This won’t hurt a bit…

Arabian Nights series, book one

Hmm, Saturday night, well fed and slightly lubricated from a couple of glasses of Baily & Baily Queen Bee, what to do? Watch Wonder Woman in 3D, or write a long-overdue blog post…? How long overdue? Um… 😊 Oh. It’s been over a year. Er, that’s perhaps a little more than merely embarrassing.

Brightens. Ah, I know – blog post then Wonder Woman – the perfect solution!

The big news, I suppose, is the release of my first erotic book (The End of the Game), but let me work up to that….

Arabian Nights series, book one
The End of the Game

So, what’s been happening since, ah, August 2016? Well, I made a start on exploring the adult mods for Skyrim – but then got distracted. I helped Aika, MG, Phaos and others a little on numerous new releases of Trap Quest – a very not-safe-for-work heavily illustrated text adventure game. (I also helped out a little on Perverted Education… do we see a pattern forming here?)  I discovered Discord when Aika set up a server for the game developers to chat, initially. But it grew almost instantly from there into a small and very quirky community with several NSFW chat channels, where I made quite a few digital friends. And discovered Leticia Latex, too – hi Leticia! – whose ‘kink’ is dollification and inflation.

Discord is a social media tool: think party-line text conversations that supports images, video, lots of emojis, voice calls and even video calls if you want, the ability to set up your own little server, or have private or invite-only group chats.

From the TQ Discord I was introduced to Second Life (SL), and found that quite enchanting, too. If you’re not aware of it, SL is a virtual 3D world which is basically a chat application, and is still very much in operation. You create an avatar – either a free one, or buy a more advanced model for ‘Linden dollars’ – and then wander about, through sub-worlds, perhaps just soaking up the scenery, perhaps chatting to passersby and locals as you see fit. And with the RLV (Restrained LoVe, gulp) relay enabled, you can allow things and people in the world to affect your avatar, up to and including some very adult roleplays. Which, I blushingly admit, I tried and enjoyed enormously.

Second Life can be all sorts of things – I discovered educational institutions there, including special interest and self-help and support groups of many, many kinds, from every corner of our very unpointy globe. SL does have a somewhat steep learning curve, so I’m sure I tested the patience of people I interacted with when I accidentally stripped off body parts instead of clothes, or wore boxes instead of the clothes contained inside, or bumped into people when trying to talk to them, or … well, let’s just say I still have a lot to learn.

Via Discord, I met Avi, and after some chatting decided to collaborate on my planned book series: Avi would illustrate them using his 3D modelling skills. You can check out more of his work at Avi0627’s DeviantArt Gallery or Avi-e-hentai. We both rolled up our sleeves and set to work.

Because it had been some years since I’d last visited my branch of the story in Milida’s Arabian Nights Gender Changing World ‘interactive fiction’ story, and my main character had gotten into quite a tangled set of problems, I started going back through my manuscript from the beginning, summarising as I went. Of course I polished and tightened what I had written, while also looking for possible tasty scenes that would be nice to see illustrated.

We found in practice that the most effective mode of collaboration was to share screens across the internet and talking while Avi worked and I gave feedback and suggestions. For both of us, the nuances of the scene are very important, and none more so than the characters’ expressions, reflecting what they’re thinking and feeling. But some back-of-the-envelope calculations made it obvious that if we created this as a single book, it would be too large: monstrously large. Which would push the price way up, just to handle Amazon’s bandwidth charges. More than that, though, I realised a single tome would be a monolith even in digital form; a pill far too large for any but a hardy one or two to swallow. Separate books made much more sense.

Anyway, Avi and I beavered away, and in due course I set a deadline for pre-release and we worked hard to meet that. Avi did his part – including a last minute change of one scene from daytime into a night scene, after I realised I had overlooked that fact when briefing Avi. Rewriting things to accommodate that would have rippled out and caused substantial work and perhaps even cause some plot changes, and Avi reworked it and added starlight and torches so quickly my jaw dropped.

The last step was to insert the images to produce the ebook and upload to Amazon. And that’s when things started going a little off the rails for me.

I was pretty confident I knew how to produce a nicely formatted and valid ebook using the excellent free software Calibre, and LibreOffice. Although I did have some qualms about LO’s handling of images – I’d recently made a just-for-fun document and found the images seemed to jump around in the text unexpectedly when I edited it.

Hoo boy.

Let me start off by saying that LibreOffice, the free and open-source office suite, is by and large amazingly good. And I’m happy to be using it for writing novels. But illustrated novels…? Well, read on.

