EDIT: Given how this election has gone (and the potentially devastating effects it will have on the marginalized in our communities including lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, as well as victims of sexual assault, gender non-conforming folks, all of whom need and deserve sexual agency and equal space as human beings to claim our right to erotic expression) I’m extending the sale on Apocalypse Sex, Like an Iron Fist, and The Velderet until the end of the week. -ctan
Okay folks, as the campaign season has its finale, some of us could use a little escape into a fictional dystopia for a change. To help you out I’ve not only put a full chapter of THE VELDERET below for you to enjoy reading, we’ve put several of our books with a more political bent on sale just until the election is over! You’ll find these sale prices popping up on other ebook sales sites, too, but only here on Circlet.com can you get the added bonus of getting all three for only $2.016 (see what I did there?) — Just use coupon code ERECTIONDAY (note spelling) upon checkout and discount will be applied on these lovely titles:
LIKE AN IRON FIST edited by Katherine Bergeron and Cecilia Tan
We figure if any tinpot dictator is going to grab women by the pussy, this book’s title suddenly becomes even more apt.
APOCALYPSE SEX edited by Jennifer Levine
Here’s hoping it only FEELS like the end of the world right now…right?
by Cecilia Tan
Want to know why there are two different versions of the Velderet book cover? Because this book’s cover, which deals with questions of censorship and policing sexual behavior in a utopia (or is it a dystopia…haha) and was ON THE SHELF in major chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble ever since the year 2001, was suddenly deemed OBSCENE by Amazon. Yes, that black and white figure you see who is probably about 20 pixels tall on your screen is POSSIBLY A NAKED WOMAN. We literally had to erase her from the cover. A perfect metaphor for what’s going on in the book.
With their own demise staring them in the face, the characters in Apocalypse Sex all come to the same conclusion: it's time to have the best sex of their lives. Inhibitions are cast aside and fantasies are fulfilled as the doomed chase down their deepest desires. With stories by J. Daniel Sawyer, Elizabeth Coldwell, Elizabeth Schechter, Beverly Langland, and David Hubbard.
Seven authors investigate sex in the shadow of totalitarianism in Circlet's latest anthology. In the tradition of 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, and Brave New World, all of which dealt with sexuality in some form, these stories explore the seething sexuality under the thumb of oppression. Includes Eric Del Carlo, Nobilis Reed, Angelia Sparrow, Peter Tupper, Monique Poirier, & more.
Kobi tried not to hurry. He was vain, he knew it, and he knew how silly he looked when he tried to walk too fast, but the scrap of paper in his pocket felt like a white hot star; surely everyone could see it. In reality, it was Kobi’s curiosity that was burning. He gave up trying to look graceful and broke into a jog.
The street was nearly deserted at this hour, anyway. The red moon had set and the white moon was rising behind him. He had spent a long time at the Velderet after his cybersex session, thinking and drinking. Most of the windows were dark in the clean, white domiciles he passed; even the buildings seemed like they were asleep. For Kobi, it only reinforced the feeling that he was no longer a part of the Bellonian mainstream. By his own admission he was different, a kind of sexual outlaw. He had desires and dreams and fantasies that were inadmissible to others; he was now an outsider. He decided he liked this feeling.
Besides, he wasn’t alone. He wondered if Merin would be asleep when he came home, or if she would be waiting up with eager questions about his cybersex experiment. He almost jogged past their building. The door recognized him and opened onto the dimmed hallway. Lights flickered up to show him the way to his door, but he ran ahead of them and burst in.
“Merin?” He saw her jacket hanging by the door, and her shoes, but there was no answer.
She was asleep in front of the media wall, a stylus still in her hand. Kobi looked at the figure rotating slowly on the screen. It was of indeterminate gender and was wearing some kind of well-fitted clothing, something tailored to sit close to the body, angular and severe. “What’s this?”
Merin lifted her head and blinked at him. “Something I was working on. Does it remind you of something?”
He pursed his lips. “Yes, but I can’t decide what. It sure doesn’t look like anything you can get off the rack at the Garment Center.” He shook the lapels of the loose, robelike jacket he was wearing, and then froze. His hand slipped in to the pocket and he brought out the scrap Mica had given him.
Merin looked disappointed. “It doesn’t remind you of anything?”
Kobi sat down next to her on the couch and handed her the piece of paper. “Maybe I’m too tired…”
Her fingers flew over the control pad. On the screen a second figure appeared, kneeling in front of the first one.
