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Is another horrible erotic novel, or rather an erratic novel, by a person who calls herself Megan Hart and who spent most of the 2000s penning vast quantities of this stuff. Which, following the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, was subsequently reissued. This dates from 2010. I am eternally grateful to fool4luv for directing me towards Ms Hart, because I now have more snark fuel in my life.

Ohhh yes, this I do. Because this novel is a craptacular waste of pages that, far from reducing the reader to "sweet-hot climaxes" that the bumf on the back promises, reduced me to a cackling heap of insanity.

Executive Summary

Blade Runner meets Rule 34.

A bit more detail, if you don't mind?

Oh boy. In The Future, namely the 31st century, we will all live in gloomy high-rise dystopias, where it will always rain, and we will eat synthetic food grown in vats, and spend a ridiculous amount of time shagging sex robots with annoying brand names like GRLFRND 250 or COK 127 or, of course, PSSN-M - the titular Passion Model. For various reasons, such as becoming self aware, attachment to their owners, malfunctioning which can result in someone being shagged to death, the inhabits of Newcity (where this is set) rely on the services of a RIO - a Recreational Intercourse Operative - to prevent their sexbots from running amuck. They do this by going into Lovehuts (robotic brothels) and inspecting them. Because sexbots are made of metal, servos, rubber, and an outer coating of flesh, they're all rather durable, so the RIOs have cybernetic enhancements to keep up with them in case the 'bots object to being deactivated.

Guess how the sexbots are inspected? By being robustly shagged at extreme length until they malfunction. This is another reason, I'm sure, why the cybernetic enhancements are needed. Hear that noise? That was Willian Gibson, Philip K. Dick, and Mike Pondsmith all having a simultaneous rage fit.

Our heroine is a RIO named Gemma who's on patrol when she encounters what she reckons is a malfunctioning sexbot, upon where she accompanies him to an Inspection Station and inspects him. Unfortunately she realises, upon him getting to the jester's shoes, he's actually a real live person because sexbots don't let loose their juices. Apparently shagging a real person on duty is a Big Deal and a criminal offence. Probably because it's got the potential to be abused by RIOs to rape anyone who they feel like via the threat of jail time or serious wallop. But anyhow. Declan, for that is his name, she starts having an affair with him, and continues to go about her duties.

Which is why I described this above as not so much erotic as erratic. In Chapter Six we encounter Gemma and Eddie (her partner) inspecting a female sexbot who goes into "clenchdown". This is where the 'bot kinda gets carried away and fucks the human user to death or even starts going at so ridiculously as to "just constrict his dick so forcibly she popped it off like a cherry from its stem." Congratulations, Megan, you have ruined it for everyone. This is kinda like the infamous TURNING!!!!! scene in Miss World '96 Nude. You know, where you're starting to reveal the scantily clad gal a bit too swiftly and all of a sudden it turns into a bad photoshop of Pinhead and a dance remix of "Let's All Chant" starts bursting out the speakers. As then, RIP My Boner, so now.

See, despite having graphic sex scenes in it, the novel really isn't all that erotic. It is, like I said, a pale imitation of Blade Runner but with sex robots. The plot is almost entirely lifted in that one of the replicants, sorry, Passion Models, escapes custody and goes on the run (the one who went into clenchdown) and the protagonists have to go and retrieve it, only to find that she's become self aware, and there's other self aware bots and dodgy people helping her disappear into a wretched hive full of depraved, brutal perverts.

Let's now turn to the rather improbable nature of the setting. Apparently, We Will Have Sex With Robots In The Future. Now, yes, I know that the Internet is for porn, and that Rule 34 exists, but the idea that the biggest category of robot in The Future will be for sexual purposes strikes me as improbable. Given that although you can buy, in the present, rubber sex dolls, some of which feature an internal skeleton, voice box, realistic weight, and real hair, as well as all the appropriate other bits, these are colossally expensive. So much so that it's probably more worth your time and effort to go and find a real person to do it with. They also suffer from uncanny valley. So why wouldn't people in The Future go and boff each other, like fucking Christ intended, rather than a robot? Especially considering that the sexbots are specifically mentioned as having perfectly symmetrical features, which is one of the main causes of uncanny valley. Well then.

They also charge their sexbots on a USB cable (as opposed to some sort of futuristic wireless interface or dock of some sort), and the novel also seems to make annoying references to 2000s era pop culture. The Matrix is name dropped more than once. O rly? Do I still name drop something that was taking place in the Middle Ages? Do I agitate in Facebook for "Sumer Is Icumen In" or "Stella Splendens" to get to the top of the charts? Does anyone? No they do not. Exactly. This is stupid. And what about the millennium that took place in the interim? Well quite.

Well... if you've seen Blade Runner you know what happens next. Except it doesn't. The rest of the novel details Gemma's investigation into finding Declan. Turns out he's the offspring of a big cheese in Newcity and by investigating him she's annoyed the Powers That Be. Turns out that he also, like her, is cybernetically enhanced. This is allegedly a big deal for some reason, except the plot then kinda... well, fizzles out, and ends with Gemma watching an alien sunset on a pristine unpolluted offworld beach. How she got here is slightly unexplained.

And this is kinda where the novel goes horribly wrong. It's only "erotic" because it has the occasional graphic sex scene in it. It doesn't really or properly explore many of the big cyberpunk themes it touches on, such as self awareness, AI, transhumanism, mass surveillance, or similar, they're just thrown in because the author reckoned that they're part of the setting and taken as read. The setting itself is uncompelling. In fact, it's positively daft. And the premise, that sexbots are so prevalent in The Future that we'll need an entire inspectorate to deal with them is quite frankly ridiculous. And even the sexy sex bits are slightly prone to TURNING!!! moments that ruin it for everyone, like the incident with the "clenchdown" as above.

In short, I'm not sure you should read this novel. It fails as erotica, it fails as cyberpunk, it just fails in general.

(IN1221/30)

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