Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt by Chuck Tingle

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 66.]

This episode’s book is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle. I’m not sure where to start, here. If you’re familiar with this author you’ll know why.

I’ve wanted to review something of Chuck Tingle’s for awhile—because I wanted to read something of his and don’t have time to read for fun. So if I want to read something I have to make time to review it..

But the man is prolific. He has… a LOT of erotica. Making a decision on what to read was difficult.

Then I spied this book—he has two collections of scary stories—and I thought, ‘Great!’ Here’s as good of an excuse/opportunity as any.

Now. How to describe what I read.

It’s erotica and comedy and science fiction, at times. Some of it was very thought-provoking.

The author’s characters are sometimes straight (or they think so) but their latent homosexuality manifests itself in unusual ways. Like, as ghosts.

The actual sex is very explicit and gay, but ultimately samey—no matter who or what the protagonist is having gay sex with, the order of the sex tends to be the same, they do this act and then this act and then this act, but I suppose we all have our likes and dislikes in that way. That’s not the point of the pieces, though. Because everything else is different. From each story but also from anything else you’ve ever read. So, you know, who gives a shit.

That’s not to say the explicit, gay sex is boring. There are orgies and facials and blow jobs and anal and double penetration. It’s just often, a similar dance. One, two, three, blowie, one, two three, anal, one, two, three, facial…

A couple of the stories feature Bigfeet. (That’s the plural of Bigfoot.) Because in the world of Chuck Tingle, Bigfeet have been assimilated into human culture and have jobs and things. There are some prejudices, just as you’d expect, but, some people are cool and some people find them super sexy. Ahem.

And, you know, a human man and a male Bigfoot isn’t gay. Ahem.

Unicorns are also a thing. Big, sexy, masculine unicorns. And the ghosts of unicorns that were generals during the Civil War. A lot of this takes place in an alternate universe that I’m kinda into. I don’t know if it has a name. The Tingleverse?

Before you go into one of Chuck’s books you have to know that anything can happen. Except maybe hetero sex.
Body parts get haunted in two stories. A Bigfoot pirate haunts his balls in one and his dead unicorn lover haunts his ass in another. This is accepted as something that can happen in the Tingleverse—there is no, ‘Are you off your meds, where is your data for that?’ Which, I have to say, is a fucking blast.

‘Yup, your testicles are haunted by the most fearsome Bigfoot pirate ghost in all the land.’

‘Well, okay. Now what, doc?’

‘Shrug. Ghosts generally want to finish some unfinished business. Good luck.’

Another type of story Tingle likes to write are about inanimate objects that … are animate. The second story is ‘Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt’.

It’s about the Night Bus (there are sentient buses and, you know, that’s cool, but someone says this one is a vampire and the narrator is all, ‘vampires don’t exist!’ Because be serious.)

He has to stay late at work one night, though, and, wouldn’t you know… winds up on the vampire night bus. They have the wild gay sex—that’s not really a spoiler, I don’t think,—but I won’t tell you what else happens.

You might need to read the title of this next one a couple times to parse it. Ready?

‘Angry Man Pounded by the Fear of His Latent Gayness Over a Dinosaur Transitioning into a Unicorn’.

Oh yeah, dinosaurs are still a thing in the Tingleverse, too.

It’s about this ‘straight’ guy who is checking out a total babe of a unicorn and it turns out that unicorn used to be a well-known athletic dinosaur. He runs out to a unicorn strip club to watch a bunch of (male) unicorn strippers—they’re still unicorns so it’s not gay—and has a whole mental breakdown that turns into… something absolutely incredible.

No matter what you think happens—you’re wrong. I’ll say that. If anyone is attempting to copy this man they are failing. I feel confident that his mind is unique in the best ways.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow… don’t ask ‘but how…’ questions. Another story is ‘The State of California Stalks My Gay Butthole’.

The entire state. Of California. Moves to another state to stalk a dude. You know what? It works in the story. You just have to trust the guy.

Then, there’s a super meta one called ‘Reamed by My Reaction to the Title of This Book’ which is about… I’m not sure how to describe it, but I loved it. It’d make a great Black Mirror episode… Well, an extremely NSFW Black Mirror episode. I can’t tell you anything about it without ruining it, so, sorry, but it was very cinematic. And it addresses the one complaint I have about his writing, which are the spelling errors or typos. There are numerous. But at this point, it’s just a feature. It’s probably part of him publishing so much.

The book has a bonus story ‘Space Raptor Butt Invasion’, which is a genuinely-creepy-for-a-moment space story. Then it’s just gay sex everywhere again. Between a human and a Raptor. A space raptor. It makes sense in the story.

No one can write a Chuck Tingle book but Chuck Tingle.

