Jan 242014
 

After not updating for more than 6 months, I want announce some accomplishments.

2014 opened with two fiction publications:

The first is a short story, An Angel Has No Memory, published by Inkstained Succubus as a standalone ebook.

“Angel” began as a piece of fanfiction for Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse TV series. When I learned about a project called Filed Off, an anthology of fanfiction edited to be commercially saleable (like a certain bestselling trilogy). As a long shot, I did a find-and-replace on the character names and a few other terms and submitted it. The anthology didn’t get enough submissions, but the publisher decided to publish it stand-alone, though with substantially more edits. I accepted.

This proved to be more difficult than I thought. Fanfiction assumes the reader is familiar with the source text. To “de-fanfiction” it, I had to add a lot more exposition of the setting and description of the future technology. Also I had to shift the setting from the present to the near future, which presented another character problem. The protagonist is a closeted lesbian, and even in the present day I had to justify why this character was so fearful about being found out. Most people assume the future will be more culturally liberal, with less need for homosexuals to live in the closet, so I had to justify that even more in this new version.

The other publication is my short story “Upgrade” in the Circlet Press anthology Jacked In: Transhumanist Erotica

It’s a story of a casual encounter on the eve of a transhumanist singularity/apocalypse.

I didn’t finish a draft of my history book, as I pledged, but I did make significant progress by completing a few chapters, and I have a better understanding of the path ahead. I hope I can complete a draft by the summer.

The Master-slave history book I’m editing has shifted into a new phase of editing the contributions. I always thought of editing as a position of power, something I’m not comfortable with, though in actuality a lot of it is figuring out the difference between “imply” and “infer”, and the like.

The last big creative project I’m working on is a shared science fiction novel, or more accurately a series of connected novellas, with my writer’s workshop. No details on that for the moment.

 Posted by at 12:08
Apr 142013
 

(Recovered from a yard sale in Pasadena, CA, in a Florsheim shoe box also containing a yellow turtleneck sweater, size L; the script for a one-act play, “Death Is My Client”; and the incomplete manuscript for a pornographic novel, “Queen of Perversions”, by “Pete Draper”)

FADE IN:

EXT – SPACE

The ENTERPRISE orbits an Earth-like world.

KIRK

(voiceover)

Captain’s Log Stardate 2390.5 The Enterprise has arrived at the planet Southron, here to study the early industrial civilization.

INT – ENTERPRISE – CONFERENCE ROOM

KIRK, SPOCK, MCCOY and CHEKOV are seated around the conference table.

UHURA is standing to give the briefing next to the display screen.

UHURA

Southron is an M-type planet with a mixed agrarian-industrial culture, 3.4 on the Nakahara development scale.

Continue reading »

Oct 312012
 

In honour of Hall0ween, here’s my flash story “Worn-Out Monsters”:

“I was a monster, once,“ said the porcelain unicorn, sunlight gleaming on its white body and rainbow-colored mane and tail.

“Really,” said the vampire on the cover of the movie tie-in trade paperback. He might as well be sociable with the fellow resident of the girl’s bedside table.

“It’s true. Ctesias of Cnidus, back in 4th century BC, called me a monster, destructive and powerful, killing men and horses. Then the Christians dangled a virgin in front of me, and I fell for it. It took a long time, but it happened. The old beauty-and-the-beast story. Now look at me. I’m a trinket. Leeched of any sexuality, wildness, magic, power, potential. Even the girl barely notices me anymore, thanks to you. It’s the attic or the garage sale, soon.”

“That’s a shame,” said the vampire, not really listening.

Read more…

 Posted by at 11:48
Jun 242012
 

Every Night Erotica just published my story, “Upstairs, Downstairs“. It’s a short-short story featuring Tangwen and Miss Ccri, two characters from my steampunk erotica short story collection, The Innocent’s Progress & Other Stories. 

I submitted this to another erotica publisher for another steampunk anthology, and they accepted it, but they insisted on a contract that gave them first refusal on those characters in any future stories. After I negotiated a bit and realized that they weren’t going to budge on this, I withdrew my submission and sent it to another publisher.

I always try to hang onto as many rights as possible.

Mar 152012
 

Adventurotica just posted a rave review of The Innocents Progress & Other Stories:

It’s been said that steampunk is more of an aesthetic than a literary genre, that aside from “machines and mad science are awesome; also, it’s brown” it has no underlying ethic, nothing to say.  I disagree, and books like this are why.  Tupper reaches for something more than atmospheric and sexy, and comes away with a handful of exceptional tales that illustrate what steampunk as an evolving genre is all about.

It is theme, not merely set dressing, that makes something steampunk.  The expected accoutrements – distant airships, strange devices, rare manuscripts, goggles – are present here, sometimes centrally and sometimes only peripherally, but what really makes these stories a part of the genre is the pervasive feel of a world on the brink of massive social and technological change.

 Posted by at 10:41
Mar 102012
 

My zombie erotica story “The Charge of the Soul” is now on sale from Forbidden Fiction. You can buy it as a single story download or as part of the Touched by Death anthology.

This was a difficult story to write, because it dealt with edgy topics like sex with dubious consent, and because it was a more personal story than I usually write. However, I think it turned out well, and has an interesting perspective on sexuality through the lens of fantasy/horror.

 Posted by at 23:46
Mar 062012
 

The “cover” illustration for my zombie erotica story, “The Charge of the Soul”, is up on Forbidden Fiction. Hopefully this will be launched later this month.