I found it insanely hard to create a book with embedded images, mainly because LibreOffice is shockingly bad at this. If you google the topic, you’ll find people have been griping about it for years. Yes, images really do jump around in the document, leapfrogging up over earlier images that are tied to later paragraphs, sometimes mysteriously cover the text that should not be flowing under them (because wrapping is turned off), spontaneously change from anchored-to-the-paragraph to being anchored to a character, jump when you change the anchoring…. Nor can you trust the image ratios in the Properties dialogue (even if you Preserve the ratio), and sometimes changing the values here will do weird and unrelated squashing of the image, hide the caption, chop off the image, …. Fortunately, those last two errors are only in the display/refresh: if you close the file and reopen it, chances are the caption will reappear and the whole image will be displayed, not just some of the upper half.

Things got so bad that I happened to share some of my thoughts with friends on Discord as I worked, which perhaps is what saved my sanity. It also gives me a ‘running commentary’ of the final couple of hours of my day long battle as the deadline raced closer and closer. Which I present without further ado in the hopes of your sympathy.

Warning: the following transcript contains strong language.

Yes… got the caption to appear above by setting Auto Caption, and choosing Above – but that prevents you from writing a description of the illustration, it seems! Grrr….
Googling….
Oh my god! That worked: inserting afresh and choosing the obvious option, that I failed to notice somehow! (Position: defaults to Below; but you can choose Above)
And so does editing the properties, without re-inserting, provided I also change this mysteriously-reset other parameter that should have no effect…!
It’s still fighting back. Now the images shrink, and get chopped in half. But that will be a bug. Maybe closing and reopening will reveal what it really looks like…
Ah ha! Kind of. Re-opening shows the image has been distorted. But if I do this… yes – perfect!
Panting. Now to see if I can go back and get as good a result with the 1st image… Bites nails.
Sonofabitch…
Aaagh!
Panting again. Okay, closing and reopening gets it back as it was. Let’s try again.
Change it to Anchored to Page, first.
Now: Properties: Uncheck ‘Width relative to paragraph’…
Fuuck! Now width and height go bizarro!
Okay, click ‘Original Size’…
Now manually set Height to 820, with Keep Ratio still checked, and click OK, with fingers crossed….
Erh… maybe… But the caption is invisible.
Let’s reduce the height to 800…
Dammit. Where’s the caption gone?
:astonished:
The… the whole frame containing the image, with its caption, jumped to a fresh new page, afterwards. Leaving the image on the previous page. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!
Okay.
Delete image.
Delete frame.
More panting.
Okay. Re-insert image.
Anchor to Page.
Resize to 820 pt tall.
Copy caption from old Table of Illustrations.
Insert caption above
Yes!
Scrolling down to image 2…
F*ck!
Its caption has vanished!
F****CK!
Hmm, why is the Properties dialogue hinting the caption is at the bottom…?
Don’t trust it… Save, then close and reopen…
Yes! Oh, you sneaky f*cker! Image 2 was just fine!
Swallows, shaking slightly.
Okay… Let’s update the Table of Illustrations and check it hasn’t become corrupted…
:astonished:
All the hyperlinks have vanished from the Table of Illustrations! Grr. Right, you bastard…
Edit Index…
Insert hyperlink Start (LS), and End (LE) around the ‘Entry’: for the twelfth time, grrr.
Update Index… and the hyperlinks are restored.
Right. Save.
Panting
Okay… Image 3…
Properties… now, what was that incantation…?
Anchor: not to character, you asshole! I set it to Paragraph! What keeps changing that?!
Okay, and now change Position from Vertical Top to Vertical Bottom, and OK…
Yes! Oh – no. Caption is now at the top, but image has been squashed, grrr!
Set Width relative to Entire page, not Paragraph. Uncheck Width Relative
And image dimensions go wacko: height gets set to Width!
Okay, don’t hit OK yet, let’s see if we can fix that, first…
Set Height to… 820pt… OK…
Hmm. Too much and… WTF?!
Grinds teeth.
Oh, you liar! You have not preserved the aspect ratio, you’ve stretched it sideways. Grrr. And the caption has vanished.
Okay.
Save, close, reopen…
Yeah, right. Caption is there, where it should be. But image is fat.
Grinds teeth again.
:astonished:
Oh, you sneaky liar. 780/565.5 = 1.3793, 841.85/595.25 = 1.4142!
Oh, you complete bastard liar! You even lied about the Original aspect ratio and size! 1250/781 = 1.6005
Panting.
Resizing to 800×500 gets it unsquashed – looking normal – and the caption reappears.
Looks up with a slightly hysterical expression.
Licks lips.
Now let’s see if I can repeat that!
But first, let’s Save!
Uh oh… there’s a page of text missing, and that image is in the wrong place. Grinds teeth
I bet the text has somehow slipped under it.
But Wrap is off, for both, so that should not be possible.
Okay.
I can do this.
Okay. Delete Image 3…
Dammit. And image 4, too.
Ah! There’s the hidden text.
Sighs.
Let’s try again. Get the caption for image 3 from the ToI…
Okay… Image 3 reinserted; caption looks good… no text hidden… image not distorted.
Save!
Right: grab caption text for image 4 from Table of Illustrations. Find place to insert it…
Okay! Good! Save…
Update Index for Table of Illustrations… Oh! Hyperlinks all vanish again!
Edit Index… Reinsert them… OK… Update Index… back again. Grr.
Right. Delete Illustration 5. And its frame and caption…
Wrap Off…
Insert caption… Paste text… Choose Top… OK.
Good! Save that.
Okay… Update index… hyperlinks still there… go to image 6….
Starts giggling insanely. Oh, look, illustration 7 has moved up before it! How clever!
Deletes illustration 7; and 6. And captions.
Ohh! Look at all the magical blank pages!
Oh! And a single character deletion removes both of them!
Okay… insert image 6… Wrap Off… Insert Caption… paste text… Choose Above… hit OK…
Yes!
Okay, image 7 done…
And 8…. All looks good. Update indexes… Save as a .docx… open calibre… Add files to selected book records… Convert to .mobi…
All done!

