|Craig Revel Horwood - notorious for|
harsh one-liner critique
|Darcy Bussell - brilliant insights|
delivered with kindness.
curl: I am very excited to introduce you to an exceptional new author on Literotica, Gorza. I've loved both of his first two stories. Today I want to direct you to Mouse's Maiden Voyage.
Naoko: Yes, yes darling, but his footwork, and that habit of dropping the shoulders. You must keep the topline ... oh sorry, wrong script.
Curl: This is the story of a delightful French female astronaut on the International Space Station. The ISS orbits around the earth and provides an almost "weightless" environment, and you've probably seen videos of astronauts floating around inside. Since I am the science nerd side of this review, I can gush about the technical side of this story.
My very first thought when reading Mouse's Maiden Voyage was: "Hot damn! Somebody's FINALLY nailed the description of sex in zero gravity!" ... And... I can't even remember reading any other descriptions of sex in zero gravity. This one is SO good, I just assumed it trumped all others. (I apologize in advance to all the authors whose stories about sex in zero gravity I haven't read. Send me a link and I will be very happy to read them too.)
Second thought was not as a science nerd, just a frequent reader of sex stories: "Hot damn! That's some sexy story about a woman's first time." Yes indeed, our plucky female French astronaut has been so busy with her career that she hasn't taken time out for relationships. With some pensive time on her hands, she decides to use the two male astronauts on the ISS to experience some first sexual joys.
The techie side of me was entranced by the plausible description of sex in zero gravity. The arousable side of me was entranced by the hot description of this two-on-one deflowering. I liked the fact that Mouse is a petite and athletic protagonist; an intelligent and capable woman at the top of her profession. She has the confidence to initiate this first sexual encounter on her own terms.
I was EXTREMELY impressed by the quality of Gorza's writing. Very few first-contributions to Literotica read so well. I liked the skill with which he used two non-English languages and also non-native-speaker phrasings of English. His writing is seamless; so skilled that I can forget I am reading and just savor the experience. (I did have a brief email exchange with Gorza about the captivating discussions between the characters, in which he explained that he translated the English thoughts into French or Russian and then back into English to get a sense of which words could remain non-English, and what their attempts at English would sound like for these foreign-language speakers.)
I liked the level of "foreplay": there are lots of non-penetrative sexual activities that are both fun and arousing. The penetrative activities were extremely hot. Oh, and they actually had fun and arousing conversations during sex -- What a concept!
Naoko: Right, well, as curl gushes - one way or another (wink), I'll bring things down to earth.
curl is right, Gorza writes with exceptional fluid skill (I'm not just talking about the unusual use to which intergalactic wet wipes are put here). This is a hot story written with aplomb. Because it's so good, I'm going to pick on a couple of glitches which could be addressed to make this a much stronger piece of work - a powerful feminist fable as well as a damn Hot story.
Hopefully I'm not becoming one those annoying Anonymous commentators who read your story about vampires and complain that there was no wooden-legged man in it (that being their particular fetish). Who say: why didn't you make the hero take a short walk in the Carpathian Mountains? It would be much better if he met a feisty goatherd! (ignoring the fact that he has ravished a whole village of maidens in a thoroughly heteronormative fashion; I mean heteronormative apart from the sucking blood thing). Oh well, here goes.
The key problems here are: backstory for Mouse, and the lack of dynamism because neither the plot nor the character development is sufficiently exploited. Gorza is such a good writer that he glides over these major problems. With due respect, your average Literotica reader isn't likely to comment on these matters but I think the slackness in the storyline is probably the reason that out of Gorza's three current stories, this one doesn't have a red H.
Mouse is a convincing and likeable character, recognisably French in her brisk and businesslike way. She and her fellow astronauts are a good mix and provide good contrast, setting each other off well.
Mouse describes herself as asexual, but she comes across like a pretty butch, e.g. when as a young woman she poses for photos in her uniform. How did she come to be detached from her sexuality? Gorza has her just shrug her shoulders. C'est la vie. You can tell it is an issue, though, as he spends quite a long time saying it's just how it is, right at the beginning of the story.
Gorza gives away the story straightaway: "Ouai, I lost my virginity in orbit... in space...," Mouse boasts casually. From that point, the story is floating in zero gravity: there is no potential for forward momentum. Gorza could still have dynamism while chucking away the plot: Yes, chaps, the central character is going to have first time sex in space!!!, if he established it as a question how she came to be a virgin so late in life.
This psychological bump and grind continues in the conversations which lead up to Mouse's asking herself to be deflowered. One colleague says she can come to him for recommendations about prostitutes in his home town. She says: Remember I'm a woman. He and the other colleague ask about the men in her life and are incredulous when she says there's no one. They scold her, saying there is something in all humans that longs for sexual intimacy. Mouse has a bit of solo fun that night. Next day she suggests the two guys help her out. She mentions that she masturbated the night before. The one colleague says he often masturbates. There is an authorial aside about the other two being used to his vulgarities by now.
Gah, seriously! It's like a jigsaw puzzle where the picture looks OK but some of the pieces are not in the right places. Writers often say: Show don't tell. The note about the guy being vulgar needs to go in way earlier - we know by now that he is a bit of a lad; Gorza has shown us by having him josh about rudely. Telling us about it at this late stage is just irritating.
