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Queer sexuality has long defied the conventional standard of sexual expression; intersecting with the tech-driven backdrop of cyberpunk, it has now rewritten the rules completely. Queerpunk, with its collection of stories that revel in a near-futuristic vision of our own time, investigates the evolution of Queer sexuality under the smog-covered umbrella of urban and technological advancement. When the human body becomes a customizable canvas, either through mechanical implants or three-dimensional internet avatars, sexuality is given even more outlets from which to evolve. As the old social order succumbs to cyberspace’s commanding hand, Queer identity finds new nooks and crannies in which to root.
The stories that follow–”Rescue Wounds,” “Blindwire,” “Upload,” “The Real Thing,” and “Virgin”–craft worlds in which human connection punctures cyberpunk’s isolationist veil. In an otherwise impersonal and anonymous world, the bonds the characters forge through sexual expression shine a small bit of light onto the smoke, and a shred of warmth that pokes through the streams and pockets of internet data. Featuring authors Kal Cobalt, Eric Del Carlo, Sunny Moraine, R.E. Bond, and Kannan Feng, Queerpunk confronts this intersection and the question of what it means to be Queer in a world where the matter of identity has been revolutionized completely.
Queerpunk has been reviewed at Three Dollar Bill reviews who call it “a tight and stylish collection of cyberpunk that presences LGBT pairings in what’s historically been a very het-dominated genre.”
- Table of Contents:
- Rescue Wounds by Kal Cobalt
- Blindwire by Eric Del Carlo
- Upload by Sunny Moraine
- The Real Thing by R.E. Bond
- Virgin by Kannan Feng
Read a hot excerpt:
From “Rescue Wounds”
by Kal Cobalt
I logged in to my whore, “mine” because I’d settled on him; like all the rest, 19178 perked up his neurons for any number of the Better Class. He was a more experienced whore, nearly three years vined–I’d been looking for one a lot fresher, but he had other points in his favor. He was a local boy, kept in the undergrove across the city. His synapses, vined as they were, stayed snappy. Somehow, after three years of rooting, his brain didn’t have that sluggish, autopilot feeling most whores develop and some Better Class secretly enjoy observing.
I’d been slowly altering the composition of our fucks, keeping my responses as bland as possible so I could keep up this time without drawing scrutiny. As usual, the whore lenses overlaid both my eyes, but my right housed a bore lens underneath, slowly drilling its way through the ethercon to trace and analyze the signal. Rush of numbers and schematics in my right eye; sleepy, smiling whore in my left.
“Oh, hi.” He ticked my cock immediately, remembering that I didn’t like a lot of foreplay. Too distracting from the bore lens display. I ticked back absently, trying to figure out how many relays the ethercon shunted through between us. “Later than usual,” he noted, ticking again. Too doped out to remember what his first tick had reported.
“Insomnia.” If he could ever hold enough in his consciousness to register the tickback, everything would report perfectly average. Good thing boring through ethercons made me hard and whore lenses were too dumbtech to know the difference.
“I’m sorry.” 19178 smiled. “I’m sure I can help.”
“I’m sure you can.” Four relays. That wasn’t outside the realm of deconstruction.
19178 ticked my cock, again, and delivered a contented little hum at what he found. He started in on the usual behaviors we’d established – all things he took the lead on, so I could respond as necessary and concentrate on the bore. He tongued my ethercock, giving me a truly boring lickjob while I broke relay codes.
The undergrove sprawled beneath six commerce towers; it was going to take a combination of geo-location and cracking the distribution codes to pinpoint his bodyshack. Numbers raced past my right eye faster than I could consciously process. My subprocessors ground through the data in the background, making my skull ache. 19178 kept licking, slipping me an image of his wet lips wrapped tight around my shaft. I blinked the bore into high gear; it was a question now of which would finish first, my subprocessing or my cock. Both ached, pushed to their limit.
I hate it when I come before I’m done cracking.
19178 smiled muzzily at me. “I’m glad you logged in to me.”
“Yep.” I had most of what I needed, at least. Now, I needed time: time to plot locations, to finish the deconstruction of the relays, to prepare the solution. I popped my lenses out–all three of them–and jacked into my stereo. This definitely required music.