“Oh,” Kobi said. “Of course.” Now that he looked at it again, the outfit was very suggestive of some kind of archaic military uniform, without being too obvious. These days, ever since the Age of Equality was declared, there was no military hierarchy, and no law enforcement other than the consensus crews and the Evaluators. Uniforms were something they only saw in history class. “Very subtle.”
“Not too subtle, I hope,” she said. But her fingers were already entering the code from the paper. There was a pause while their home system accessed whatever data it was. Merin’s mannequin figures disappeared as a new clip began, with bold letters fading into view on the media wall.
THE GREAT CRIME
The Story of the Gerrish
“It’s an educational drama,” Kobi whispered. “I remember seeing this when I was a kid.”
Merin shushed him. She had seen it, too. They were starting in the middle, though, skipping over the dry, historical parts about how the Gerrish were enslaved and what important figures in the government had done which thing. It began right from the segment depicting how terrible life was for a Gerrish slave.
All the Gerrish in the clip were sleeping in a ramshackle hut with no windows when an overseer of some kind came to wake them for the work day. He wore a uniform that looked a little like what Merin had sketched and Kobi pointed in excitement. The slaves who were slow to move from their sleeping pallets were slapped or prodded with a long, thin rod the overseer carried. The camera followed them as they scattered to different tasks.
Merin whispered. “There’s something weird about this.”
Kobi kept his eyes on the screen, where a Gerrish woman who had made an error in her weaving was being beaten. Of course, what the screen showed was the rod being lifted high, then the empty air, while a sound effect of it swishing through the air and a woman screaming in pain came from off-camera. This was, after all, meant to be watched by young people in school. “What?”
“I’ll tell you after it’s done.”
The scene had already jumped to another example of how mistreated the Gerrish were. It was a catalog of the horrors visited upon them, with a lot of beatings and confinements for misbehavior. The clip ended before the chapter about how the gene plague that killed off the remaining Gerrish might have been prevented.
Kobi was ashiver, thinking about that rod whistling through the air.
Merin touched him on the shoulder. “The weird thing about this is, we’ve seen this before.”
He nodded. “But?”
“But when you’re a kid you don’t realize things like, for example, all this film footage wasn’t actual real footage. The camera hadn’t been invented yet during the Gerrish enslavement. It was a dramatization made with modern actors.” She tapped the control pad. “These people played out these roles, just like we do, only they did it as part of their job.”
“I never thought of that before.”
“Do you think any of them were really eager to play the parts?”
“Are you saying you want to become a dramat?”
Merin sighed. “No. But it makes me wonder if maybe there aren’t plenty of Bellonians who are… like us, but who just find other ways, allowable ways, to get what they want.” She twisted one of her curls around a finger. “Think about this. It was supposed to be a documentary aimed at convincing kids that what we did to the Gerrish was the most awful, horrible thing, right? Is that why they harp on the beatings and bondage so much? Or was somebody in charge of this production really having a good time with it?”
Kobi rubbed his eyes. “This is too deep for me. And now I’m all horny again, after I used up my sexual satisfaction quota at the Velderet, already, too.”
Merin poked him in the ribs. “You really would happily have sex all day every day, wouldn’t you.”
“Of course! That’s why I’m perfect for the job of Kylaran love slave.” Kobi was already slipping out of his clothes.
“Of course you are.” Merin pushed a button on the control pad and the time appeared on the screen. “You know, I have to be at the legislature in four hours.”
Kobi thought about the ways he could handle this. He could get on his knees and beg like the slave he wanted to be. But then she could always pretend to order him to wait until the morning or something. He could try telling her how unsatisfying the trip to the Velderet had actually been. But Merin wasn’t the kind who would fuck just because she felt sorry for him. She’s probably horny, too, he thought. After seeing that drama, she probably wants to do it, it’s just she’s thinking about her responsibilities.
Merin started to get up.
“Stay where you are.”
She turned away from him, toward her bedroom. “I have to get up in the morning.”
“No, you don’t,” he said, trying to put a bark into his voice like the overseer in the drama. “Your only responsibility is to serve me.” He held her fast by the arm and pulled her back toward him.
She struggled just a little, like the woman trying to escape her punishment had done.
“You are a slave,” he said as he forced her to her knees. “What you want is of no concern to me. I am the overseer and my word is law.”
“Yes, sir,” she said in a throaty whisper as he laid her down onto the floor and spread her legs with his own.
He watched in a moment’s fascination as some milky fluid began to drip from her cunt. He lowered his pelvis until the hot tip of his penis felt the wetness. He rocked it back and forth until he was sliding up against her, coating his cock with her juices and making her moan and writhe. She thrust her hips at him and he slid deep into her. Her own fingers went to her clit as he pumped in and out of her, and when she began to come, he held himself back, pulling out of her so he could wait. But she wrapped her legs around him and pulled him back in, slamming up against him and making him come, too.
