Monday, April 16, 2012

So what's so good about my Chastity Planet?

I'm curious. Chastity Planet was supposed to be a personal project - it breaks all the rules for commercial erotica: it's SciFi, it has a complicated setting and so on.


Anonymous said...

Because it is complicated, the setting has real depth. The background enhances the story instead of detracting from it. Many , many times the underlying world detracts from the story, a lot. This one is good enough to enhance it, its an enormous difference.

Will said...

A world where all the men are forceably chaste isn't going to resemble our own. In this case its complicated difference actually seems to lend it some plausibility.

Giles English said...

Yes. The underlying fantasy may be a bit crazy, but I like everything else to be as realistic as possible.

An Insomniac Night Owl said...

Part of the reason is that Chastity Planet works as more than just erotic fiction - it feels a lot like the pulp sci-fi of the mid-twentieth century. If you've never read anything from that era, a lot of it reads like soft core porn. The fetishes are different, but it has kinship to works like John Carter (where the female lead was basically an exhibitionist who indulged her fetish a lot).

An Insomnaic Night Owl said...

Another reason is that you've built Chastity Planet into a far more benign and positive setting, with far more story opportunities, than your other worlds.

Whips and Stockingtops, for example, is something of a one trick pony - and its a fairly depressing one at that. The women are all lesbians, and totally blind to their men (and male sexuality). There's really no good ending for a man in that world: no matter how much he loves a woman, she will never love him back, he will never have sex again, even if he met a straight female, it can't go anywhere, and there's no way out. Basically, any story set there has to end in a man's unrequited love for a woman he can never have - in a world where he's probably better off being castrated . . . or dead. Kind of grim, if you think about it.

But the initial Chastity Planet stories take a very different approach - romances and slice-of-life stories involving men in (theoretically) temporary chastity. Everyone's there voluntarily, and at the end of their tour(s) they can consumate their relationship - or go home with very . . . interesting reputations. And many of the women are quite interested in the men sexually . . .

And that positive/hopeful/romantic tone makes the setting far more approachable. Its easier to see why the characters would go to Vesta, or even for the audience to imagine visiting it themselves.

Also, the nature of the setting allows for explorations on the female/keyholder side of things. The mandatory chastity cups give the women of Vesta license to sexually indulge, but also forces them into the role of teases and quasi-keyholders. Straight, lesbian, bi . . . virgins, "good girls", bad girls . . . they're all there, and all are going to have their own unique reactions to the situation.

Thus its much easier for a male reader to find a female character who catches his interest, or for a female reader to live vicariously live through her literary doppleganger. Either way,it promises to be fun seeing what transpires - what happens when the "good girl" gets out of the pool for the first time, much to the joy/dismay of the guys around her. Does she feel bad for them, or does she realize she likes being the untouchable object of their fantasies. Same for the other possible girls - does the bad girl take advantage and build a harem, or does she settles down? How long until the virgin starts running wild?

But that all ties back in to the main point. Chastity Planet is just a more approachable setting, composed of thousands of different stories, most with far more attractive outcomes than the other settings. Actually . . . a collection of short stories might work better than one novel - better to show off all the possibilities.

Giles English said...

Thanks! I suppose I like the bleakness of Whips and Stockingtops. Plus lesbian flappers...

But you're right - CP is far more flexible.

An Insomniac Night Owl said...

There's nothing wrong with a bleak setting. And there are some great tragic romances you could draw from (see the real-world story of Heloise and Abelard). But it does kind of give a W&S story the feel of a slow motion trainwreck.

And as a one-shot deal, or personal project, there's nothing wrong with it. Unrequited love can make for a very powerful, very moving story. But the setup does limit the erotic appeal - after day 7 or so (in the story), I think you'd lose the erotic edge for most readers. A short term tease is fun, but most guys would probably balk at the specter of permanent denial - particularly among women totally blind to the humanity (and sexual needs) of their male slaves. And what appeal does a world of neutered male slaves, ruled by lesbian women, have for straight female readers?

Again, I think you can get a very powerful, deeply romantic story out of W&S. I'm just not sure you could hold an erotic edge to the story for very long.

An Insomniac Night Owl said...

As for Aqua Sulis . . . I don't have a good feel for it yet - the posts (apparently) about it don't appear to have congealed into a single coherent setting yet. However, I'm not wild about the welded-on chastity cages - that seems a little too close to Whips & Stockingtops. And again, its permanent denial, with no hope of release (although with hetero- women).

Some of the side posts, though, show promise. I like the short story about the man and the "movie shoot"/rift to Rome. And the idea of Trans-Temporal Tours, allowing people to sample alternate (erotic) realities is interesting . . . you might consider pairing it with your other settings to broaden their appeal.

But of all your settings, Chastity Planet is still your strongest, with the broadest appeal, and the most potential to revisit the setting again and again in the future.

Giles English said...

I think the Roman time travel stories supersede Aqua Sulis - which achieve the same aesthetic with less complexity.

The W&ST draws me because it's about dehumanised erotic slavery. However, the very attractions of the fantasy - hero is powerless and holds no leverageofer anybody - make it hard to tell a real story! I'm left with Sapphic erotica with slave as fly on the wall. Not sure if I'll ever get those working.

So, yes, CP is probably the most flexible and interesting setting.

An Insomniac Night Owl said...

If you really want to do something big with Whips & Stocking Tops, I think the key lies in developing the setting in two ways:

First, put some thought into what's in W&ST for a straight female reader. And probably the easiest way is to run a thought-experiment: a straight woman from our world ends up on W&ST somehow. Its an alien screw-up, or a sociological experiment, or . . . whatever the reason, she's there.

So what happens next? Presumably, she's not intrested in all the lesbian fun-and-games, and probably has issues with slavery. So . . . what? Is she conditioned and sold off as a slave? Does she use her superior technical knowledge to build a commercial empire on W&ST, and her own harem of male slaves? Do the locals try (and fail) to "convert" her, and she plays along - until she meets him?

Even if you never write that particular story, just considering what would happen should help flesh out the setting, and make it more female (reader) friendly.

Second, the male slavery aspect needs to get fleshed out. What keeps a new male slave motivated, and horny, after the initial erotic thrill is gone? Sooner or later, he's going to get bored with the lesbian orgies, and the reality of his permanent denial is going to set in at some point. So what keeps him hopeful, horny, and moving forwards?

Are there "deviant" (hetero) women in W&ST, who enjoy the "company" of their male slaves? What about an abolitionist movement? An Underground Railroad? Even rumors of such could give him hope, and let the story move beyond the first few weeks.

Note, that doesn't have to mean a change in the women's attitudes towards the men. If you look at our world at the same time, homosexuality was considered a mental illness, segregation was the law, and even many abolitionists were highly racist. All of which could translate well to W&ST - just because there's a "Women for the Ethical Treatment of Males" doesn't mean the members consider the males "human".

And if its an issue, you could add some "negative" elements to counterbalance them, and give the protagonist something to fear. Castration, for example - maybe male sex organs are considered a delicacy. Or women who staunchly believe that gelded slaves make better servants. The protagonist might have to work hard to avoid being sold to a gourmet chef - or get caught up in the middle of a riot, as an abolitionist protest runs into a mandatory male gelding protest.

And obviously, if there's some way "out" of the setting, that's going to keep him motivated. But he needs something to run towards, and maybe away from, to keep the story interesting, and (hopefully) erotic - even if he ultimately fails

Giles English said...

W&ST is very much designed for the straight male reader. Aside from my flapper fetish and slave as voyeur, I wanted to explore service-orientated slavery. Not everybody's bag and hard to get working.