Monday, November 29, 2010

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. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Dark Roasted Biscotti

Here's yet another of my takes on doing a Biscotti for the always-wonderful Dark Roasted Blend.  I have to say these are a real kick and a treat to put together!

Kit O'Connell's Forward To The New Edition of The Bachelor Machine

And the push continues!  Here's something that really makes me blush: my great pal Kit O'Connell's forward to the brand new Circlet Press edition of my science fiction erotica collection, The Bachelor Machine.  Kit also wrote a very flattering review of the first edition for SF Review Site,

M. Christian is a writer who doesn’t let the reader off easy. I don’t mean that his books aren’t easy to read (he has a fine way with words and a unique, recognizable voice). The thing about his stories is that even at their filthiest, they also make you think.

As a reader, there often seem to be two ways to read erotic science fiction (as a writer, I doubt it's so cut-and-dried, but bear with me). Either the fantasy is so completely the focus of the story that the setting is constructed to suit it, or the author presents us with a fully-realized setting and then allows us to peek in on sexy activity happening there. Neither approach is inherently superior, but M. Christian's work is firmly in the latter category.

Take "Everything But the Smell of Lilies," one of his finest and most twisted moments. Our heroine is Justine Moor, a sex worker heavily modified by high-tech medical science so that her johns can kill her, have sex with her corpse, and then pay her when she starts breathing again. In the hands of another writer, our protagonist would be enough - an excuse to spin an edgy tale of erotic death where the victim is smiling at the end. While Justine may wear a satisfied smile at the end of this story, the readers' thoughts are likely to be far more complex because the author shows us not a typical transaction, but the moment when the script goes wrong.

This awareness of the fallibility inherent in life and technology is an undercurrent throughout his work. From the titular "Bachelor Machine" to the incompatible wiring of "Technophile," one almost gets the impression that there is more story to be found, and perhaps more eroticism as well, in moments of failure than in moments of perfection. Then again, doesn't every good pervert have a fond, albeit sometimes wry memory of the time the rope broke or the batteries ran out? I know I do.

Whether delightfully pushing the definitions of gender beyond all meaning (such as in "Fully Accessorized, Baby") or exploring the boundaries of consent (as in "Hackwork," another favorite), M. Christian is tweaking his readers' minds as well as their hormones.The implications of "Guernica" disturb me, and after several reads I still don't know if I agree and that probably means I should read it again.

In the years since I first read The Bachelor Machine, I've shared these thought-provoking tales with many friends. The stories have never failed to provoke both reaction and discussion. Long after arousal is gone, there are stories here that haunt me. I'm glad that now you can share that too.

- Kit O'Connell

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cecilia Tan's Intro To The Bachelor Machine

And the publicity push for the new, Circlet Press, edition of The Bachelor Machine continues!  Here's an  extra-special, extra-grand, extra-fabulous treat: the one-and-only Cecilia Tan's intro to the original edition of my science fiction erotica collection ... and which, naturally, is also in the new edition as well.
I’m going to tell you a secret. There are only two people in the world I envy. One is the late Roger Zelazny, whose talent for an almost jazz improvisational way of writing I could never match.The other is M. Christian, for writing exactly what I’d write if only I could get off my ass. Which is to say, raunchy hallucinatory sexfuture dreams that never fail to arouse me and kick me in the gut at the same time. Good stuff. 
I’ve always said that if there was someone out there who would write exactly what it was I wanted to read, I wouldn’t have to do it myself. Honestly, when I discovered M. Christian, I had that half-formed thought: gee, maybe I can quit... (of course, I didn’t). 
It was the summer of 1994, if I remember correctly. I had founded Circlet Press three years before, to fill a void in the literary world. At the time, there was nowhere to publish erotic science fiction, or futuristic erotica, or whatever label you want to put on the wild, genre-bending stuff I and Lauren and others were writing. So I became a publisher, starting with chapbooks and slim little volumes of under one hundred pages. As news of the press spread to other speculative sex writers, manuscripts had begun to pour in for our anthologies. I decided I needed help getting through the growing slush pile and cajoled Lauren and some of my other authors to sit in my one-bedroom apartment one afternoon and read, read, read. We ordered Chinese take- out and delved into the manuscripts, pausing from time to time to eat a crab rangoon or read a “clunker” aloud.There were a lot of clunkers that day, and we were a pretty raucous group. 
Then everything got quiet. I looked up from the story I was reading, and two of my readers were looking at each other. They then traded manuscripts: “Here, now you read this one, I want that one!” They’d found not one, but two, really good somethings. Lauren then brought the manuscript in her hand to me and strongly suggested I read it that instant, not later. “Just read the first sentence.” 
I saw the words “I almost lost my virginity at fifteen, but his batteries ran low” and was hooked. 
The manuscript was “Technophile” by M. Christian. Lauren had written on the comment form she handed me with it: YES YES YES. I agreed. It wasn’t just the best story we’d read all day, it was one of the best stories we’d read in the genre, ever. 
The other story we received that day was “State,” a story I liked so much, I’ve published it twice. These two began a slew of stories Circlet published from Chris. At slush-readings in the future, people would go HUNTING for his name on envelopes, hoping to be the first to read something new. I’d like to say I had to break up a fistfight when “Fully Accessorized, Baby” was discovered, but that would be the fiction writer in me trying to sensationalize. (We just took turns.) 
When the story “Heartbreaker” came in, my then assistant Susan Groppi read it without knowing who it was from. “A very very very good story,” she wrote in her comment form. “I often find I can’t describe what it is I like, just that it’s good.” Her editorial instincts were right on when a story just kicks ass, your initial reaction isn’t a critical one, it’s simply “woo hoo!” 
One of the reasons I bought so many stories from Chris over the years is not only that the stories are consistently great, but that he has been able to write for any sexuality, from any point of view, man, woman, alien, third gender, robot, robot-wannabe... and of course sexualities and identities yet to be invented. For me, the whole purpose of combining two often formula-bound genres, erotica and science fiction, was to break out of the expected molds, to create something exciting, arousing, and provocative in all senses of the word. Chris has done that better than most who have tried their hand at it. He has a gift. And through that ability to see the world as it is not, to envision things wholly beyond our real boundaries of gender, technology, and identity, he is able to create characters that grab me. Characters I believe in. I empathize with Kusa, the rebuilt cybernetic woman-cop in “Heartbreaker.” I want to fuck Fields “the perfect love doll” in “State” and see if I can crack her facade. 
Even better, Chris is one of the few writers who has been able to sell me stories where everything is not happy and rosy. I’ve always insisted on a sex-positive outlook for Circlet Press no rape, no dismemberment, no homophobia, you get the idea but the result is a lot of happy stories, where sexy people have good sex and both they and the reader enjoy it. The problem here, from a literary standpoint, is that without conflict, there’s not much of a story. Chris is one of the best at creating the kind of conflict that works best in an erotic story: inner conflict. The kind of conflict that many a writer has shied away from because it is the most difficult kind to portray believably and intriguingly. The kind of conflict that in science fiction is all too often replaced by external action, a fight, a battle, an explosion.This is why an M. Christian story is not just some of the most excellent, cutting-edge erotica around, but also great science fiction. 
This is also why Chris’s stories quickly found homes outside of the specialized niche of Circlet Press. I started seeing his name in anthologies like Best American Erotica and The Mammoth Book of New Erotica. Since then, I find it hard to name an erotica market or anthology that he is NOT in.The secret is out I don’t think Chris’s manuscripts even go to anyone’s slush pile anymore. (These days they don’t even go to my office; I take them directly into the bedroom.) 
There’s one more person I envy, and that’s the reader who is picking up this book for the first time. Prepare yourself to discover the intense pleasure within.