He looked at the screen, which was still blinking the time. “See, that didn’t take very long at all.”
* * * *
Merin went to work rather sleepy, but she hurried through some of the paperwork so she could do some more digging in the legislative database. Part of the whole basis of the Age of Equality was the fact that there were no penalties for breaking the Anti-inequality laws. Someone exhibiting dominant behavior was supposed to be counseled first, reconditioned second, and hospitalized as a last resort only. The last case of hospitalization Merin could find in the public record was before she had even been born: a government official.
The incident had been the final straw for the legislature, which had been in civic rotation ever since. Citizens chosen at random served two or three years at a time in the Legislative Conclave to prevent anyone from becoming too accustomed to the position. Final legislative changes were always passed by public vote, anyway. Out of the entire population, there were four or five cases per year sent for reconditioning, always people who had exhibited dominant tendencies. After two hours of searching, she could find no cases where someone exhibiting submissive or subservient tendencies had been counseled or retrained. “We All Serve Each Other,” she murmured to herself, quoting an Age of Equality motto.
That night Kobi filled her in on how his session at the Velderet had gone, how he’d filled out the profile questionnaire hoping to match up with someone who shared his proclivity. “I was afraid to say anything too obvious,” he said, “because I was afraid the guy would freak out. So I just lay there, hoping he’d be kind of demanding. And he kept saying things like—‘Oh, oh, are you okay? Oh, I’m sorry.’ ”
Merin laughed. “Well, no one said finding others through cybersex would work on the first try.” They were sitting on the couch again, and Merin had put up a landscape on the media wall for atmosphere, a gray-and-blue mountain range with white clouds slowly forming at the top. She wished they had one of the full wall-size screens—the standard issue system they had didn’t extend to the corners and ruined the effect that they were actually looking out over the hills. “Maybe it’s just luck.”
Kobi tucked his feet under him on the couch. “What are you going to do? It’s your turn next.”
Merin tapped her fingers against her chin. “I guess I’ll try the same way you did, and maybe I’ll have better luck,” she said. “Maybe tweak the settings slightly differently. Ultimately it’s not the computer profile that will do it, it is finding the right person on the other side.”
“So when are you going to try it? Will you choose a night that I’m working?”
She smiled at him. “I was thinking at the end of this legislative session. It’ll be four more days on, then I get three days off.”
Kobi could hardly contain his anticipation. “And what are you going to do until then?”
Merin squeezed his hand. “I’ll have to be satisfied with you until then.”
* * * *
On the designated night, Merin closed up the files in her office, said good-bye to Nazir and the other legislators in her working group, and went home an hour early so she could have a long bath. Since she’d been sleeping with Kobi, she hadn’t been to the Velderet seeking sex, and this felt like a special occasion. She scented her skin even though her partner, whoever he or she may be, wouldn’t be able to smell it through the cybersex connection. She brushed out her curly damp locks and they framed her face. Her hair wasn’t long enough to be able to pile up like the slave in the Kylaran propaganda clip, so she hoped that the outfit she had designed based on the clip would be enough of a hint to whoever she would connect with. It hadn’t worked for Kobi, but then again, the slave in the clip had been a woman, and the first one in the educational drama had been a woman, too. As she walked from the domicile to the sex house, she wondered if that would make any difference. They said that before the Age of Equality men used to dominate women more often than the other way around, and she thought about the female caitan in the clip being penetrated from behind. Was that all because of anatomical differences? The thought amazed her. They had really been like animals back then. The evening was warm and the white moon rose like a big eye in the sky, watching to see what would happen.
When she arrived at the Velderet, she went first to the lounge where Kobi was tending the bar. She stood at the top of the large oval of a room and saw Kobi down at the circular bar in its center. Around the top wall were dim alcoves, and the sloping sides of the room were dotted with soft cushions and sitting pits, the perfect place to lounge after fulfillment of quota or while hoping to meet someone. She went down the stairs to the bar and slid into a seat at Kobi’s elbow. He poured her some of the sweet wine he knew she liked.
“Ready?” He put the glass on a throwaway.
“I suppose,” she said and took a sip. “Ah.”
“It’s too bad you didn’t come in a little bit earlier. I could have introduced you to Mica.”
When she looked blank, he made a motion toward the paper under her glass. She gave a little nod—the fellow who had been giving them the access codes for the clips and dramas.
“He just left,” Kobi said. “Already done for the night, I think.”
