Or, How I Learn To Never Issue Challenges To Scottish Women
I’ve actually been sitting on this book for a few weeks now, but there was something very specific that was stopping me from getting this review started. I picked it up at work to do a bit of advance reading, and immediately put it back down.
There’s…a limit to what I feel comfortable reading at work. There is sex on page one. Granted, it’s “off-screen”, and I am not saying I have an issue reading this sort of thing in general, but there’s a difference between reading at home and reading at work in a crowded office building where people constantly ask me what I am reading. (Especially since I appear to have accidentally ordered the Large Print edition of the book.)
I didn’t want to have to explain this to my supervisor is what I am saying.
In any case, Kayleigh has challenged me to Pleasure 2035, by Cameo Brown, of which the summary on the back promises vampires, robot sex workers, and undercover mystery and intrigue.
We begin with Mayflower, sitting in what appears to be a robot brothel, wishing that “the sun would explode”, killing her and vaporizing all of her problems while it’s at it. We have a short list of vague worries, such as Chico (running away from), Dime (unspecified), and her current predicament of being stuck in a small box-like room, listening to the sounds of sex around her, and not being able to do anything about it.
That last, it appears, is a bit more of an immediate concern, considering it’s hot and stuffy in that box, and she’s dressed up like a “pleasure synth”, which I assume is a lovebot of some sort. Her plan, it appears, is of the “Didn’t think it through! DIDN’T THINK IT THROUGH!” variety, because synths – being assumedly robots – can be stored in small compartments and dress in chafing, uncomfortable-but-sexy garments.
I guess robots really don’t have to breathe.
It’s actually a neat aspect of the concept, and one I find myself happy that the author is calling attention to. If you’re going to pretend you’re a robot, you have to take into account that robots are treated differently; robots don’t have to worry about constricting clothing or fabrics that would normally give rashes, they don’t have to keep the temperature around human comfort levels, and they don’t have to breathe.
I have a feeling that the world-building – what little there may be of it – is going to hook me far more than the sex scenes. Which, speaking of, start right the fuck away.
While Mayflower is ruminating on the position she’s in, the door to her cubbyhole is wrenched open, and she’s dragged out by a large, muscular man who tosses her around a couple times before threatening her life.
And dangerous he was. His fingers continued to constrict around her windpipe, squeezing harder in proportion to the fury growing in his expression.
“I hope you like to fuck, little lady,” he ground out, his tone low and threatening, “because if you don’t spread those pretty thighs for me, we’re both dead.”
Come with me if you want to live.
No fear, Mayflower, for it is only Jovinius Markus Artinuous, which I cannot fucking pronounce for the life of me but whatever, let’s move on. He’s big, he’s bad, and he’ll kill Mayflower if she doesn’t shut up and have sex with him, because that’s what the people about to enter the room expect.
Mayflower decides to keep playing the love-doll, so she gives her name as Synthia unit 5678. Extremely clever. But there’s not much she can do, because he’s overpoweringly strong, and his kisses turn her anger into pure desire. Only one race can do this, she realizes with horror. Jovinaost Mark Hamillious must be…a robot.
I’m going to take a moment and point out that Jovarci Markus Aquinas is hereafter referred to by other characters as “Jove”, and his own perspective sections identify him as “Mark”, so I’m going to declare that from now on, Jocasta Michelin Architect will be referred to simply as Mark and have done with the needlessly complicated nomenclature.
I’m also not going to go off on a rampage about the whole forced sex at gunpoint – technically, at rip-your-head-off-with-his-bare-handspoint, but whatevs – because if I do that for every book I read, I’ll rant myself into an early stroke. So I’m just going to say right here, right now: Rape is bad, I hate it, I’m going to move on now.
In any case, the couple enter the room with Mark and Mayflower. They’re introduced as a pair of drug smugglers; the wife, Janice, is obviously shitfaced out of her mind right then and there, and it’s made clear that they hired Mark to have sex with a woman in front of them, as some sort of…what, marital aid? Expensive live-performance porn? Look, I don’t know, it’s extremely fast paced right now and I’m having trouble keeping up with what’s going on.
In any case, the husband is trying to use this scene to sleep with his wife, who is too stoned to even know what her own anatomy looks like anymore, so he watches a chapter-long sex scene between Mark and
Mayflower Synthia (get it she is pretending to be a pleasure synth and it is her name so clever). During this, Mayflower realizes that Mark isn’t a robot because he has a scrotum (apparently this is a thing) (NO SERIOUSLY THIS IS A THING); also, Mark loses control and bites into Mayflower’s ankle, and she’s so into the sexing that she doesn’t notice and/or care(or possibly there’s some strange aspect to the bite that encourages this, see also the kiss above).
Mister Drug Pusher wants to get into the action, but Mark doesn’t like this and punches him out. Mayflower then grabs Janice Stoned Woman, pushes her into the love-bot containment closet, and pushes the sterilization button. Which is completely awesome and more attention to detail in this actually fascinating setting because, as mentioned above, robots can take more punishment than a human, so when a love-bot gets sterilized, it gets fucking sterilized.
Suddenly yet another woman bursts into the room, drapes herself all over Mark, and both Mayflower and I are just completely confused by the sudden influx of unexplained characters. To which point, I’m going to end this section now and pick it back up after I’ve had a chance to recover.