Posted in on Mar 07, 2017 Speculative Fiction
While out walking his dog, professional programmer and amateur tinkerer Jared comes across a discarded robot. It's the latest model of sentient androids from Brobotics, and seems to be suffering from no more than a dud battery. On a whim, Jared takes the junked ‘Byron’ home to try and fix. He has no idea that his little act of kindness is effectively the start of a revolution that will uncover dark conspiracies.
Posted in on May 06, 2015 Speculative Fiction , novel
<p>In the not too distant future, the world is even more corporatized and consumerist than it is now. “The System” as it's called, is all about creating the next “new” thing that people will believe they need to make them happy, at least for a while. Jeffrey Cooper is a key cog in the machine. His ability to discern what will make a product appeal to the market it's targeted at makes him valuable to the nameless, faceless people who run the system. His reward for his talents is a phalanx of treatments that keep him looking like a thirty-something despite his real age of eighty, and a group of doctors and therapists to help him manage his mental and physical health. The price he pays for this fountain of youth is the abandonment of his past, and even much of himself. And, if he should every falter, become less useful to the system, it will all stop and he will quickly die.
Posted in on May 27, 2014 Speculative Fiction , novel , Science Fiction
<p>‘B’ is the captain of the first human mission to the Silver planet, in search of water for an earth that is running dry. The Silvers themselves are a bit of a surprise, as the unmanned explorers that were sent to the planet didn't record them. Although humanoid, the Silvers don't seem to feel greed, anger, lust, or any other ‘human’ emotions. This allows B and his crew, as well as their commanders back on earth, to view the Silvers as less-than-human, and thus perform downright criminal experiments on them. Of course, some of the crew enjoy inflicting pain more than others.
Posted in on Jul 21, 2013 Speculative Fiction
<p>‘Jodi’ is a doctor trying to find a “cure” for one of his society's greatest problems: paranormal abilities. ‘Paras’ are considered a threat, and once discovered they are marked with tattoos as well as forced to take a drug that inhibits their abilities. The problem is, the drug makes them almost useless for anything else, so they have become outcasts from the world in more ways than one.</p> <p>The government of Jodi's country has used the “paranormal threat” to justify all sorts of restrictions, which the largely conservative society goes along with. Jodi must walk a very fine line, watching everything he says or does, especially since he is a homosexual, something that, while not illegal, is still heavily frowned on and could indirectly get him dismissed from his government job and made virtually unemployable.
Posted in on Nov 04, 2012 Speculative Fiction
<p>This review originally appeared in slightly different form at <a href="http://www.bdsmbookreviews.com/2012/10/29/review-the-flesh-cartel-by-rachel-haimowitz-and-heidi-belleau/" title="BDSM Book Reviews">BDSM Book Reviews</a>.</p> <p>In this work of speculative fiction, people with enough money and the right connections can buy anything, including their own personal sex slaves. The Flesh Cartel is a super-secret, highly organized group that supplies these human cattle. They take people nobody will really miss and transform them into the perfect slave. “The Flesh Cartel” series follows two brothers as they are taken and processed through the cartel's machinery.</p> <p>Note that this is a serial publication. Serialization is the latest thing in ebook publishing right now, although it's an idea as old as mass printing. Many of the great classic authors, like Dickens, originally had their works published in serial form a hundred years ago. Back then, printing a small chunk of a book at a time made it more affordable to the mass market. In today's market, where most consumers are loath to pay more than 5.99 for a full length novel in ebook form, publishers are hoping that they'll willingly pay 2.99 each for the same work in eight or a dozen installments. It's great for the authors, hopefully, but it really requires that they make every installment, and especially the first one, engrossing enough to make you want to come back for more.
Posted in on Oct 08, 2012 Speculative Fiction , Mystery
<p>“Unnatural Selection Collection” is an omnibus edition collecting three novellas featuring DC Nick Guthrie, his fellow detectives and his friends, especially Dr Anton Marber. I should warn you that there's an inevitable bit of 'spoilers' in recounting all three books in one go like this. I've been careful not to reveal the mysteries of each book, but it's impossible, I think, to discuss what happens in each book without telling you what the state of the relationship between the two main characters is.</p> <p>Nick Guthrie is a detective with the London Metropolitan Police, and gay, and a vampire. Well, he's not really a vampire, but that's the way many people see him. A few years before the start of “Unnatural Selection” Nick was dying from a cancerous brain tumor. Conventional treatments had been exhausted and so the doctors offered him a new experimental procedure. It seems that a virus called ISH had been discovered, which had an effect that was just the opposite of HIV. Where HIV destroyed the immune system, ISH super-charged it, enabling the body to fight off almost any disease, including cancer and HIV. There was just one potential “side effect” - the virus converted the body's metabolism so that the only nourishment it can get is from drinking human blood, which is synthesized for those that have undergone the treatment.
Posted in on May 02, 2012 Speculative Fiction , Mystery
<p>Another year or so has passed since the events of the last book, <a href="http://michaeljoseph.info/2012/04/review-games-consequences/" title="Review â€“ Games & Consequences">Games & Consequences</a>, and things are not going well for Jerna and his family. His youngest daughter is fighting cancer while the older one is facing bullying at school. Love and honor compel Jerna to spend more time with his wife and children, and less time with his lover Ria.</p> <p>Ria feels lonely, and although he tries to understand Jerna's situation, he can't help but wonder if he can ever be really happy sharing Jerna with his wife and family. It doesn't help that Ria's old flame Orlan has reappeared to create mischief in both Ria and Jerna's life. For much of the first half of this book, it seems that <u>Needful</u> is going to be the story of the end of a relationship, as conflicting demands tear Ria and Jerna apart, but then this author excels at painting her characters into a corner from which it seems they can't escape without giving up something dear to them.</p>
Posted in on Apr 16, 2012 Speculative Fiction , BDSM
<p><u>Games & Consequences</u> picks up the story of <a href="http://michaeljoseph.info/2011/12/review-remastering-jerna/" title="Review â€“ Remastering Jerna">Remastering Jerna</a>. It's a couple years later, and Jerna is happy in his life, with its somewhat unusual domestic arrangements. He spends four days a week as a manager at the exclusive Winds of Paradise hotel and bordello, while those nights are spent with Ria, the highly placed police inspector who helped set him free from his wrongful conviction in the first book. Ria gives Jerna the domination and pain he needs, as well as love. His weekends are spent with his very understanding wife and two children.</p> <p>Jerna's job at the hotel means he occasionally has to deal with some unpleasant situations and customers. In the opening sequence, titled "Games", we're treated to a scene where one of the hotel's women sex workers, Mawe, is unwittingly used in a plot by a man named Darr to punish his assistant and lover Pavine. Darr is a powerful government minister who abuses Pavine regularly. When Jerna learns what happened to Mawe, he asks Ria to have a word with Darr to inform him he's not welcome in the hotel. This infuriates Darr, who takes it out on Pavine. Fortunately, fearing for his life, the young man has the sense to run away.</p>
Posted in on Dec 18, 2011 Speculative Fiction , D/s , BDSM
<p>Remastering Jerna is a really dark tale of suffering and redemption. In it, the author has created an alternate world not unlike our own, but with significant small differences. She spends many pages drawing this world and the main characters in rich detail, making everything three dimensional and very real in a very readable style that gradually draws you in.</p> <p>The title character,
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