Merin pondered that. “I wonder how he does it?” Meets someone, she meant.
Kobi understood, but shrugged. “He doesn’t seem to. He seems pretty dissatisfied with what he gets. And he doesn’t usually cybersex.”
Merin swirled the wine in her mouth. “Maybe if we get this to work, you can tell him about it, and we can return him the favor of the dramas.”
Kobi nodded. “Good plan. Except that it hasn’t worked yet.”
Merin stood up. “Well, maybe it will.”
* * * *
Merin checked in to the cyber suite and adjusted the temperature. She preferred it warm for sex. With cybersex one could feel any temperature desired, but she liked the real feeling of damp sweat on naked skin. There wasn’t anything else to do but put her clothes into the bin provided and sit down at the console. Just as Kobi had done, she entered her preferences into the system’s questionnaire, trying to second-guess what someone who would be willing to play along with an inequality game would want so that the computer could unwittingly match them up. She wavered on whether to prefer a tall or short partner. Anatomical differences? Someone tall might seem appropriate, she thought, as the slave types in the dramas had always been cowering low, but growing up in Bellonian society, someone who was too tall might have been socialized to be timid to compensate for it. No Inequality in the Age of Equality. In the end she left that entry “no preference” and moved on to various sexual activities. Like Kobi she decided that being penetrated was more slavelike than being the penetrator, and she set preferences for male partners and concentrated on various other aspects. In the hierarchy of menus she also found a sub-category that Kobi hadn’t, about prior and post-coital activities. She entered that she liked to give sensual massage but not receive it. That seemed like a possible proper slave activity, to get the knots out of one’s master’s back. As a final step, she fed the sketch of the Kylaran slave woman into the scanner and the computer clothed her cyber figure in it.
She put on the leads and sat on the bed to wait for a connection. Now she could feel the black stretch fabric pulling tight around her breasts but leaving them open to the air or the touch of eager hands.
A naked man materialized next to her, no computer pretense of the door opening, which she thought odd. Cybersex was supposed to simulate the real thing as much as possible, but maybe he was in his suite in this position already. It didn’t really matter. She looked up at him.
He was thin, with dark hair that was neither very long nor very short, and had a scraggly sort of beard that would not grow in fully. “Hello,” he said as he looked at her, his eyes following the curve of the tight outfit she wore with intense interest.
She inclined her head in greeting.
He hooked a finger under the edge of the garment and met her eyes. Merin felt a thrill run through her—he likes it, she thought. His finger continued along the edge of the fabric until he slid it across the smoothness of her skin, that one finger tracing a path across her exposed breasts, over one nipple and then the other. She held still, but a tiny sound of pleasure came out of her throat.
“The costume suits you,” he breathed, his mouth close by her ear. He was pressing her back into the bed, inch by inch, until she lay under him.
But does he know what it is? she wondered. “I designed it from something I saw…”
He nodded. “I’ve seen it, too.” And he put a finger to her lips as if they mustn’t say any more about it. He reared up on his knees instead and traced the edges of her nipples with both hands. Around and around his fingers circled as Merin began to moan, then thrust her chest upward as he kept at it with the lightest of touches, never making firm contact on the nipples. Merin twisted under him a little as her skin craved a more direct touch, but he could easily pull his fingers back. He played with her that way for a long time, until she began to really thrash.
He held her by the chin to still her and make her look at him, then he shook his head. “Lie still,” he whispered, “or I’ll stop altogether.”
Merin blinked. Had he just given her an order? Having never been ordered to do anything in her life, Merin wanted to be sure. Well, it wasn’t an order, exactly, it was a choice, and she could choose to go along with it. Still, it fit with the game they were playing, didn’t it? And yet it didn’t feel like what they always said oppression would feel like… she lay as still as she could and the dark, thin, man lowered his tongue to her nipples. She moaned, awash in the delayed pleasure. I did what he said and now he’s rewarding me, she thought. “Ooooh.”
“I like you,” he said, as he turned her until she was on all fours and his hands stroked her back and her buttocks. She had redesigned the bottom half of the costume so that her bottom was bare but some material still gripped her legs as a short skirt.
One hand slid over the bare curve of her ass and down to where the outer lips of her cunt were pressed between her legs. His fingers brushed lightly at the hot, loose flesh there.
Ah, Merin thought, he’s going to tease me again.
He stroked her a few more times, then instructed the computer to remove the clothing from the scenario. The instant Merin was naked, he pushed her legs apart and forced her down flat on the bed, his one hand searching her cunt roughly now, pushing aside folds of labia and seeking the correct angle and position to plunge two fingers inside of her.