And the dialogue! Sweet heavens, the dialogue. Everything about the writing is singular.

If you’re looking for anything resembling realism, keep moving. If you are looking for creativity like you’ve perhaps not seen before, well, here you go. I can’t even take off a point for the typos because it sort of became part of the appeal. If you’re into what I’ve described—this is unmissable. If graphic gay sex and… complete unpredictability aren’t your bag then this won’t work for you.

I gave it a 5/5, but it will be highly subjective.

Episode 066: Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt

Episode the sixty-sixth; wherein the Pageist learns about all the things she’s not interested in, becomes increasingly weary over censorship and catches up on a few weeks of announcements. The book reviewed is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to everyone who’s reached out and asked after Walter’s health! It means a lot and we both thank you.
  • Thank you so much to JT, for our first PayPal donation! It brightened my month, let me tell you.
  • Big thank yous to my Patreon supporters and welcome to the newest supporter.
  • The show how now been heard in Zimbabwe.
  • One survey response–thank you! You can take the survey here (it’s anonymous and makes my day).
  • Someone rated the show on iTunes!! WOW! Thank you!
  • The show will be in the next update of the SwingsetFM Podcast Network app for Android (available through GooglePlay)

5.53 My Submissive Life:

16.21 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Scary Stories to Tingle Your Butt: 7 Tales of Gay Terror by Chuck Tingle. It’s… something else. In a genre of its own. A mix of comedy, meta-fiction, erotica, all in a universe where unicorns, dinosaurs and Bigfeet (that’s the plural of Bigfoot) live amongst the rest of us. Oh yeah, there are also sentient buses. Like, the ones you ride around. Anything can happen. Anything. States can stalk people. The state of California, for example. And it makes sense in the context of the story.
  • Hilarious, utterly unique, filthy, with the occasional cutting social commentary, no one else writes like Chuck Tingle.
  • And the dialogue! Everything about it is singular.

29.08 Closing Remarks:

Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms by Sacchi Green

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 63.]

This episode’s book review is of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales edited by Sacchi Green and published by Cleis Press.

I received this book for free, but the words I say to you will be true, as always.

As you’d expect from the title, this is a collection of reimagined and retold fairy tales with a lesbian slant. It’s not just gender-swapped classics, though. In one—the granddaughter of Red Riding Hood has a very interesting encounter and it’s intimated that her grandmother had quite the liking for wolves so our protagonist is part wolf. Well hello, Little Red.

From the Introduction:

Some [authors] adapted traditional tales, and some updated old stories to contemporary times, not merely changing the gender of a character but making the female aspect essential. Some created original plots with a fairy-tale sensibility, while some wrote with merely a subtle aura of fantasy. Their heroines are witches and princesses, brave, resourceful women of all walks of like, and even a troll and a dryad.

The gays aren’t exactly thick on the ground in classic fairy tales, but they were there, according to the Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella. She spills all the tea in a hilarious short piece full of word-play called ‘SWF Seeks FGM’—standing for Single Wicked Female Seeks Fairy Godmother. She goes in search of a Fairy Godmother to help her out with her image and winds up being helped out of her clothing instead.

Though the stories are all written by different people, one thing several authors seem to agree on—getting undressed is annoying. The witches and various magical people tend to magically disrobe. Hey, when you’re in a rush to get to the sexy, you don’t have time for muggle things like untying ribbons.

If I were magical I’d never undress again. Poof! Naked. Poof! Dressed. It’d be great.

The fairy godmother in the story in question is also lushly built and the Wicked Stepmother is all about it. She enjoys every inch. I was talking with the person who runs Red Light Library podcast—he reviews the more out there erotica—and he said lots of people are giving a nod to the BBW (or Big Beautiful Women) fetish by saying the character has big boobs and butt but then doesn’t mention anything else about their physique during sex. Which is inaccurate and cynical on the part of the writer. That’s not what was happening in that story—Wicked and the writer, Allison Wonderland, knew of what they spoke.

There are various body types and skin tones on display in these stories—it’s not all fair damsels with golden tresses and light eyes. There are masculine women and toned bodies, soft, rounded bodies, dark skin and light skin, brown eyes and blue eyes, short cropped hair and flowing locks.

If you have a thing for Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones—there are a few women who pose as men, pull on armour and go into battle for one reason or another.

There are women who know their bodies and how to pleasure themselves and women discovering their capacity for pleasure for the first time. There’s a little something for all of the women-loving-women, basically.

The take on Rumpelstiltskin was particularly clever. There was also a story about a human woman who fell in love with a tree dryad—their relationship spanning a lifetime—that was touching. The sex is vanilla for the most part, though there was some biting in one story that was a-okay. I mean… a person falls in love with and has sex with a tree in one story, which is an actual fetish called dendrophilia. And in ‘Trollwise’ the everyone is into some pain with their sex. So, overall, it’s vanilla, but there are some kinky moments.