In May 2014, http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/Blogs/Off-the-Beat-Bruce-Byfield-s-Blog/The-mysteries-of-positioning-pictures-in-LibreOffice-OpenOffice recommended putting images in tables. I didn’t try that.

(I spent a day reproducing the bugs and preparing data files so that I can make good reports for the LO developers in the hope that they’ll be able to find and fix the problems, with that information. It’s on my list of things to do soon. It’ll take a full day, though: I think there were over twenty different but related bugs, in the end.)

And then the fun started as I tried to get a good file to upload to Amazon. I tried loading .odt, .docx, .rtf, HTML into Calibre and converting them to .mobi or .epub; I tried uploading the raw .docx, and the raw HTML. All approaches had problems. A few were invisible errors in my LibreOffice document (e.g. I had set Include These Paragraphs in line Numbering at some stage, for a few paragraphs at the beginning, and I hadn’t noticed. Removing numbering fixed that.)

But I could find no way to have both a table of contents and a table of illustrations. Calibre apparently will only generate one. So I merged them into a single table.

The worst problem was getting the images appearing correctly. In the end, the best I could do was have each image appear twice: because the alternatives were to have some images appear like small preview images first (sometimes embedded in the body text, sometimes with part of the caption jammed up against it, squashing the image). At least this way, the reader always get to see a full size image; the downside is they sometimes see a similar-sized image first, otherwise a small image first.

Calibre reasonably faithfully shows this: when you view the converted file, if you see the image twice, it will be there twice. But in every version I created where each image appeared just once, then some or all of the images appeared with problems: sometimes only small, embedded in the text, sometimes squashed (even distorted), sometimes covering some of the caption, sometimes with the caption stuck to the left, squeezing the image to a thumbnail size alongside it. It was horrible.

I think it was a week later, after beating my head against this problem, I realised it was another image-related LibreOffice bug: when saving to anything except it’s own format, for some reason it saves two copies of each image. And Calibre prefers to import .docx files, not LibreOffice .odt files. So the workaround was to ditch LO for the .docx and read the .docx into WPS and redo the images using its facilities. In contrast to LO, it worked flawlessly, and I converted its .docx using Calibre and uploaded a new .mobi file to Amazon.

So that’s a summary of the creation of Book 1 in the Arabian Nights series, The End of the Game. (It should be available at lots of ebook retailers, not just Amazon; e.g. Smashwords) Incidentally, both the name for the series, and the name for Book 1, came from Avi, after much discussion back and forth. Here’s the blurb:

In a future heavily dependent on augmented reality, you get yourself deep in trouble in an immersive VR game.