She gasped, the shock of the rough treatment making her go rigid. His fingers sank deep and began pumping. In her mind’s eye she conjured the image of one of the Gerrish slave girls from the edu-drama. She thought of the fantasy Kobi had shared with her, about the master who had a strange sexual affliction that required him to have continuous sex. He’s going to fuck me next whether I’m ready or not, she told herself. Of course, she was ready, more than ready. If she hadn’t been, she could always disconnect from the program, anyway.
He pulled his fingers out of her and slicked his penis with the wetness. “Good to know you’re ready to take what I’m going to give,” he said.
Merin didn’t want it to end. She wanted to stay in the fantasy as long as possible. “I am eager to please you in any fashion that you wish,” she said, hoping that he would draw this out a bit more and not go for the quick finish.
“Very good,” he whispered. “But there is only one thing I require of you, now.” He pressed his wet penis between her buttocks and slid it there for a few moments before letting it slip downward toward her waiting hole. Ever since his fingers had left it, she felt empty, and wanted to be filled.
He spoke another few words to the computer and the room reoriented so that the bed platform was a bit higher off the floor. He pulled her by her thighs to the edge and stepped off. Holding her thighs, he hoisted her hips up until she was in an easily accessible position. He slipped into her.
“Ah,” she whispered, as he began stroking in and out of her. With each thrust in, his flesh met hers with a slapping sound. He began to speed up, pulling her toward him faster while his hips worked, then slowing down again, leaving her thrusting herself backwards, trying to get him to go deeper.
“What would happen,” he said in a soft voice, “if I stopped now? What would you do?”
Merin thought for a moment. “I’m not sure.”
“Because…” She was distracted for a moment while the stroking got faster again, but then regained her train of thought. “Because I’m not really sure what would be appropriate for this… “
“Role?” he offered.
“Yes—” She grunted as he began fucking her harder than before. “I mean, what, uh…” Her thought was lost again as his fingers slid around her waist and sought out her clit. After the long fucking, she began to come almost instantly, her back rippling with each wave of pleasure, throwing her head back and gasping as the orgasm passed through her.
After it subsided, he continued to saw at her clit, making her twitch and thrash. Her hands pushed weakly at his, but he refused to let up the pressure.
“Don’t you like it when I touch you there?” he whispered.
“Not, not after…”
“Have you ever tried it?”
“It hurts…” she said, but even as she did, she was thinking about it. It wasn’t pain, exactly, just uncomfortable. She’d always told her lovers to stop and they, of course, always had. But this was a new set of rules.
His fingers were massaging her clit and her whole cunt while his cock still slid in and out of her.
“I’ll stop,” he said “after you come again.”
She nodded. “I’ll try.”
She could already feel the second orgasm building, under the strange discomfort of having her clit touched when it was so sensitive. Eventually the pleasure grew greater than any other sensation and exploded through her again.
His fingers withdrew. And still he was fucking her. “Do you think you’ve had enough?”
Merin thought about Kobi’s partner, the guy who’d kept asking, “Are you okay?” who hadn’t caught on to the little game at all. But somehow when this man asked her if she’d had enough, it didn’t sound out of place. It’s a cue, she thought, another chance for me to play my role, whatever that is. “I’ll only be finished when you’ve had your pleasure,” she said.
He laughed. “You’re good.”
“So are you.”
He was still chuckling a bit as he sped up again, then forced himself deep inside with four strong thrusts and grunted. “Ah,” he said with satisfaction.
He slipped out and helped her to turn over, then lay down on the bed next to her. “You… seem like you’ve done this before.”
Merin smirked a little. “I was going to say the same thing about you.”
“Well—” he shrugged “—here or there. I wasn’t sure what to say when I saw you wearing the… whatever that was. From the…” He skirted around mentioning the propaganda clip about the Kylaran love slave. “You know.”
Merin pressed on. “But do you know others who… play roles like this?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know how to contact them. I mean, it’s always by chance.”
“What if we could increase the chances?”
Curiosity and caution flickered across his face as he looked at her. “How?”
“Say we always connect to cybersex on the same day of the week, same hours. Anyone else we meet who might… you know… we encourage them to do the same.”
He lay perfectly still. “I suppose it could help. And what night should we choose?”
She thought about her walk over to the Velderet, about the white moon rising. “What about every time the two moons are in juxtaposition?”
“Hmm, that’d be about every twenty-two days? It just might work.”
Merin rolled over and rested her head on his chest. “Besides,” she said “that way there’s some chance that you and I will be paired up again.”
“I’d like that very much,” he said, as he stroked her hair.