Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jean Roberta Likes The Bachelor Machine

And, yes, the publicity for the new, Circlet Press, edition of my science fiction erotica collection, The Bachelor Machine continues: this time it's with a kick-ass review of the original edition by the one-and-only, and always-wonderful, Jean Roberta.  

The nineteen stories in this collection of sci-fi erotica by M. Christian are paradoxical: they are set in a future world which is high-tech but shabby, in overcrowded cities where everyone seems to live in claustrophobic isolation. Some of the characters in these stories seem childishly in love with flashy gadgets, but on closer inspection, the technology looks like an extension of already-existing human physical and emotional capabilities. The machines never actually enslave the humans (as in the “Matrix” movies, for instance), but humans and machines are intimately connected. 

In “The New Motor,” the one story which is set in the past, the roots of twenty-first century technology are shown to go back to 1854. An eccentric prophet tells hushed crowds about “The Physical Savior of the Race, the New Messiah . . the New Motor” which was apparently described to him in a dream by spirit messengers. The motor eventually fascinates an innocent young woman, Faith, whose name suggests nineteenth-century optimism about mechanical “progress.”

In the stories set in future time, much has changed besides technology. Prostitution plays a major role in several stories, which is not surprising. Sex for hire looks like a logical replacement for the defunct social systems which used to provide some degree of sexual and emotional satisfaction: marriage, the extended family, a circle of friends, an affair. The first story deals with a kittenish sex worker who poses as a specially-programmed robot, a Mitsui Automaton. The title story (last in the collection) deals with a strangely human sex robot who continues to serve single men despite her “misfiring and stuttering movements” because giving them pleasure is her reason for being. 

Several of these stories feature a “taxi service” which enables the customer to plug directly into the consciousness of the prostitute, or service-provider, for a limited time.

These stories raise questions about intimacy: how much is too much? How much is an immoral violation of necessary boundaries? The pleasure of the exchange is shown to be mutual, at least in some cases. 


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