With a universal basic income following the peaceful ‘AI revolution’, and direct neural links to immersive digital worlds, most people now choose to live and socialize via virtual reality. You are John Lemure, one of the best and most highly respected fantasy adventure gamers, with many millions of followers sharing and observing your experiences in one challenging fantasy setting after another.

You’ve had numerous hair-breadth escapes, enjoyed many astonishing sexual experiences, and acquired enormous in-game wealth and a large harem in the misogynistic male-dominated virtual world of the Arabian Nights. 

In fact, you could say the game is just ending….


Major themes: erotica, sci-fi, fantasy, gender change, transformations, virtual reality, fantasy, forced feminization, harem, male to female, femdom, humiliation.
Length: 28,000 words of story (not samples, promos, or excerpts).


About this saga:

This is book one of an erotic, gender-changing fantasy saga of ten to twelve books. It contains eight illustrations created specifically for the story by the talented digital artist Avi. Told in the 2nd person – “You look around and see…” – this tale grew from an idea on one small branch of Milida’s Arabian Nights Gender Changing World collaborative fiction. As such, the first three and a half chapters of this 1st book were written by Mr George, Milida, Norman33, and Charcoal, and are included with their permission. Although I’ve adjusted those chapters to suit my purposes, please be aware you’ll first be reading 4,700 words by these other talented people (after a short sample of my own writing). If you want to read an early, un-illustrated draft of this story – or any of the hundreds of other possible paths our hero could have taken – check out the writing dot com site.

Which I think is probably a fair point at which to end this blog post. Now, to watch Wonder Woman – good night, all! Hugs.

 

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Planning, musing…

I’m juggling several projects one of which I think of as “my erotic epic” and so this post is simply me thinking aloud here about what I should do next. Some years back, I jumped in to Milida’s collaborative interactive fiction piece over at Writing.com, “Arabian Nights Gender Changing World,” which explores the various fates of John Lemure in an Arabian Nights virtual reality game. I had a small idea for a short story arc that pushed my buttons, and started writing chapters. Soon after I started, I had an idea for a plot that would make something more of it, and I noted down about ten short bullet points. And from there it grew.

Real life interrupted me, more than a year ago now, and I haven’t yet picked up my quill and continued the story. The last time I attempted to, I realised I had so many threads going that if I didn’t go back and re-read and summarise what had happened so far, I was going to introduce all sorts of continuity errors. So I started making a chapter-by-chapter summary to get it straight in my own head once again.

The story itself is probably way too long, and is meant just for pleasure – it’s not a deep intellectual piece, nor does it explore any notable moral ideas. It’s purely for fun. I think it will probably work, at that: being unashamedly just a “pleasure piece,” if you know what I mean (wink wink, nudge nudge). I don’t think there’s too much repetition, though poor old John (in my story arc) does keep getting into and out of variants of the same situation. A bit like the Perils of Pauline in that respect, I suppose: repetition with variation, except with changes accumulating and plots deepening, of course. So for an erotic piece, maybe the fact that it is long might even work in its favour?

“How long,” I imagine a few people asking?

Well, I think the plot is nearing completion. Writing.com limits each single interactive fiction contribution to about 10k characters (under 2k words), and I mostly pushed up against that for each piece.  I’ve written about 200 parts of the story so far, and should wrap up in another 40 or so. Collected together as a single MS, it is currently just under 300k words. Which if published as a printed book would be approaching a thousand pages long – currently.

So, here’s where I start musing. The version I’ve been putting up on writing.com is basically a first draft, and I was planning to finish it off, polish and improve it, maybe add a little more, and then publish it. But a thousand pages or more? That’d be a daunting read. And I probably wouldn’t finish writing it until around the end of 2016, so it would also be a long wait. As well, very few people know of me, or the story, so if I look at it from a purely commercial viewpoint, just publishing it as a single massive piece of erotica has lots of negatives:

  • It would take a lo-o-ong time for anyone to read the whole thing
  • I’d need to charge a high-ish price because of all the effort I’ve put into it
  • So even with Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, the sheer length would make it hard for people to decide to buy the whole thing
  • With fewer people having read it, it would garner few reviews
  • The all-or-nothing approach would pressure me to focus on that single story to the detriment of my other projects
  • I think the sheer length would discourage many readers from even starting it: there’d be little visible sign of progress as you read it.

If I break it into multiple volumes, however, all those problems go away. And it would give me more flexibility to publish some of my other shorter stories in between volumes – since I wouldn’t feel like I had to finish “my erotic epic” before working on anything else.