I wasn’t familiar with all of the fairy tales referenced, but it didn’t matter—they stood on their own. They were well-written and inventive. If you’re looking for magical bedtime reading, this is a good place to start. If you’re looking for a more pansexual—an equally well-written group of fairy tales with a cast of characters across the gender spectrum, then I recommend Leather Ever After, that book is also uber-kinky. I reviewed that in episode three. The text of that book review is here. Cleis Press has several other anthologies (and is a favourite of Sinclair Sexsmith’s) to choose from, as well.

The next book from this publisher that I’ll be reviewing will be 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino, which will be in November some time.

I would give this a 5/5 if you’re looking for something new and fun.

Episode 063: Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms

Episode the sixty-third; wherein the Pageist has an update about Walter’s diagnosis, announces a new way to support the show, and laments why we can’t have nice things. The book reviewed is Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms edited by Sacchi Green.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to all of my patrons for making the show possible and welcome to the newest patron, Alice!
  • Two new Facebook follows: howdy doo to Becca and Tawnya.
  • The newest country to hear the show is Angola.
  • Several responses to the survey, with some useful comments. Thank you!
  • Walter’s brain tumour is playing silly buggers and I don’t know how it will effect the schedule for the rest of the month.
  • The show and site finally has PayPal capabilities!!

8.32 My Submissive Life:

  • Everything is disappointing and it’s disappointing. How hard is it to not be a kink-shaming, homophobic, racist, transphobic, etc jerk?
  • Apparently, very, very hard.
  • Nie on impossible.
  • Ugh.

13.31 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales edited by Sacchi Green and published by Cleis Press.
  • The book is a collection of thirteen stories–some retellings of classic tales, some new stories with an aura of fantasy–with a feminine slant. The titular roles are represented most frequently, but there are also trolls and dryads and even a particular Wicked Stepmother we all know and (possibly) love.
  • If you’re looking for a more pansexual, kinky version of fairy tales, I highly recommend Leather Ever After. The text of the book review is here.
  • The Red Light Library: A sex-positive podcast for reviewing the best/weirdest/worst erotica up for sale. We celebrate kink and shame manipulative hack writers every Wednesday. Their Patreon. Their Twitter.
  • The Sexy Section is from ‘Trollwise’ by Sacchi Green.

22.36 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing show favourite AliceinBondageland about chastity.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut by Sinclair Sexsmith

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 61.]

The book this week is Sinclair Sexsmith’s Sweet and Rough: Queer Smut. I got this as a bonus for supporting Sinclair’s Patreon. So I paid for it…sort of.

I read the first story and immediately went to get a copy to send to my Big Spoon, which is what I call my gentle Dominant type lady friend. Because, like when you spoon with someone you can be the little spoon or the big spoon and she’s the big spoon. Anyway. First story and I put down the Kindle and went ‘Must send copy to Joan.’ Because. Yes. But—read on for why it’s a yes for me and why it may be a yes for you.

The book is a collection of sixteen short pieces—some very short, just a page or two Kindle-wise—focusing on butch/femme lesbian erotic encounters. There’s pretty much always a tinge of Dominance and submission and there’s always a strap on.

This is a collection of stories about packing, which is where a female-bodied person wears a soft or hard dildo whilst going about their day. Some people use it for sex purposes, some for gender purposes, others just for fun—there are many reasons. Sinclair and I did an incredible interview all about packing for the Patreon patrons.

The point is—if you’re into strap ons—or butch/femme hotness, this is the book for you. It’s extremely well-written.

And with that—before I get to the review, I’d like to have a sidebar with you fine individuals.

When I tell people about the show—that I review books about BDSM—the first reaction is that I must only review erotica (it’s like they don’t know non-fiction exists, which makes me sad, because you can actually learn things from books) and the second reaction is, ‘Thank god, because I read a lot of erotica and most of it is so bad.’

Later this week is an interview with Sinclair and we’re going to talk about why that is. People, sex writing doesn’t have to be badly written. You don’t have to suffer for your jollies.

Back to this book, which is A+ on the writing front.

Each story features Sinclair—don’t stop reading—I know having the author as a character sounds like solipsism city, but I’ve been reading their posts on Patreon and their blog and knew them to be…not incredibly self-centred—we talked about how they came to write a bunch of stories featuring a version of themselves in the interview and it was pretty interesting.

It doesn’t ruin the book.

Though the stories all have a butch/femme element and there’s usually power and control being played with, each one has a different setting. Well, I think three take place in a library or a classroom. I’m all on board for that. Kinky literary fucking is always a plus.

