Liner Notes for May 2020

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Well will you look at that! It’s been a month… which is, like, seven or eight years in 2020’s timescale… and that means it’s time for another Liner Notes! Let’s look at this month’s stories and talk a little bit about how they were made before the supervolcanoes erupt next week.

Xcogitate: As I’ve previously mentioned, I came up with the idea for this series when looking at the track listing for an instrumental album by Prince, and I knew I had certain things I wanted to do. I didn’t want to follow a single protagonist – this is about the drug X and the knock-on effects of its introduction into society, not Sarah/Becky and what happens to her when she tries it. So I knew that we’d shift to Rowan for the second story. In fact, I came up with the first line for this story before I even started writing “Xhalation”. (And yes, we’ll shift to someone else for the next one. Although Rowan and Becky aren’t dead, just to correct some people’s misconceptions. They’re something else.)

Once I knew where the story was going, it was pretty simple to write. Becky is already dosed up on X, she is not in control of her own mind, and even though Rowan thinks she’s in charge instead, she finds out the hard way that the X has its own agenda and that involves getting people stoned out of their fucking gourd on X. Which is what happens… and the next story, “Xemplify”, will show the next stage in their addiction.

Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound: One of the things that’s been very interesting about the last four or five years, on a personal level, is that I’ve really been discovering a lot about what interested me as a Dominant. Keep in mind, if you asked me when I started writing erotica back in 2000, I probably would have said I wasn’t a Dominant at all – I topped once or twice, but I never thought of myself as switchy until relatively recently. And when I did start getting into it, it was kind of with a “well, what do you want to do?” mindset.

But what I’ve discovered is that nothing really excites me more than the kind of thing I wrote about here, which is why it’s a very rare story written from the top’s perspective. I love the thought of emptying out the mind, opening up the sub to programming, and playing with their hypnotized body. It’s not that I make many alterations, mind you; that part is very much negotiated and relies on enthusiastic consent. But that feeling of knowing that I could do anything, that complete helplessness… that’s a rush. This is just me kind of immortalizing that.

Follow You Home: This one, I think, owes a pretty big debt of inspiration to folks like Tabico, trilby else, Bad Penny, thrall, and similar writers. Not necessarily in terms of specific plot elements, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it crosses over some of the same ground, but just in terms of the darkness and the conflicted feelings that Dominant and submissive show for each other. Vanessa wants to be controlled, but she wants to be controlled on her own terms. Hal wants to give her what she needs, but he’s utterly unwilling to surrender any kind of authority to her even notionally. It’s a tense, awkward relationship that’s ultimately resolved the only way it can be here.

And I dunno, forced pregnancy because it’s one of those fetishes that can only be realized in fantasy so why not here?

Boy Problems: When I first decided to introduce the Boys(tm), I wrote down a bunch of titles as a sort of brainstorming exercise to see if I could run with this for a while before I took the series to its ultimate conclusion. (Yes, there is an ultimate conclusion to the Girls universe. I know what it is, I’ve had it in my head for ages now. I just don’t want to let go of the series yet.) One of them, “Boy Problems”, took advantage of the idea that unlike the Girls, the Boys are made by humans and suffer bugs and flaws and glitches that need to be fixed. I originally envisioned it as almost comical (and a tiny trace of that remains near the beginning), but it occurred to me that not everyone at the company would be automatically on board with the Boys’ agenda, and that had some potential for real drama. That changed the tone of the story, resulting in what you see here.

I have heard from people who are upset that an ace character is “converted” to heterosexuality by sex. (I’d argue that Chouma isn’t converted to anything. She doesn’t have any identity at all anymore, let alone a sexual one, by the time the story ends, but death of the author and all that.) All I can say is that it’s supposed to be upsetting. You are supposed to be disturbed by the fact that the Boys do not respect human beings’ right to personal autonomy and expression of their identities, even though the event is described erotically. The Boys dip deeper into the well of erotic horror than the Girls, and that depersonalization and destruction of identity is supposed to hit that weird hot squicky point where it turns you on and repels you at the same time. The Boys are the villains. They do bad things. TL;DR: If a Boy is doing it, you can assume that the author thinks it’s wrong.

The Ultimate Vacation: I’ve been wanting to play with the dual meanings of “vacation” for a while now, and this was just where I decided to jump in and do it. The switching time frames was put in because a) the story wouldn’t be that sexy if I just went in chronological order, especially because to me it would feel “complete” once the brainwashing was over, and b) it’s not like anyone was going to be surprised by the ‘reveal’ of a sinister organization behind the tickets, so why not create a little tension by showing the final ending and working backwards to show how it happened? It’s not my most complex story, but I think it does what it does pretty well.

And that brings us to the end of another month, and also the murder hornets have allied with the robot empire while I was typing this! Join us next week for another blog post, and a month from now in the post-Singularity universe for another Liner Notes!

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