April 2017 Sexbots & Poetry @AlinaMeridon

I have been reading… Leona Carver’s Transformation

Transformation by Leona CarverLeona Carver’s Transformation (LT3, goodreads) caught my eye. I’m not sure I knew that it was the third novella in the series when I bought it, but I gave it a go anyway. (While it’s not really necessary to read the other books, it would probably be better to.) Lesbian romance and terraforming – what’s not to like? Plus, I adore the cover.

I dislike stories where the reader is well ahead of the main character, and nearly abandoned this at the start, but once the story shifted onto the planet I found it much more enjoyable. Not only the characters, but the careful thought that went into the science and technology of terraforming a hostile alien planet. (Reminded me a little of Sheri S. Tepper’s Hobbs Land Gods.)

I have been listening to… Elektra

I enjoy listening to BBC Radio, and two plays stood out this month. One was Catriona Knox’s Almost Like Being In Love. The main character describes herself as heteroflexible, in a very philosophical way, and finds herself falling for a lesbian. The script is full of the almost clichéd responses to this apparent change (or non-change) of orientation that you might expect, adding an element of not-quite-comedy to the romance. It’s really a sweet and simple tale of an open-minded ‘straight’ girl discovering she’s bisexual and everyone generally being in denial of bisexuality. What it isn’t, really, is what the description said: “What does love look like in a world of non-binary, gender-fluid, constantly hyphenated thinking?”

The other play was Sophocles’ Electra, which is all about Orestes and Elektra complaining about how evil their mother is. Never mind that Agamemnon murdered Clytemnestra’s first husband (and child, possibly), or that he sacrificed his daughter (and their sister) Iphigenia, or even that he’s been away for over ten years doing whatever it is kings do with captured slave-girls (he even brings one back with him), no, the only thing that matters is that their mother took a lover and killed their father.

It’s tragic, really. But it inspired this little tale of Agamemnon’s home-coming:

  • Cassandra, The ill-fated princess speaks; her last prophesy falls on deaf ears…

Salma Harek as EverlyI have been watching… Everly

Everly (2014) blends kick-ass girl, vengeful woman and determined mother in the talented and beautiful form of Salma Hayek. A desperate attempt to escape a life of confinement, abuse and slavery fails, putting her mother and daughter’s lives in danger. As a string of deadly assassins try to kill Everly, she struggles to guide her family to safety. Often dark, often funny, always brilliant.

Almost Adults filmAlso on Netflix, Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman (who were Carmilla and Laura respectively in the fantastic Carmilla webseries) star in Almost Adults, a delightful coming-of-age film with elements of humour and romance.

And the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, was also much enjoyed.

National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo)

Last year I didn’t have a theme for NaPoWriMo (see April 2016 Iphigenia @AlinaMeridon) but in 2015 I had a theme of steampunk, and in 2014 (my first NaPoWriMo) I chose Supergirl – which started my poetic love affair with Kara El.

In the spirit of perversity, for April 2017 I chose the theme of sexbots. They are of course a recurring theme on this blog, in connection with my unpublished and ill-fated novella Alexis 5-1-8. I recognise that this is a subject that few are interested in, and one that is somewhat antithetical to poetry (sexbots being base sexuality versus the elevated refinement of poetry), but in challenging the assumptions about and the instinctive reactions towards sexbots, it’s intriguing to see the mirror they hold up to society.

sexbot
some mirrors reflect
too well

The following collection of poems and articles is not erotic. Sometimes there is humour, and sometimes darkness, but I have aimed for compassion and truth.

Sexbot Articles

Sexbot Poetry: Mythology

Sexbot Poetry: Sexbot as Lover

Sexbot Poetry: The Dark Side

Sexbot Poetry: The Sentient Sexbot

Sexbot Poetry: Objectification

Sexbot Poetry: Humour

November 2016 James Bond @AlinaMeridon

Cold War Relics – A James Bond Adventure

One of the discussions that people often have about Dr Who is whether he could, or should, regenerate as a woman. For gender balance in the Tardis, she might then travel time and space with a male companion. Ultimately there’s no reason why this shouldn’t happen, though it seems unlikely that it ever will.

Earlier this year, Daniel Craig’s uncertainty over James Bond led to an inevitable flurry of speculation over alternatives, posing even the question of whether James Bond needs to be White British. Of course, the source material, Fleming’s stories, were suddenly a holy reference stating absolutely that James Bond has to be white, male and British (ideally Sean Connery) and a bit of an all-round bastard, in a suave and sophisticated way.

If the plots are absurd, and often the acting also, the spectacle of the films – the music, the exotic locations, the action sequences, but especially the stunt work (Die Another Day being a sad travesty of a Bond film from the moment the invisible car makes its appearance – or disappearance, rather) – makes them watchable.

The plots are also rife with misogyny, mainly through sheer inertia. (Anyone who isn’t Bond, M, Q or Moneypenny can and will be sacrificed or forgotten, and any women need to be beautiful and sleep with either Bond or the villain – or both.) There’s no real need, however, for Bond to be ‘a sexist, misogynist dinosaur,’ as M says; ‘a relic of the Cold War.’

Thandie Newton as James Bond

Thandie Newton as James Bond, 007
(With apologies for copyright infringement…)

There’s no real need even for Bond to be a man, except that people have a fondness for men who are sexist, misogynist dinosaurs. Just ask the next President of the United States of America.