* * * *
Everything I knew about undergroves came from urban folklore and advertising, so I expected a high margin of error. Nonetheless, the concepts I based my plan upon were thus:
Undergroves were separated into quadrants, and in those quadrants there were a certain number of bodyshacks. Bodyshacks were utility homes for the vined: self-contained micro-domiciles, one-third workpod and two-thirds recreation area, a fraction that spoke of minor luxury considering that the time ratio was 50% work and 50% leisure. Bodyshacks were a necessity of vining; the wiring was for all intents permanent, which simply didn’t allow for a wide area of travel. It wasn’t a bad trade, or so the advertising went; the otherwise unemployable were vined to serve the virtual needs and wants of the Better Class, and in exchange, all the food, shelter, and data they could ever want were provided. Just no freedom of physical motion, aside from the exercise mandated to keep their bodies in shape when twelve of every 24 hours was spent motionless in the workpod.
It’s not an especially controversial setup. There were bigger problems. I was motivated by the inability to do anything about those bigger problems, and by the niggling suspicion that things were a lot worse in the undergroves than anyone knew. Classic avoidance: I was too frightened of what else was happening, so I picked a winnable battle. Of sorts.
My plan was ambitious: locate 19178 (easy), break into his undergrove and his bodyshack (difficult), inject him with the solution I had devised to dissolve vine (easy), and then inject an undergrove-killing amount of the solution into the workpod (easy). Then I would depart, which was the suicidally impossible part of the plan, unless I got a little help from 19178 or other newly-disconnected grapes. I could be fucked in a hundred different ways. There was a small margin of trouble that would make my plan work without making things much worse.
It was much, much worse by several magnitudes.
* * * *
Breaking into the undergrove was easy. No one cares about the grapes, only the product. I slipped into what looked like some kind of climate-control system I assumed to be above the actual bodyshack level. The floor rose and fell in regular half-cylindrical ripples studded with exhaust tubes. I had a basic grasp of mechanics but couldn’t work out what might be going on under there, so I attempted to hug the wall and skirt the whole thing.
I was two-thirds of the way along when I caught sight of a loose panel in one of the half-cylinders. I couldn’t help peeking into it, hoping for some clue, and instead of a clue I got the whole unwanted answer.
There was a man in there, vined up. It didn’t take a genius to figure this one out: grapes can’t walk more than a few feet, or so the story goes. If one half-cylinder was filled with a grape, they were all filled with grapes. And nobody was walking anywhere. The pretty political picture was just that.
The dislodged panel contained a burstcode. A short grind of subprocessing translated it–20143–and two realizations hit at once: 19178 was probably in this very room, and if this was the storage norm, this undergrove officially housing a thousand grapes probably actually housed everyone from 00001 to 20143 and then some–meaning my devining solution could be dramatically more useful.
A burst of geometrics and a lot of careful footwork led me to 19178. I pried open one panel after another–including one with an inexplicable inward mirror–till the entire half-cylinder lay open, as did how undergroves worked. The body was encased in electronic stimulation wraps, keeping muscle tone up during long stretches of inactivity. Like years. There was a catheter and an IV.
There weren’t any bodyshacks. There were just slaves, vined up tight. I had nothing to combat this. Then the sirens began.
The smart move would be to get the fuck out the way I came in, but leaving 19178 that way, in what I finally understood the undergroves to be, would have been a death sentence. I’d like to say it was my morals that guided me, but no one has morals anymore. It was his face. I’ve had sex hundreds of times over ethercon, but seeing his face, right in front of me, helpless–I felt a connection I couldn’t reason away.
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Five stories explore queer/gay sexuality set against an isolationist cyberpunk backdrop. In these futuristic, tech-driven societies, humanity gets a new set of tools to connect both body and mind. Intersecting with queer experiences, cyberpunk overthrows the old standards of sexuality to hit new erotic heights. Kal Cobalt, Kannan Feng, Sunny Moraine, Eric DelCarlo, RE Bond. Warning: Explicit Sex.