In one of those stories, there’s this line:

I think what I often think when I see a gorgeous, leggy girl, reading some intellectual book, in barely enough clothing: if she’s queer, man, all is right with the world.

Indeed. In. Deed.

It’s not just about the sex, though. The author also covers how gender plays into packing and sex. With lines like:

It was daring of her to be so bold with a bj, but I really like that. It forgives me the apology I constantly carry for being a cock-identified lesbian-feminist queer-dyke. A butch who fetishizes gender dynamics and craves gendered play in the bedroom—if she wants my cock so bad she’s willing to take it, I know it’s okay that I want it that bad, too.

Yes, slip some intellectual into my sexy, baby. Erotica doesn’t have to be about perfect people who are always confident and the ultimate lovers—they can be human. They can be messy and complicated. I love it.

In some of the stories the kink is blatant with graphic flogging or spanking. So, you know, thank you, for that. In others, the power dynamic is there, but played with more subtly. There’re also insightful descriptions of the psychology behind certain types of play. Like:

She pulls against me, not to get away, but to heighten sensation. Struggling has such varying degrees. She doesn’t want out, she wants more.

Yes. That is true.

Reading the author’s descriptions of a woman’s body during passionate sex—it’s obvious Sinclair greatly appreciates the female form and pays close attention to every sinew, muscle and breath. They’re a veritable connoisseur of feminine pleasure—clearly enjoying giving it and observing the results of their ministrations.

There are bjs, vaginal and anal and all sorts of goodness in this set of stories. You can purchase it from Amazon or the publisher’s site, or get it like I did by supporting Sinclair’s Patreon.

5/5 if you’re into the sort of things I’ve described in this review.

The Reunion by Laura Antoniou

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 47.]

This episode’s book review is The Reunion by Laura Antoniou. As mentioned in the previous episode, this book is 640 pages long, by far the longest book in The Marketplace series. Thus far. I will be checking book length from now on so I know what I’m getting myself into.

The Marketplace is a world-wide, international organisation that helps people fulfil their dreams of total slavehood by training them then auctioning them off to serve owners—people who also get to live out their desires of owning a human being, but consensually. There are spotters, slave trainers, people who train the trainers, I believe there are people who train owners and, of course, the slaves themselves.

And, oh, are there a variety of types of slaves. Chambermaids, pleasure slaves, slaves who are nannies, butlers, slaves who are in place to train the other slaves in a house. Oh, the slaves you’ll know.

Each book examines a different aspect of the Marketplace.

So, we’re up to the fifth book in the series—this review will not contain spoilers.

Reunions are yearly gatherings for slaves and former slaves of the Marketplace held in five star resorts all over the world.

This particular year, the reunion is being held at Kayleigh Castle, in Ireland. At its name would suggest—it’s a castle. Massive thing it is, too. On sprawling grounds with a lake, golf course, stables—the works.

Attendees are not confined to the grounds, though. A van is at their disposal to visit other castles—for trips to the local village for shopping, meals or whatever else they’d like to do.

During reunions, resorts are given over entirely to Marketplace guests so no one has to worry about people not in-the-know overhearing a conversation or… screaming, as the castle and its staff is prepared to provide implements and supplies for a variety of uses at any time of the day or night. Some members are prepared to provide themselves for use, as well.

For Kayleigh is staffed by Marketplace slaves—Chris Parker trained there very early in his career, in fact—as well as soft world people. ‘Soft world’ is what non-Marketplace people are called in the universe of the books.

It’s an intriguing prospect—regular humans who know how a human consensual slave trade works and who work alongside it, but who don’t say anything.

Funny you should bring it up!

While our guests are relaxing and reminiscing about the good ol’ days—and I’ll get to that herd of people in a moment—a pond scum journalist named Nigel Pepper is doing his level best to break the story of the sex slave trade.

Someone on the inside claims to have information—they’ve been sending him dribs and drabs—enough to help him get some photographs of what appears to be one motley assortment of humanity, but nothing really concrete. What he needs to do is get inside that castle.

You can imagine what kind of security this sort of function has, though. These people aren’t idiots.

On to the motley assortment of humanity.

The reason this book is so long is because it has a cast of thousands. And it’s written in first person omniscient, which means you can hear everyone’s thoughts. I give Antoniou credit for being able to capture an incredible array of voices. Her command of human psychology is masterful.

I didn’t make notes on the characters involved so let’s see how many I can recall…

The story starts with everyone getting on the plane to go to Ireland or arriving at the airport or some such thing. The Reunion itself lasts a week and the book is broken into days.