I’m pretty happy with the illustration. I’m not a strong stickler for story fidelity in story art, so long as the mood and theme of the piece are conveyed, and this works pretty well. It wasn’t an easy story to illustrate in conventionally erotic ways.

 Posted by at 13:30
Feb 162012
 

Circlet Press will publish a “Best of…” anthology this fall, in print no less, and they’re doing a survey on reader’s favourite erotica stories.

You can vote on two of my stories: “The Innocent’s Progress”, in the steampunk anthology Like a Wisp of Steam, and “Songs without Words”, in Elementary Erotica. The survey also allows you to vote for a total of five stories, so support other writers too.

 Posted by at 13:04
Feb 082012
 

A mockumentary about an expedition into the Amazon to look for a missing naturist/TV show host, The River is what you get if you sticks The Blair Witch Project, Apocalypse Now/The Heart of Darkness and Lost in a blender and hit frappe, and what comes out is pretty tasty, harkening back to the the grandparent of the mockumentary/horror film subgenre, Cannibal Holocaust. (Classic horror writers like Bram Stoker and HP Lovecraft used lots of found documents and faux journalism in their stories too.) The show serves up some good visuals of the beauty of the Amazon and lots of thrills, chills and WTF moments.

There are some logic gaps (Would a person who’s leg has been slashed open and stitched up immediately stand in muddy river water? If you’ve successfully performed a blood sacrifice to contain a hostile spirit, are you really going to dismiss the idea of haunted trees?), but the premise mostly hangs together.

There’s also an interesting meta-fictional layer. One of the characters is the producer/director who is financing this expedition as a TV series. When he finds the explorer’s missing boat, he immediately settles into the onboard edit suite, clearly for him a seat of power. Not only does he control the surveillance cameras all over the boat, he has the power to reshape these events into a dramatic story as they happen, a “product” as he explicitly says.

So what story is he going to tell? The River combines two genres: “up the river into unfamiliar territory” and “contacting the unseen world”, the Safari and the Seance. The problem is, both genres operate on a very particular configuration of gender, class, family structure and especially race. The spirtualists of 19th century England were either women or men of other races, or at least presented themselves as such. For a white man to contact the spirit world, he needed a medium, an Other person by dint of race or gender and therefore closer to the unseen world. The medium did the work, while the white man reaped the benefits of knowledge.

The safari operates on a similar division of labour, with native porters carrying the heavy stuff and providing limited information, while the great white hunter, or TV show host in his modern version, stamps his mark on the unfamiliar wilderness, going beyond what his guides tell him.

In The River, the role of medium/guide is filled by Jahel, daughter of the expedition’s engineer. She’s an early adolescent and a POC (Latino/Indian) and female and may or may not speak English; she’s overqualified to contact the spirit world, compared to the white Anglos who lead this expedition. In the first episode, her warnings not to go into the unknown region are, of course, ignored, as are all warnings from indigenous people in this kind of narrative. (The African-British camera op actually points this out.)

In the second, a dragonfly, apparently containing Emmet’s soul, flies into her mouth and possesses her. In between comatose periods, she speaks in Emmet’s voice, giving cryptic messages to Emmet’s wife and touching her suggestively. (It’s straight out of that scene in Ghost between Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.)

What’s discomfiting is that it falls into the old trope of brown people sacrificing themselves for the sake of white people; in this case, Jahel is making herself sick so that Emmet’s spirit can talk to his wife, so their marriage and family can be saved for a moment. You think her father, who speaks fondly of “Mr. Emmet”, would be a little upset about this.

As they go further up the river, it remains to be seen if the show will break out of the tropes of its genre ancestors. The first victim of the supernatural nastiness definitely wasn’t a WASP, however.

Lone Ranger: “We’re surrounded by hostile Indians, Tonto.”

Tonto: “Whaddaya mean ‘we’, kemosabe?”

The other problem with this kind of story is the equation of indigenous people = the past = spirit world. I’ve been researching the Sioux Sun Dance for my BDSM history project, and I had always assumed that the Sun Dance had been performed by First Nations for thousands of years, basically since primordial time. However, anthropologists date it back to anywhere from 1750 to 1800 AD. Even some of the Sioux date it to 1685 AD. (See Mails, Thomas E. Sundancing: The Great Sioux Piercing Ritual. Council Oak Books, 1998. Pg. 14) So, when Sioux perform it, they are not stepping out of time to a place beyond society; they are within their society. The division into present and past, spiritual and mundane, is artificial and lacking in nuance.

Even the title of Emmet’s show within a show, The Undiscovered Country, raises the uncomfortable colonial issue of “discovering” people, places and things, as if they were passively waiting for white, Western men to show up and bring them into the real world.

The show’s uncharted territory (is there such a thing in the age of Google Maps and satellite imagery?) may be unknown to the outside world, but there are probably people there, and they are probably not desperately waiting to be drawn into somebody’s family conflict that will be packaged into an entertainment product. Can we still have an adventure show set in “exotic” locales that doesn’t reproduce these colonialist social structures, that does not view the rest of the world as a gymnasium/obstacle course for white people to practice their self-actualization on the backs of non-white people? Maybe. Of course, the main character is a white guy searching for his missing father in the wilderness, so there’s reason to be pessimistic.

Lost-style shows, in which diverse characters explore mysteries, don’t have a good track record. Even if they don’t get cancelled after a few episodes, they tend to fizzle out, dragging out mysteries long after the audience stops caring or just abandoning them. (Battlestar Galactica was a particularly egregious example of this, just ignoring the exploration of science fiction mysteries in favour of the banal personal stories of the characters.)