As for the fact that the first draft is available for free on writing.com – there are (or were) one or two hundred people following the story, some even offering feedback and encouragement, and I think it would be mean to just stop it and say “if you want to see how it ends, you’ll have to buy it.” I’d rather say “If you’d like to support my efforts, please buy the finished and polished version.”

Anyway, those are my thoughts at present. I need to get back to my summarising to refresh my memory about the complex predicament the MC had gotten himself into. While my initial ten bullet points grew into a far longer outline so the ending is pretty well worked out there’s enormous room for contradictions if I don’t get all the existing details straight in my head before restarting.

Well, that decision seems cut and dried, now that I’ve thought it through here.

The approach also lets me keep contributing to the erotic bimbo-transformation illustrated text adventure game Trap Quest (http://trapquest.com/), which I find both enjoyable and terribly distracting. As well as blog here, and keep any followers in the loop, along with my Twitter feed, @SelkieTG.

Sex in the West

I had an idea for a story just now – a full-length sci-fi story that may or may not contain elements of erotica – which set me once again pondering Western culture’s attitude to sex.  Because, truth be told, I’ve always been drawn towards tales of transformation; no doubt because of my own awareness of how poorly I fit into various categories.  So this novel will explore an issue which I believe we will face, probably some time within the next 50 years: the consequences of a deep and full understanding of how our minds work.

That thought led me again to pondering the often transgressive nature of science fiction, and the extreme importance of that genre for humanity’s sake.  SF, by exploring possible alternate worlds, lets us see the dangers and threats that face our societies and even our species, and provides us with well-thought out starting points for considering what might be.  If the future is a vast dark unknown, then science fiction (and fantasy) act like torches illuminating areas near the path we tread through that immense cavern of night.  A path that will hopefully one day lead us to the stars and finally allow us to place some of our species’ eggs in more than one fragile basket.  So SF is important: the story of Dr Frankenstein’s monster resonates so deeply with us because ill-considered technology, or technology developed without considering how it can be used to do more good than harm in the long term, is a real and genuine threat.  It’s crucial for us to devote the necessary time and money to think things through, and to talk to the people who will be affected by the changes.

Anyway, the idea for the novel is one of those important threats we’ll face from technological change and the advance of our understanding.  For those of a deeply religious bent, who fear technological change and believe we should stop learning and growing – that we should never have picked the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge – I would argue that God would never have given us our wonderful brains, our inquisitive nature, nor set up the world so that something as magnificent and robust as Evolution shepherds all life through Change, if that free will were not a big part of whatever mysterious plan he has for us.  In truth, I’d go further, and argue that given God’s avowed interest in free will, he must not have a Plan for us: it must be a Hope.  One in which our free will and our minds will play a major part.  And how would we judge parents who wanted their children not to grow and learn and develop; not to exercise the gifts they were born with and developed through hard work and passion?  Provided of course that their actions are driven, at heart, from love; or at least respect?

I think one of the West’s great tragedies is the idea that all sex (or most sex) is sinful.  How harmful has the enforced celibacy of priests been, how much misery and pain has that simplistic idea caused?  I’ve heard of the Japanese idea of “shikata ga nai”, which I understand means “it can’t be helped;”  it’s human nature, just accept it.  To me, that seems a much more honest attitude.  Like so many things, sex can be good or bad, beautiful or ugly; it all depends on the spirit that motivates the act.

And a big problem, and perhaps a growing problem, is that our cultures have not yet adapted to the rate of change that technology and knowledge bring to our societies.  In Australia, some people argued against the free offering of vaccination against cervical cancer, arguing that it would promote promiscuity.  (That “sex is sin” idea again: better to let some young girls die!)  Even in the West, we haven’t invented good mechanisms to protect society as a whole from the potentially-immortal entities we’ve created: we don’t require companies and other organisations to produce a 5-yearly Ethics report, with an honest assessment of the pluses and minuses their actions have wrought.  We stumble into global climate change and look about in dismay, wondering how we got here and resisting investment in engineering solutions, until the truth is towering over us like the wall of an onrushing bushfire.

We don’t have to walk off cliffs in the dark, you know.  We can collectively look ahead and choose safe routes if we’re just willing to be open and honest with ourselves.  We don’t have to try to stuff genies back into bottles: we can choose how we phrase our wishes, how much or how little we use those genies.  Because, let’s face it, not all individuals are good, and not all organisations are good; and if we don’t understand how this newly-discovered “fire” invention works, well, some day one of those not-good organisations will figure out how they can use it to serve their own mean purposes; and then we’ll be on the back foot and at a disadvantage.  We can’t pull the blankets over our heads, we have to face our fears.  It’s one of history’s major lessons for us as a species, over and over and over again.