There’s the ever-present Chris Parker. He says his age this time—he’s thirty-eight! Oh! I thought he was older than I am, but he seems so mature. Per usual, we learn more about him and his story. How the hell old is he in the first book? This makes me want to make a wiki of the Marketplace world, because I have all the time to do this. I found a wiki, but it hasn’t been updated in awhile and isn’t very complete.

Anyway, also present is Robin—the protagonist from book two—The Slave. She’s got some heavy things on her mind since spoilery things have happened in her contract.

A new character, who quickly became one of my all-time favourites is Billy-Ray—a red-headed, Southerner who isn’t the most refined human being but wants to help everyone he meets. He has a thing for black guys. This is important. Antoniou nails his accent. Billy-Ray is a kind of slave that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the previous books—there’s always something new to learn.

Desmond is being forced to take a holiday by his owners and he’s not happy about it. Mister Mopey-Pants gripes, complains and pouts for days. He’s an angry guy over his situation back home. Billy-Ray likes him, though, and is determined to help him out. He’s also very keen to have sex with the guy.

There’s Lisa and Richard. They’ve brought their children along (this is a families-allowed reunion). The kids spend a great deal of the time off with the other children in the Druid’s club, playing games and going on adventures and being none-the-wiser what their parents are up to.

Richard is an ex-slave who served for one contract and Lisa runs a group for spouses of slaves. Desmond isn’t the only person with a less-than-rosy view of the Marketplace and slavedom. As the week wears on, the reader (and everyone there) begins to wonder why the ever-loving hell Richard decided to come on this vacation. His wife is equally baffled, as his behaviour is unusual.

Their daughter, Amy, is eleven and Antoniou gets the mercurial whims of an eleven year old girl who has no one her exact age to talk to so pitch perfect it made me laugh while also making me want to strangle the girl. Sakes alive.

Tequila! Tequila is a former LAPD cop who is now a slave who works as a security guard. She’s black, she’s butch, she’s not taking any shit from anyone. Lord almighty do I love Tequila.

Oh god. The scroll of other guests has just unfurled in my mind… I don’t have the strength. There are fewer characters in Middle Earth. And they all have their own motivations and voices.

Lucretia… I can’t say anything without spoiling a lot, but Lucretia is memorable. Chandra—a pleasure slave here to fix to world… and would probably succeed. Gladys. I like Gladys. Al and Lloyd. One is a former slave, the other is soft world, but they were both in the leather scene and look back on those days fondly. And more.

And we haven’t done downstairs—the people who work at Kayleigh and the Marketplace slaves in training. There’s about a dozen of those, as well.

Mr Blake—who trained Chris and is responsible for the newest crop.

Azziz—the staff (non-Marketplace) who’s around all the time even though he certainly doesn’t have to be. Makes one wonder if he really wants to be a slave or what.

Mackenzie—the female butler assigned to Chris during his stay (Azziz is assigned to Chandra, the pleasure slave). Upright and a perfectionist—I hope to see more of Mackenzie in future instalments.

Rosie—she feels she’s in competition with MacKenzie (though that’s not how it works) and finds herself wanting. She’s been sent to Kayleigh for specific instruction in certain areas by her trainers, Lord and Lady Southerby.

And now we’re on to those two.

Phillip and Angelique Southerby are young but outstanding London-based trainers. They are being courted by the Regents (something I can’t recall being mentioned in previous books). The Regents are sort of an exclusive club of trainers. In order to be in the group a person has to be trained for a couple years or more by someone already in the club.

There are no regents in Britain and it would be quite the coup to bring these two on board. So that’s one of Chris’s jobs while he’s there. Because the man is incapable of completely relaxing for an entire week.

To tie things up a little—that Nigel Pepper guy has stalked the Southerby’s on other occasions—getting photos of Lady Southerby (an American, the horror!) topless—she has a nipple ring! Scandal!

So he’s extra intrigued by seeing Phil chatting to Chris. It only makes him more determined to get his story.

That’s the basics. Really—there’s much more to say.

There’s one rather extended—several pages long—section that covers something we don’t talk about as a culture. When I was reading the section I thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing, Antoniou?’ But then, when she revealed the last card, as it were, I thought, ‘You clever bitch. That is going to get some people.’ Some people reading that section are going to have to confront some hard truths about themselves and how they view the world.

Antoniou doesn’t shy away from difficult topics or complex issues that people in the kink community deal with—what turns people on isn’t always politically correct and that stirs up some heavy emotions. This book is not purely wank fodder—though there is certainly something for everyone to get their knickers off for. Or to. Except maybe furries—I don’t think she’s covered that yet.

This book isn’t just about hot, kinky sex. It also examines race, feminism, gender identity, ageing, probably other things I can’t recall because I wasn’t expecting all that in erotica and didn’t make notes.

