Please be sure to check out our interview with M. Christian, as part of the Fourplay Fetish Feature.
The Bachelor Machine, M. Christian looks beyond that technological honeymoon, imagining instead a civilization on the decline. In his future, those shiny gadgets are now tarnished and broken, exposing the ugly legacy of humanity’s twisted desires through their own malfunctioning machinations.
The reading experience here is not just one of technological wonder or erotic arousal - it is also one of confusion and uncertainty . . . equal measures dread and desire. These are stories that lead you on, draw you in, and take rude liberties with your expectations. Rather than try to comment on all of the stories here, please allow me to share with you some of my favorites.
State is a disturbingly erotic tale of a robotic prostitute forced to play out her client’s ‘daddy’ fantasies . . . except the robot is really a young woman who gets off on the technological deception as much as she does the fantasy. In Winged Memory, the story shifts perspective, introducing us instead to a young man so obsessed with the robotic prostitute down the street that he literally sells his memories to pay for the temporary bliss of sexual gratification . . . until he can’t even remember who she is or why he craves her.
Everything But the Smell of Lilies is the unsettling tale of a woman who plays dead for a living, offering herself up to serve the violent fantasies of her clients . . . only to get stuck in an ambulance with a necrophiliac. Guernica was, by far, one of my favourites in the collection, the story of a repressive society where sexuality is illegal, leaving a small group of men and women to secretly indulge in their erotic power-exchange fantasies, and giving life to the very real fears of punishment that exist outside the door.
Another of my favorites was Switch, the story of a human whore who leaves the brothel each day with her mind wiped clean of the memories of who her clients were and what she’s done with them . . . and who actually gets aroused by the thrill of never being able to know who might recognize her on the street or why. Technophile was probably the sweetest and the saddest of all the tales here, introducing us to a young man and his technologically enhanced lover, in a story where he literally cannot get it up because the batteries have run low in his exquisite Long Thrust phallic replacement.
Skin-Effect is kind of the polar opposite of Winged Memory, a story where a battle-scarred cyborg veteran regains both his memories and his humanity through a broken-down cyborg whore, whose own mastery of him proves sex is as much mental as it is physical. Finally, the titular story, The Bachelor Machine, beautifully messes with our expectations, introducing us to what seems like a sweet story a young man who deliberately seeks out the affections of an obsolete and forgotten robotic prostitute, only to reveal that the relationship is far from what we are expecting.
The Bachelor Machine simply IS science fiction erotica. Take away the elements of either genre, or isolate one at the expense of the other, and you are left with a nonsensical string of words. These are stories that only work because of the fusion between human sexuality and technological assistance that – like the best of M. Christian’s gadgets – truly are more than the sum of their parts.