more than 300 short stories, the editor of 20 anthologies, four collections of his own short fiction and the author of four (or five) novels. (There is, as yet, no official confirmation as to whether he is the M Christian behind ME2). M Christian’s Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker column is one of the most popular parts of ERWA and this is probably because he speaks with authority about erotica as an author who knows his craft.

However, for anyone needing proof that Christian knows what he’s talking about, they need look no further than Licks & Promises. Licks & Promises is a collection of Christian’s scintillating erotic stories, published by Phaze books, and the contents will not leave the reader dissatisfied.

Sage Vivant provides an Introduction to this collection, relating her appreciation of Christian’s work and acknowledging the breadth of his skill. As Vivant explains:

Christian knows that sex is not purely about bodies, desire, and sex toys. He goes deeper, much deeper, dispensing with the puerile, predictable situations so common in erotic literature these days. He entreats his readers not to settle for the obvious clich├ęs and the usual storylines where two (or more) people end up with their clothes off. Instead, he forces readers to consider the behaviors and thought processes that got those people naked in the first place — because that’s what the story is really about. The trembling, sweating, engorged body parts are just a bonus.

My favourite story in this collection comes early in the book. ‘Dead Letter’ is a tale about an author, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Filled with humour, irony and a richness of character, ‘Dead Letter’ introduces us to the story’s protagonist/writer through the eyes of his bored-but-besotted wife. The complexity of their relationship is vividly relayed, without hampering the pace of the story. The humour is sharply observed, only a little cruel, and tinged with empathy for the human condition. The denouement is as clever as it is moving. The following passage illustrates the depth of character, detail and humour.

Helen of Troy — diaphanous, luminous, and ethereal — glided into the room and banged her shin on the coffee table.

Dammit! She bit her lip so as not to put speech to it. Hopping, balancing with a hand tightly around an ornately carved bedpost, she vigorously rubbed her barked ankle.

“W-what —?” came Randolph’s sluggish voice from a point somewhere below a mountain range of goose-down pillows.
Crap! Both feet down, ankle clearly more painful than damaged, she smoothed her sheet, adjusted her dime-store tiara, took a deep breath, and crooned out a melodious “Oooooooooooo!” Then she whispered down low near her husband’s ear, “From the great beyond, I have come!”

“W-who is there? Who is it?”
The lights in the room were dim, so much so that everything seemed washed with a brush dipped in inky shade and shadow. The bed was a pale rectangle, the pile of pillows a gray smudge, her husband’s face a pale mask haloed by silver hair — and that damned coffee table completely invisible.

There are lots to be enjoyed in this collection. The quality of the writing is outstanding and the depth of characterisation is enormous. For any serious aficionado of erotic fiction, Licks & Promises is a necessity for the bedside bookshelf.
Ashley Lister
September 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Dark Roasted M.Christian

Here's a brand new Dark Roasted Blend piece on keeping very special time: beautiful astronomical clocks and such.


Because that’s what everything was to them, many believe early man saw the universe as a living thing. Each flash of lightning, every star in the sky, the rain that fell, the ground beneath their feet – everything around them was part of some huge, living and breathing creature.

But then that changed. The Greeks, and their intellectual ancestors, looked at the world and while they saw life they also began to see a mechanism to it all, a precise and ordered regularity.

Alhough we know the ancient Greeks were extremely intelligent, just how smart was hinted at in 1901 – and then confirmed many yearsnlater. At first the hunk of rusted iron that was pulled from the sean near the African island of Antikythera was just a curiosity, a bitmof archeological weirdness. It was only decades and decades later that modern science was finally able to pry apart the secrets of ancient science. Very, very ancient science.

The Antikythera device, as it’s called, is a meticulous and precise assembly of 72 gears – a simply staggering work of craftsmanship.nWhat’s even more astounding is that scientists think the device wasman astronomical calculator: an elaborate, incredibly accurate computer that was built in 150 to 100BC.

What’s even more chilling -- as well as exciting – isn’t that the Antikythera devicemexisted but that it could very wellmbe the first hint at how technologically advanced the ancient workmengineers were. The device is certainly miraculous but it was also a common working machine; not a rarity but instead what could be something that navigators used everyday. Who knows what other mechanisms and devices have yet to be found?

A few hundred years later the universe was still a mechanical place but the engineering that went into creating machines to predict and understand it became even more complicated and elaborate. Clocks got a shot in their developmental arm because they – when used with star charts and sextants – were essential navigation tools. It wasn’t long until clock mechanisms were used to track not just the hours, minutes and seconds of commerce and shipping but also the stars and planets in the sky.

One of the more incredible astronomical clocks – and there arem certainly a lot of very incredible examples of such things – is the legendary Prague Astronomical Clock. To say that it’s elaborate would be a ridiculous understatement. The clock is an insanely complicated instrument to not only tell the time but also to track the movements of the stars and planets – at least the ones they knew about in the 1400s when the clock was built. It's easy to think that making something as complicated as the Prague clock was a one time, supremely rare thing. Although the clock wasn’t a common working gizmo like the Antikythera device, it also used technology and craftsmanship that existed in many other Medieval cities – and even, a century or so later, insanely miniaturized to the point where, if you were rich, you could carry what was basically a tiny version in your pocket.


While complicated, one of the greatest things about the Prague clock is that it isn’t just a working clock; it almost deserves to be called a monumental kinetic sculpture. It ticks and tocks and ticks its tocks in ways, to quote from the Bible, that are “a wonder to behold.” So wondrous, in fact, that you can find computer models online demonstrating just how elegant and beautiful the mechanism is – which says a lot that we use 21st century technology to appreciate the skill of a 1400 clock maker.

Another beautiful example of astronomical clock engineering is the famous Wells Cathedral clock. Begun a few years before Prague’s, the clock is another accurate and heavenly (literally as well as figuratively) mechanism. Like its Prague kin, the clock is a beautiful as well as accurate view of the world as an enormous clockwork machine, a carefully assembled, meticulously crafted, creation.


Unfortunately, the growing ubiquitousness of these clocks’ technology spelled their doom. As more and more people could afford to carry watches there was less and less of a need for a huge, central – and, naturally, elaborate, town hall clock. It simply didn’t make financial sense to keep building them – which is a sign that humanity's growing, view of the world was mechanical: tocks and tocks as well as dollars and sense.

What’s ironic is that with the coming of the 21st century – and, living in a world ruled by the careful calculations of software -- humans are starting to understand, and even plan to use, the uncertainty of a quantum universe: an existence where things are never quite what they seem and chaos is part of How Everything Works.

Still, the incredible Antikythera device, the Prague and Wells Cathedral clocks, are beautiful in their antique mechanisms – as well as the nostalgia of when the world was as precise and orderly as the back and forth swing of a pendulum.