The Reunion is definitely the most thought-provoking of the Marketplace books and possibly the most intellectually-stimulating erotica you’ll read.

It’s certainly the most well-written I’ve read thus far.

You could probably read this one out of order of the series, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are things that happen in the other books that set up events in this one (and the other books are excellent, as well).

An enthusiastic 5/5.

The Academy by Laura Antoniou

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 35.]

The book this episode is The Academy: Stories from The Marketplace, which is the fourth book in The Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou. –I’ve learned how to pronounce her name properly.

I reviewed the first book in episode one, which introduces the reader to the world of The Marketplace and is called The Marketplace. It’s an international organization that facilitates the deep-seated need some people have to be owned or for some to own other humans. Everything’s consensual. It’s a well-thought-out, complex organization. Each book focuses on one particular aspect of how the Marketplace works and also gives us more information about the enigmatic and charismatic Chris Parker.

The second book was The Slave, which was reviewed in episode six.

The third was The Trainer and was the subject of episode twenty-five.

In this installment we follow the ever-present Chris Parker to The Academy—the once yearly meeting of Marketplace trainers from around the world. Chris has brought along Michael, who is himself in training to become a trainer—his story continues from the previous book.

This novel differs from the others in that it isn’t entirely written by Antoniou. The framing story of the Academy is, but as the various characters tell stories about people they know, those stories are provided by guest authors. The first is by Karen Taylor and it features my favourite character from the first book, Claudia.

Claudia had been sent to a training house in upstate New York where Chris Parker was majorduomo by her mistress in order to become better in all ways. Her mistress knew she could be in charge of the household, as well as a good slave, but little Claudia had no confidence. After Michael sees her in action he can’t believe the stories he hears of what she supposedly used to be like.

We also catch up with another character from the first novel.

Other stories are about trainers who went wrong—sometimes badly, in stories that were, frankly, triggery. I look for sexyness to read at the end of the episode and several of these stories were: NOPE! Nopers with a nopenope on top.

Michael has finally learned his place and is beginning to see just how difficult it is to be a slave and what goes into being the best trainer. Which is good because at first I was: The character I like least of them all and I have to put up with him for another book?

Meanwhile, politics and intrigue are afoot in the Marketplace and it can be difficult to know who’s on whose side. The quality of material that’s been coming in has been decreasing and just how to handle that is up for debate. As in, literal debate, which is what they will be discussing at this gathering.

I love this sort of thing. Give me some minutes to take and some papers to file and I’m happy, but I could see how this could bore some people. For those—the variety of stories that happen between the framing story of politics should make up for it. I enjoyed both so was extra happy.

The Academy took place in Japan that year—I’ve not been to Japan, and I don’t know if Antoniou has, either, but the descriptions of everything from nature to furnishings was lovely. (I would guess she has been.)

As with all of the Marketplace books, there are moments where someone explains what draws people to service.

There are meals, there is entertainment, there are human horsies and a human dog-race, which sounded AMAZING. Of course there’s sex—just a little.

The Academy brings together trainers from around the world—the Marketplace is international, after all, so the guest-written stories span the globe, which was really enjoyable. Each one was well-written and blended seamlessly, though the characters weren’t ‘regular cast members’ so to speak. Contributing authors included Cecilia Tan, Karen Taylor, Michael Hernandez, david stein and Christian Muncy. Some authors wrote more than one story.

We also get to see how Chris came into the Marketplace. Chris is the sort of person who seems born to be there so the idea that he had to find his way in and train is a little discombobulating, but there’s an extended (and very satisfying) section on how that came about.

I don’t know how anyone can’t be a little in awe of Chris Parker.

Chris Parker for President.

4/5 if you find fictional politics boring. 5/5 if you don’t. Read it anyway. There’s lots of Chris.

Episode 035: The Academy

Episode the thirty-fifth; wherein the Pageist takes some time to schedule in some self care, gets excited about kind fans and lesbian porno comics and returns to the Marketplace…again. The book this episode is The Academy by Laura Antoniou.

.48 Intro and Announcements:

  • The show is now in Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Djibouti.
  • FOUR survey responses! Christmas is here! If you’d like to fill in the survey (it’s quick and anonymous) the link is here.
  • Many, many thank yous to the kind gentleman who sent me Sex with Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan. Mwah!
  • Tina Horn’s interview with Jillian Keenan on Why Are People into That?!
  • Kinkly.com: Looking for a website about sex of one sort or another? Well, here you go! The site is now listed there. Maybe in a couple years I’ll crack the top 100.
  • Colleen Coover’s Small Favors is coming out in a deluxe edition! I AM A HAPPY PERSON ABOUT THIS.