So I think that all sorts of speculative fiction, whether it be sci-fi or  fantasy or whatever, is crucially important for us.  And it can be fun, and moving, and even sexually exciting if we wish.  Sex isn’t sin.  Technology has moved on: we have birth control, we understand how to have safe sex, women are equal to men, we’re all different….  Thousand-year-old moral or ethical guide-books that tell us to not suffer witches to live, or that tell us it’s okay to own slaves, or to kill homosexuals or infidels… those maps are out of date in some areas.  Update them!

Societies evolve.  Things change.  We adapt or we wither and possibly die.  Things that once worked may stop working; things that were once essential to the smooth operation of society can start working to its detriment.  Things that once meant one thing change beyond all recognition, too; so that even the people who set those mechanisms up might stare in dismay at what those practices have evolved into.  Just because it used to work, or used to be good, doesn’t mean it’s beyond examination.  We need to look at what we do, and why we do things, with clarity; and then honestly discuss and work out what we should be doing.  Collectively.

And there’s scope for variation.  Variation and difference is not just allowable, it’s essential.  If history teaches us one thing, evolution certainly teaches us another: the vulnerability and fragility of too much uniformity.

So I’ll end my little rant by welcoming the technological changes that the ebook is bringing.  Sure, they’re awful in some respects compared to “real” books.  But in some ways real books are awful compared to ebooks.  They’re similar but different things.  And ebooks grant privacy of purchase – you no longer have to face our collectively-stated (and individually-ignored) lie that sex is sin: you can browse and buy what you want in private.  And sure, you can’t show easily display the spines of your collection of ebooks on your shelves, to spark off conversations like “Oh, you like Janet Evanovich too, you might like…”; but you also don’t need to worry about people saying “Eh, what’s this? You’re into bondage?  You’re sick!”  Fifty Shades of Gray was a bestseller not just because it met a need, but because you could buy it without suffering public embarrassment..

So ebooks allow us to follow our true desires in private; and I think and hope that in time, the gap between the public lies we all solemnly pronounce and agree on, and the private truths we all practice, must surely narrow?

Game review: TrapQuest by Aika

This isn’t a proper post, and it’s not the game review itself, either; it’s just a quick note to point you at my review (with screen grabs) of TrapQuest, the text-based, X-rated, adventure game by Aika, over on FictionMania at: TrapQuest game review.  The game is one that contains several “gender-fluid” and other quite kinky fetishes.

Be warned: personally, I find TQ highly addictive. And my review, and the TQ site itself, contain images that are very NSFW.

Merry Christmas!

(PS: Aika is shooting for a Christmas Day release of a new version with a 3rd “dungeon area” to play in, which has been in development now for some time.  Cross your fingers! )

Why dismiss erotica?

My own erotic fantasises are unusual… I think.  But how would I ever know?  In Western society, we don’t discuss sexuality openly.  It’s still somehow considered sinful, shameful, private. I wonder sometimes, if we were to discuss the topic, whether our secret fantasies and desires might not range wider and far wilder than any of us suspect?

We might all be a little more interesting than the masks our society forces us to wear.  Wouldn’t it be odd, if everybody was doing that, just because we all think that’s what everybody else wants us to do?  How strange, if we were all sitting locked in little boxes that we ourselves had built and then stepped into of our own accord?  Boxes we did not dare step out of, because each of us thought “I am the only one who dreams of something more”.  No one else is like me.

How odd that would be.

If I google erotica, transformation, gender swap, mind control, hypnosis, … I find I’m very far from alone.  At least, when I can be anonymous.  The same goes for almost any fantasy or fetish you could imagine, I rather suspect. But in real life, it’s not so easy.

And it all seems to stem from the fact that our society has somehow wandered into this place it is now, because the control of morality and ethics was ceded to the church; through a series of struggles for power within the church, by people certain they knew what was best for everyone, over a period of many centuries.  In these days, where we’ve discovered that bottling up sexual desires has lead to truly awful abuses against children; where research shows that people who are brought up with strict religious beliefs are less kind than those who are not… well, for me, at least, it makes me question the validity of the assertion that sex is wrong, or bad, or shameful.

And makes me wonder whether erotic fiction might not be one part of a positive change?