Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Circlet Likes Technorotica


Check out this very nice review of M. Christian's technophilia-laced collection Technorotica: Stories Shattering the Ultimate Taboo by Gayle C. Straun at the Circlet Press site:

Technorotica is a compendium of two previous M. Christian books, Better than the Real Thing and Rude Mechanicals, accompanied by an excerpt from Painted Doll (previously reviewed here) closing out the volume. Two of the stories previously appeared in Circlet Press’s The Bachelor Machine (reviewed here), while two others appeared in the Circlet anthologies Selling Venus and Up for Grabs 2
Some readers may initially feel that Technorotica constitutes one of those “best of” albums whose contents fail to gel into a thematic whole, perhaps appreciated more for its individual parts, especially since some stories explore such science fiction conceits as cybernetics and collective consciousness, while others plod the more real-world territory of matchmaking over the modem or even having sex with a blow-up toy ball. But therein lies the rub (pun intended), for by including such an array of stories, M. Christian reminds us that our sexuality is already augmented with things “unnatural;” that human beings, social creatures that we are, already get off using a variety of apparatus developed by our society–or, to put it another way, handcuffs and riding crops don’t occur in nature, y’all. The title character in “Billie” reaches the heights of bliss riding her Harley Davidson, while Pell in “Speaking Parts” is driven to distraction by the bionic eye of her lover-to-be Arc, a “masterpiece watch set in a crystal sphere, the iris a mandala of glowing gold.” Failed lawyer Stanley in “KSRN” dreams his dreams of wealth and power, of women like commodities, owned: “Their skin became polished, imported. Their bodies took on the lines of fine European manufacturers… Their breasts gleamed chrome, the highlights of their curves reflecting into the night, into his eyes–airflow eroticism, calling to him.” Meanwhile, the prostitute Fields in “State” acts the part of an android for high dollar customers who would probably be repelled to learn of her true humanity. 
Just as we homo sapiens have tweaked our consciousnesses with a variety of substances since the earliest days of our species, so, too, have we augmented our sexuality. As Lenore Tiefer titled her groundbreaking book, Sex Is Not a Natural Act, and it never has been. If there is a common theme tying together these stories, tying together the simple and sweet tale of a couple’s first use of a vibrator with that of a person who hires out her body by a form of remote control, then that’s it. Sex is not a natural act, and it never has been. 
The artist Mark Rothko famously quipped, “Certain people always say we should go back to nature. I notice they never say we should go forward to nature.” And that is where M. Christian takes us in this collection–forward to nature. Forward–to discover our natures.

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