Then there is a bit when Mouse says she has not really been kissed, the vulgar colleague launches at her and snogs her jokingly but it goes wrong. All three of us suddenly felt rather uncomfortable about the situation. Really, you amaze me.
What did Mouse feel? Suddenly she has got a super-intelligent super-fit flirtatious man pressing her up against the side of the Space Station in a kiss that was meant to be brotherly and went a bit wrong. (*gulp!*) If Gorza went into Mouse's feelings, they might explain why she propositions two guys at once the next day, after years of not caring about sex.
It happens that by great good luck *heavily sarcastic tone of voice* I have a possible answer to why a woman like Mouse might have shut her sexuality up in a box marked: 'Property of Pandora'. I am myself a woman who works in what are sometimes called the 'soft' sciences, and my Piglet aspires to be a 'real' scientist - y'know one of those people who wear white coats in labs. (I just have glasses I look over and I talk a lot about method - not in the same breath as the word 'rhythm' usually.)
Anyway, the other day, Piglet came home very upset and said one of the boys had said girls are stupid and have no place in Science Club. (I wonder why she is the only girl in her year to join :rolleyes:)
Maybe you think she was a bit of a numpty to get so upset? Maybe she should shrug her shoulders and go: "C'est la vie, there are idiots everywhere," and ignore him. Unfortunately, she knows the boy. He is slightly older, highly intelligent and probably will grow up to be astronaut material. (Not an idiot.)
Plus, Piglet - who was the only girl in the troop - had comments made about girls not being blahdiblah in cub scouts too. Akeela for Piglet's troop was the kind of Rubenesque blonde I would not personally dream of making demeaning remarks about women anywhere near. She came down pretty hard on that boy but Piglet always felt like an outsider.
All through junior school, Piglet had school reports saying how kind she is, what a good classmate, how polite to the teacher, but not saying much about her maths abilities or her highly variable spelling test scores. Honestly, I too thought she was a bit thick - which is fine, she is my own Piglet whatever, then the little blighter scored a Merit in a very tough music exam and I realised that she was just pretending. Fed up with her clinging on in the top spelling group by her fingernails, I offered her a tenner if she could get a perfect score in her next spelling test. She immediately did it. (This was a bit dumb, as it means that whenever she comes home now with a less than excellent score, I remind her that she was able to hit the top mark when bribed so should still be able to do it without having banknotes waved at her.)
I can't hand on heart tell Piglet things are going to get better as she has seen me come home fuming after men told me I was no good at statistics (I only teach it after all), research (former Deputy Director of a Research Centre) and equalities (only taught it at postgraduate and undergraduate levels, and wrote a national review on education and equalities, what do I know - apart from my extensive personal experience of discrimination OF COURSE). In fact so many people looked at me with such incredulity when I applied for new jobs that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, I started to believe I wasn't very good at this stuff myself.
What happens to women whose presence in certain groups is questioned from very young in life? Who from very young continually see that there is a stark choice between being shoved into an undervalued feminine world as wife and mother, or battling to be part of a masculine world of science and adventure? It does not stop when you move on up to the grownup equivalent of Science Club, unfortunately. Ludmilla Jordanova has written about women in the Paris medical school in France walking past a statue of a naked woman entitled: Nature Unveiling Herself Before Science. (The article online from which this illustration is drawn places the medical school in Bordeaux.) She quotes the philosopher of science Feyerabend explaining why scientists (he means heterosexual men) should choose his new cool school of science:
Such a development, far from being undesirable, changes science from a stern and demanding mistress into an attractive and yielding courtesan who tries to anticipate every wish of her lover. Of course, it is up to us to choose either a dragon or a pussy cat for our company.
Recently the Nobel Prize winning scientist Tim Hunt had to be sacked, after commenting that mixed gender laboratories shouldn't be allowed because women scientists cry too much, and are distractingly sexy. How did that make women scientists feel? Many of them responded with great humour (and distracting sexiness) in the Twitter feed #distractinglysexy. ("Some call me a dirty girl, others a soil scientist ...")
|From The Easterner (Eastern Washington |
University student paper).
At the heart of this story is a lack of tension, of elasticity, of snap. Gorza gave away the endpoint of the story, we know the heroine is going to have sex in space. He didn't take up the opportunity for the psychological development of the characters, for us to explore with Mouse why she might feel shy of sex and intimacy, for her and us to feel that sharp satisfying snap as realisation falls into place: of course, it was all because ....
curl is right, mind, this is a damn HOT story, and very enjoyable even if its knickers are falling down because it doesn't have elasticity (wink). The description of cum spraying out in zero gravity is mesmerising and the characters are all great fun. Go! read it and enjoy this exciting new writer on the block.
PS Gorza originally asked for a different story of his to be reviewed - which I promise we will get onto as well. He thought this one wouldn't count as safe sex. I should call it risky rather than unsafe. It certainly shows that you should never go anywhere without a condom. You never know - even on the International Space Station, you could bump into someone distractingly sexy. Then you want to be able to just fall back with your legs in the air, not fall back on the 'withdrawal method'. Not all of us have the self discipline of a NASA trained astronaut.(*wistful sigh*! wink)