Friday, 8 April 2011

Carnal Machines - out now!

"I say, Caruthers! Have you heard? That new anthology of unexpurgated and positively shocking fictive adventures, Carnal Machines, is available from the Amazon Emporium as of now. Just ask the man behind the counter for "something for the weekend," and he'll sell you a copy wrapped in plain brown paper. I warn you, it'll make your moustache curl, old bean. And whatever you do - don't let the servants see it!"

From the Carnal Machines: steampunk erotica blurb:

The Victorians wrote some of the best and most enduring erotica. For such a tightly-laced age, people spent a lot of time thinking about things carnal. The rich and slightly decadent visuals of the steam age lend themselves perfectly to the new carnality of post-punk era. And, of course, what is repressed will be even more exciting once the corset is unlaced. Steampunk, even without sex, is erotic; with sex, it’s over-the-top hot.

There are brothels, flying machines, steam-powered conveyances, manor houses, spiritualist societies. The following stories afford intelligently written, beautifully crafted glimpses into other worlds, where the Carnal Machines won’t fail to seduce you, get you wet or make you hard, so lie back, relax; a happy ending is guaranteed.

Steampunk - I love it! And my own contribution to this collection, The Servant Question, is a jolly romp in which the puzzle of how to find reliable, hardworking domestics who fulfill all your individual requirements is solved, in an ingenious manner suited to the age of invention:

Thus, every time he added a new routine to Eliza’s repertoire, he felt again the pride that Michelangelo must have felt at his labours upon the Sistine chapel: the pride of the true artist who brings something unique and incomparable to a discerning and exalted employer. Eliza seemed more beautifully wrought each time he visited, both more lifelike and more inhumanly perfect. Perhaps this was because her new owner had had her dressed in a fine uniform, complete with all the layers of undergarments so necessary to the soft feminine form – and so unnecessary in Eliza’s case. To open the panel at her back involved Mr. Tulliver partially undressing her: undoing a myriad buttons and loosening the tight stays and delving beneath the layers of lavender-scented frillies. The mannequin was so lifelike in form that this actually brought a blush to his cheek, as if he really were undressing a servant girl in front of her mistress. He was always sure to close the curtains before starting, in case some passer-by should glimpse the operation and misunderstand.

“Mr. Tulliver, I do believe you are becoming an expert on the mysteries of the female undergarment,” Mrs. Petherton teased him gently from the sofa, as he pulled out the crossed laces of the Housemaid’s corset and wriggled the boned garment down to her porcelain hips.

In the glass over the mantle, Eliza’s perfectly formed lips seemed to smile at him. Her ceramic breasts were pert and unyielding under her chemise. 

“I assure you, madam,” he answered jocularly, feeling the heat rise behind his tight collar, “that after the complexities of such apparel, the mere workings of a thousand interlocking clockwork cogs is as nothing.”   

In point of fact Mrs. Petherton’s requirements of Eliza were exacting and particular, and the new maid had to be implanted with the precise techniques for several new chores. The beating of carpets, for example, seemed to be a task not to be undertaken with brute force but with measured blows and a particular upward flick of the wrist that Mrs. Petherton insisted was superior for driving out dust; not having personal experience of domestic chores, Mr. Tulliver could only assume that this was derived from the store of feminine wisdom. The polishing of champagne flutes (two fingers inside, and a twisting motion of the wrist) caused him some small trouble with the minute adjustments to Eliza’s mechanism, but Mrs. Petherton pronounced herself very pleased with the results. Then there was the occasion he was summoned to improve the housemaid’s technique with the dolly-tub. Mr. Tulliver considered that anything that took the backbreaking work of pounding laundry out of human hands must be an improvement, but apparently that too had its particular techniques that he had not foreseen. To optimise efficiency, according to Mrs. Petherton, Eliza must employ a back and forth motion of the hips whilst working the dolly-stick.

Carnal Machines, edited by D L King, is available NOW from Cleis Press and Amazon US,  and may be pre-ordered from Amazon UK (out May)

"God save the Queen and Empire!"


Craig Sorensen said...

Ooh! Steamy!


Jeremy Edwards said...

What extraordinarily fine tidings!

[Begins growing mustache, so it can curl.]

Janine Ashbless said...

You know, it took me moment to get that? My brain has gone on holiday, clearly...

I had such fun writng this story, guys - it was hoot. And I read a bunch of Victorian/Edwardian porn to get the terminology right: "its rubicund head" etc.

Madeline Moore said...

Oh my God it's a gorgeous looking thing. Loved your excerpt Janine.
I remember when I did not believe I could write a paranormal story.
Now I've had two published.
I can do this Steam Punk thing, I know I can. I know I can.

ps - by the way I've gone quite mad over on my blog and am conducting a ongoing conversation with 'Anonymous' which would be fine if Anonymous wasn't, sigh, me.

This is a cry for HALP!