Author: Paul Pope.
Genre: Fiction, graphic novel, science fiction, cyberpunk, futuristic fiction, dystopian fiction, romance.
Publication Date: 2002-2003 (2005 compiled).
Summary: The setting is urban maze of 2038 Manhattan, where sex obsession and the lengths society goes to satisfy has become extreme. Pope follows six principal characters, all of whom know each other in some fashion, and who are linked through the strip club that’s at the center of the book. Strel manages the dancers. Strel’s ex, Haitous, is a fighter who returns to New York after a year away, trying to get back together with Strel and their son. Strel wants nothing to do with Haitous, but he wants her back so badly that he’s willing to give up fighting – after one more fight that promises a big payout. Strel’s cousin, Eloy, wants funding for an art project he’s working on. Kim tends bar and ends up taking a great deal of interest in Eloy, who struggles with the age-old conflict between having artistic integrity and compromising a bit in order to get some money to continue. John, a busboy at the club, meets Daisy, a new dancer, and is instantly smitten with her. Daisy has no interest in getting involved with John, but he eventually breaks down her barriers and the two have a torrid affair.
My rating: 10/10.
In the old days, a flash of ankle was enough. Then a calf, then a thigh. A miniskirt, a bikini, a g-string. Then hairs, short and curly. Then the rest of it. The mouth, the tongue. The tits, the ass. The pussy. Leather, fur, duct tape. Fuckshoes. All in full color, all in 3-D. Then faked snuff films. Sex with a horse. Pay-per-view simulated cannibalism. Televised battlefield rape. Corpse-fucking.
But it all got boring. All of it. The porn and the porn pills and the v-jak... Even fucking got boring. Then some charming gentleman asked himself, "What's it look like inside a woman? What do her insides look like when she gets off? Bet that'd be a sight! Bet that'd get the blood pumping! Bet they'd pay to see that!"
Don't even know her name, but she's up there right now. She's up there, and I'm down here. She's up there, fixing on the touchpads and wires. Gluing on the instruments that will light her insides for all to see. Getting ready to shake it. A girl and her human meat. Right now, she's stepping onto the lift to the top floor. She's up there right now, all jacked up and ready to blast off. While down here, I wash dirty dishes in silence.
On the first floor, it's the main dance space and the big bar. Up the spiral stairs is the private lounge. In the back of that, past the pool tables, is the dressing room and the lift. The lift that takes the girls up into the gastro cube. You know, gastro. "What's boiling in her stomach" and all that. 3-D projections of a girl's insides for all to see. Right now, it's the shaz, superspace, the new menu, the thing. Next week, it'll be boring too.
Mere nudity - where's the thrill? The thrill is in being touched... opened up... Hiding in padlocked hallways in the dark. We want to touch, we just can't figure out how to do it. We lost the words for it. Then we forgot the question.
♥ After a while, he started wondering about things. He wondered if there ought to be a shining moment, like a pinnacle, a flag above the mast of a ship. A moment when you just know in your gut that your destiny is something big. A moment of brilliant certitude, of swift clarity.
But that moment never comes. No, there is just the work and the instinct to work. There's just the burnt, oily smell of old coffee in paper cups. Torn fingernails, a stub of black chalk, a pack of cigarettes, a hole in your socks...
And loneliness. Awful, creeping, gnawing loneliness, and doubt. But.. what if it's just.. aloneness? What if you did something great and nobody noticed? Or what if what you did was just a pile of shit and you knew it was, too... And although you tried to believe them, deep down, you knew it wasn't true. What about those ones?
All there is, is work and the instinct to work. Yes, there's a difference between seeming and being. But shouldn't some things be both together, at the same time?