Monday, November 22, 2010

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

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