Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.
Private detectives. Virtual prostitution. Sex dolls. Spider-worshippers. Drug-laced lactation. Kinky sex. Murder. If I haven't lost you yet, then you may very well be interested in a taste of Spidermilk.
Equal parts horror, sci-fi, and erotica, this novel-length tale from Konrad Hartmann is beautifully bizarre. It's edgy, weird, and provocative, and also uncomfortably decadent. He presents us with a future that actually has a lot going for it, as dark and disturbing as it is, a world in which progress has been wrenched off the rails and forced down some strange back alleys.
It all begins with a missing young woman, the father who wants her back, and the private detective hired to find her. Actually, it all begins with a weirdly philosophical conversation about LifeMates, prompted by a Gandhi who can’t discuss philosophy, and dismissed by the sight of Jesus and Abraham Lincoln on a leash, each dressed in a skin-tight latex cat suit.
You see, LifeMates are highly advanced robot replicas, albeit with limited intelligence or personality. They've become very popular as companions, but the real money (as always) is in sex. Prostitutes and their clients no longer have to meet, interacting virtually via their LifeMates instead. Abigail, the missing young woman in question, is one such virtual prostitute . . . but with a twist. Not only can she perform for her client via that virtual connection, she has the ability to posses the client's LifeMate. It makes the sex better, gives her more of a kick, and also allows her to wander the streets and engage in reckless activity, safe in a body that isn't hers.
As if that weren't enough to kick-start a story, Abigail's boss/pimp/friend/lover is part of a spider-worshiping cult who invites spiders to bite her, taking their venom into her body, and who then breastfeeds her clients, getting them high on her psychedelic milk. When one of Abigail's client reveals himself to be a brutal serial rapist, trapping her in his LifeMate so that he can torture her endlessly, she escapes the fate of his last victim (a woman forever trapped in a decapitated LifeMate head on a shelf) via a wandering spider . . . and then the story starts getting really weird.
Spidermilk is an absolutely crazy story that just keeps topping itself in terms of imaginative perversions with every chapter. There is a solid story here, with a fascinating mystery connecting it all, but the details definitely challenge for the reader's attention. I honestly wasn't sure where it was headed, and was genuinely surprised by how dark it got in places, but the final chapters were a fitting end to an over-the-top story.
Published October 21st 2014 by Fantastic Fiction Publishing