4.04 My Submissive Life:

  • Avoidance Behaviour: a piece I wrote about using service as a way of avoiding scary things like human interaction.

9.46 Book Review:

  • This episode’s book is The Academy: Stories from The Marketplace, which is the fourth novel in the Marketplace series.
  • If you’d like signed versions (or for more money to go to the author–this is Laura’s shop–if not, this is Amazon (she doesn’t care where you get the books, just so you actually pay for them).
  • The Academy is a yearly meeting of Marketplace trainers. This year a new proposal has been put forward that will affect everyone and has ruffled some feathers. Between debates and meetings, trainers share stories of trainers, spotters and slaves they’ve known–these stories are written by guest authors and showcase an array of kinks in a variety of countries.
  • Book one: The Marketplace, reviewed in episode one.
  • Book two: The Slave, reviewed in episode six.
  • Book three: The Trainer, reviewed in episode twenty-five.

16.31 Section of Sexyness:

  • Michael gets more than he bargained for. 🙂

23.40 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be talking about the books about BDSM I read/reviewed prior to having the show.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
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  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.

The Trainer by Laura Antoniou

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[This is the text of the book review from episode 25 of the podcast.]

In this episode I’ll be talking about The Trainer by Laura Antoniou, which is the third book in The Marketplace series. I reviewed the first book in episode one of the show and the second book in episode six.

The Marketplace, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a secret, international organization that trains people who wish to be 24/7 slaves in the truest sense of the word. Once each person is trained, they are auctioned off to the highest bidder, who could live anywhere in the world. That’s the very short version—it’s much more complex than that. And much sexier. Each book focuses on a different aspect of the organization.

The first book, The Marketplace, introduced the reader to the world of the novels through the eyes of four slaves—each of whom represents a particular archetype of slavehood—who’ve been sent to a training house in New York state.

The second book, The Slave, focuses on one person in particular and what it’s like to go from desiring to be a full-time slave to being trained to being placed and any successes or failures that result.

This time out the subject is on how trainers become trainers. Which is probably why it’s called The Trainer. It follows the story of Michael, who is similar to the Sharon character in the first book, but from the other side of the line—he thinks it’s all about sex, basically. He has no idea what he’s getting himself into. If he were a fragrance it would be Naivete No. 5.

A hallmark of the books is learning the life stories of the characters—seeing how they came to realize they were Marketplace material, whatever their position. The Marketplace is a massive international organization—besides the obvious slaves and trainers there are also spotters and trainers of trainers and who knows what else (I’ve only read three books, but I can’t wait to find out what else people do.)

And everyone involved has to be Marketplace approved.

So, sweet, deluded Michael. He’s from California. Well, there’s part of his problem right there—the person he’s been training under to be a trainer, a man named Geoff Negel, has a very loose philosophy of slave training. He views his job more as match-making slaves with the perfect owners and moving people around to find the best fit. Then advising owners not to go too hard on their property when it comes to making them do things they don’t want to do.

I could hear the pan-pipes playing in the background when his name was mentioned.

Michael accompanies Geoff to a Marketplace-run meet-up just for trainers and discovers the person he thinks of as revolutionary isn’t necessarily considered so by their British counterparts.

He also gets a taste of what properly trained slaves are like. And learns of a person referred to as Master Trainer Anderson. She trains trainers. She trained Chris Parker.

Ah, Chris. I do love him. He’s right at the start of the book, being his awesome self.

Chris Parker is the thread that runs through all of the books. He’s not the protagonist (nor an antagonist) but he plays a different role in each book. His story develops in each novel. The character is amazing. Bless Laura Antoniou for giving the world this character. Back to this novel, though.

I mentioned previously that Michael was sort of the trainer version of Sharon, who was my least favorite character in the first book. So having an entire book with an oblivious Isn’t-My-Radiant-Presence-Enough-type was …painful at times.

For example, Anderson has a massive library full of books on slave training, which includes her own notes and other notes by famous trainers around the world on various techniques. He’s given full access to this library. Does he use it? No, because he’s an idiot I wanted to strangle.

Every time Chris showed up I hoped he’d strangle him for me.

But, with characters of that nature I look at it like the author got it right. That’s exactly what some people are like.

It did make the sex scenes difficult to bear because I so profoundly disliked the guy I didn’t want him to enjoy himself. Ever.

As the novel progresses, we learn how on Earth Michael wound up with the best trainer in the Marketplace. We also find out just how unaware of his own stupidity he was. The depths, they are remarkable.

He’s the human embodiment of the phrase, ‘We don’t know what we don’t know.’

We learn some new (very interesting) things about Chris and about characters from previous books. A highlight for me was seeing an episode from the previous book, The Slave, from a different point of view.