So, it should be possible to have a female James Bond (Ah, Ms Bond! We meet at last…) – or, indeed, a female-identifying, polyamorous, pansexual, intersex James Bond – who kills bad guys and beds beautiful women…

for one little kiss
I would sacrifice my breath
and drown in your arms

double-o seven
the cold assassin enjoys
one more little death

james bond in heels skirts
many fearsome enemies
to strike at the heart

  1. The obligatory pre-credit sequence
  2. Moneypenny and the Quartermaster
  3. An exotic location
  4. A bloody business
  5. A new dress and heels
  6. The predictable card game
  7. An over-complicated death
  8. Search for the Secret Base
  9. The dastardly plan
  10. An explosive end
  11. Getting the girl

All About Freya

I was delighted to have a guest post from Freya Pickard, a fellow haiku poet and fantasy author. We share a love of dragons, structured poetry and Gilbert & Sullivan…

Cover of Insides by Freya Pickard

“I managed to retain my sense of humour throughout most of my cancer experience; it was only really chemotherapy that made it disappear… Most of my other writing is humorous, particularly if I’m writing about Dracomagan. But I do have a serious novel coming out next.”

Failed Again!

Two of my haiku were accepted for the December edition of Failed Haiku.

Posts

August 2016 Summer @AlinaMeridon

old man willow singing
a web by the water’s edge

a vision of gold
breathing light into the dark
the old worm slumbers

At the end of July I was in Veliko Gradište in Serbia, entirely without internet access for over a week. Instead of writing for my blog, I was chasing mosquitoes around the house, or enjoying beans cooked over an open fire (they even had a competition for this in Veliko Gradište, dozens of groups clustered about barbecue fires by the side of the Danube), or drinking beer (every visitor to Serbia quickly learns the word ‘pivo’), or reading Lord of the Rings for the nth time (I got all the way to Shelob’s lair)…

Silver Lake near Veliko Gradiste in Serbia

Until 1971, Silver Lake (a popular holiday destination near Veliko Gradište in Serbia) was an arm of the Danube.

I have done a fair bit of writing these past two months, but not for my blog and not for publication – although I have also been writing a second part for my ill-fated Alexis 5-1-8. Maybe I can extend it from a novelette to novella. On a related note, here’s an interesting article about sexbot prostitutes: Robot Brothels Could Soon Become A Reality.

Joo Yeon Sir and Irina Andrievsky playing the Porgy and Bess fantasy by Igor Frolov Joo Yeon Sir and Irina Andrievsky playing the Kreutzer sonata

In July I had the great fortune to attend a concert in Buxton where violinist Joo Yeon Sir and pianist Irina Andrievsky played Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata (image/link on right) and Igor Frolov’s Porgy & Bess fantasy (image/link on left). I had often heard of the Kreutzer sonata, but it wasn’t a piece I was familiar with. Joo Yeon Sir played it beautifully and passionately, and I was delighted to find the same pieces and performers on YouTube.

Silk Over Razor Blades by Ileandra Young

Posts

I Like It Hard

My new novelette now has an official cover (very cool – many thanks to Natasha Snow), an official release date (8th June), and an official blurb:

After her brother Dan loses in the final of the XXX-rated Reality TV show I Like It Hard, Helen Arnold finds new purpose in life: enter the show herself—and win.

But no amount of training, or advice from Dan and his lovers, can fully prepare her for naked interviews, two weeks in a porn-studio villa, and weeks of nerve-wracking live sex show—all while dealing with the capricious nature of the judges, who wield absolute power over the show and its contestants.

Being both bisexual and aromantic, Helen is used to dealing with people who don’t like or approve of her—and she’s never been the type to back down when life gets hard.

~ ~ ~ ooh! ~ ~ ~

This is not erotica. It is certainly explicit in places, and hopefully erotic in places, but the essence of I Like It Hard is two-fold:

  1. Television these days is full of reality TV of one sort or another, with lots of X Factor and other talent shows that have celebrity judges and audience voting; couple that with the easy availability of porn on the internet and the ever more unclear line between romance and erotica in all media, and is it such a stretch to imagine that one day contestants will be having sex on stage for public entertainment? It’s a completely daft idea, and by itself would not make for a terribly interesting story, but…
  2. I have for the past few years been writing stories and poetry with aromantic themes. The idea of romantic attraction is so thoroughly ingrained in cultural norms that the idea that someone does not experience it is baffling, even threatening. Falling in love makes us so vulnerable that of course we’re terrified by the idea that the person we love cannot reciprocate. People who seek sexual intimacy but reject romantic intimacy are seen as predators – and unfortunately there all too many sexual predators out there. But there are also allosexual aromantics who may desire sex as part of an emotionally intimate friendship.

These two ideas combine very nicely to provide a setting where sex without romance is the norm, and where therefore an allosexual aromantic person might thrive. It’s interesting to look back at my originally proposed blurb, which finished with:

Helen’s bisexuality makes her a slightly unusual contestant in a show that divides itself into the binaries of male-female and gay-straight, but for the first time in her life she is able to form relationships based on sex and friendship, without the minefield of romance that has so often made her life as an aromantic difficult.

Caveat: Of course, this should not be taken to imply that allosexual aromantic people are porn stars, or vice versa. People are not all the same. Allosexual aromantics are not all the same. Helen Arnold does not represent all allosexual aromantic people, any more than James Bond represents all men.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

Innocent she seemed at first, her blushes red as wine
Fans adored her guileless ways and judged her quite divine
Once each week upon the stage, on TV too, she starred
Asked just what she thought of it, she said, “I like it hard!”