    - Cecilia Tan

    Cecilia Tan is the founder of Circlet Press and author of many works of erotic fiction, including Edge Plays, Royal Treatment, Mind Games, Magic University, The Hot Streak, Black Feathers,White Flames, and Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords.

And Here's A Rude Mechanical (as mentioned)

Without Sex -

"Life without sex might be safer but it would be unbearably dull. It is the sex instinct which makes women seem beautiful, which they are once in a blue moon, and men seem wise and brave, which they never are at all. Throttle it, denaturalize it, take it away, and human existence would be reduced to the prosaic, laborious, boresome, imbecile level of life in an anthill."
- H.L. Mencken

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Sell Erotica Panel! - Now On Radio Dentata!

If you haven't had a chance to listen to the How To Sell Erotica Panel, that was recorded live at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco - and which featured celebrated and award-winning erotic authors, Donna George Storey, Blake C. Aarens, M. Christian, Gina de Vries, and Jean Marie Stine - here's another chance as the entire panel will be broadcast at 10:00PM EST, Monday, November 22nd, and Thursday, November 25 at 7:00PM EST, on Radio Dentata!  If you miss the broadcasts don't despair as the show will be archived on Radio Dentata immediatly afterwards.


Here's more info about this very entertaining and informative event: 

If you're interested in writing erotica for fun or, yes, even money, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn all there is to learn about creating sexually explicit stories, dealing with editors and publishers, how to bring sex and sensuality to life in your work, plus all kinds of tips and tricks, and much, much more!

The panelists at this entertaining and informative event were:
  • Donna George Storey, a writing and book promotion columnist.
  • Blake C. Aarens, who writes award-winning erotic fiction.
  • M. Christian, writer and anthologist who has sold over 300 short stories, five novels and edited over two dozen anthologies.
  • Gina de Vries, whose fiction, journalism, memoir, and smut have appeared in dozens of anthologies.
  • Jean Marie Stine, author, former magazine editor, and publisher of the erotic ebook pioneer Sizzler Editions.

Topics discussed by these respected erotic professionals include:
  • How did you sell the first story you got paid for?
  • What elements make an erotic story sell?
  • What are the easiest markets to break into?
  • How do you dream up sexy story ideas and sexy scenes?
  • What's the right amount of sex in a sexy story?
  • Is it possible to write convincing stories for sexual orientations and interests beyond your own? If not, why not? And if so, how do you do it?
  • What Internet resources for writers of erotica would you recommend?
  • Any thoughts on how to get along well with editors and publishers? Do's? Don't's?
  • Have you ever experienced negative reviews or criticism from fans? If so, how do you deal with it?
  • Have you ever sold the same story more than once? If so, what is the most times you have ever sold one story?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just For The Hell Of It -

- and because it kind-of, sort-of ties to the re-release of The Bachelor Machine, my science fiction erotica collection, I have just started a little Tumblr site called Rude Mechanicals, full of images of sex and robots and sexy robots and robots having sex and stuff like that ... it ALSO kind-of, sort-of ties to my very-fun collection of erotic stories, Rude Mechanicals