Good old Mike has some growing pains and learns approximately 900 things about life, slavery and himself and makes a pretty big decision.

Though the protagonist is, thus far, the Marketplace character I like least of them all, this novel was still compelling. I started the fourth one immediately afterwards. He’s in that one, too. Joy illimited. I want to punch him less now. That’s progress.

Something I enjoyed about this one was ‘watching’ Chris train the people coming through the house. He was staying with Anderson for a period due to personal circumstances I’m not spoiling for you, but holy moly wow. And while there he was polishing up a few slaves. Michael was to learn how to train and we got to watch this. Seeing the philosophy behind training and proper slave care, so to speak, was interesting. Antoniou has fully fleshed out the world of the Marketplace. It’s clear she’s an actual kinky person who understands 24/7 total power exchange.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this one first if you haven’t read other books in the series. Definitely start with The Marketplace. Or at the very least The Slave or else something that happens at one point will make less sense.

Otherwise, I couldn’t put it down—it’s sexy, funny, creative, well-written—you know, all those things Antoniou does so well. It’s 5/5 easy.

The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou

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Last week the first episode of The Pageist podcast aired and I reviewed The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou. (I also read a very hot scene from the book.)

If you prefer your book reviews in a written rather than spoken format, the Wednesday after the show airs I’ll post a written version of the review from the previous episode.

Without further ado: The Marketplace.

Have you ever read a book and then looked at the series that followed, saw there were six other books (plus one collection of fanfiction) and thought, ‘That won’t be enough’? Because that won’t be enough.

The marketplace is an international slave market where interested Masters and Mistresses and other types of people, I presume, purchase people who willingly choose to become slaves. This spoke to me immediately. Something about BDSM-based erotica that’s never impressed has been all the forced submission. It makes me think, ‘Find someone who wants to be there a little? I’d want to be there.’

So. People who want to be slaves are sent to houses in various places around the world to be trained and then sold. Different buyers want different qualities and talents so slaves have to been trained to be useful in a variety of ways, but they must all learn to take a beating and they must all be adept sexually.

The Marketplace (the book, not the overall entity) introduces us to Alexandra and Grendel, the people who run the particular house in the novel.

Their majordomo is Chris Parker, the most enigmatic of the bunch. He’s above the slaves but beneath the owners of the house and responsible for the slaves learning their roles properly. He knows his way around a strap or just about anything else that can be swung with great force.

The slaves. Oh, how I enjoy them.

First we have Claudia, who cries so much she should be sponsored by Kleenex. She’s a French maid who’s been sent because her Mistress finds her utter perfection boring. She’s also a little…limited…in certain areas. She’s going to be trained by Alex.

Then there’s Robert. Robert is a strapping stud of a man who has been emasculated by a sadist (the bad kind) of a woman and now has to be turned back into a man with a working cock before he’ll be any good to anyone. Another one for Alex. Robert cries a lot, too. She really got the sniffles twins this time round. They both want to do their absolute best, though, which is more than I can say for the two Grendel got.

Brian and Sharon. It’s rare that I want to throttle a fictional character, but I found myself having conversations with Sharon in my head. She was real. And really annoying.

Sharon’s read a lot of dirty books, see? (Not any other sort of books, but just loads of the dirty ones.) So she knows exactly what she wants. She’s had quote-unquote masters who only wanted to boss her around on the weekends but she wanted to be really controlled. But, you know, only the way she wants to be controlled.

Sharon also has this condition where she’s incapable of respecting the people who have the ability to whip her black and blue. It’s weird.

Bit of a digression, but if you’ll allow me: There’s this proverb that goes: A wise man learns from the mistakes of others, a fool from his own. I used to think, ‘Then what’s a person who doesn’t learn from their own mistakes?’

Now I know. They’re Sharon from The Marketplace.

Anyway, the other star is Brian. He’s sort of a mostly-gay male version of Sharon but more self aware and smarter. He’s also better at keeping his mouth shut. Buncha winners, this lot.

The four of them are evaluated and trained in various ways and in the evenings they tell one another their life stories.

The Marketplace is very well-written and inventive. The characters are three-dimensional and well-drawn. The narrative switches between each person’s point of view and she each one has their own voice—Antoniou has a gift for human psychology. She also has a gift for writing shit-hot sex scenes. Fuck.

I super duper highly recommend this one. If you haven’t read it, do so. If you have read it and it’s been awhile maybe give it another look.

I started the next one immediately, which is The Slave.

I must say, though, the internet failed me—there was no ‘Which Marketplace Character Are You’ quiz. Incredible considering there’s probably a ‘Which Specific Dumbledore Ear Hair Are You?’ quiz.

5/5