At least twice in my life I’ve had the experience of being overwhelmed by arousal at a fantasy that simply brewed up while on a long walk when my mind had a chance to wander. An early version of the Apsinthion Protocol was one of these; it happened to me as a graduate student walking back from the university library very late (they had kicked me out at closing time, 1 a.m. as I recall). Maybe it was just fatigue or weary confusion from too many hours spent among obscure tomes, but I found myself jogging along through the lonely dark wondering if I would make it home without…well, you know.
(The first time I attempted to write down something like the Apsinthion Protocol happened as a way of distracting myself during a really boring academic colloquium I attended sometime later. I was sitting at the back of the room. Given the extent to which so many academic colloquia resemble collective wanking sessions, perhaps my behavior was less inappropriate than it might otherwise seem.)
Something like Strangeways’s obscene technology, building on the conceit that female orgasm is such a powerful force that properly channeled it can rend the fabric of reality and result in spontaneous teleportation, was also something that inconveniently occurred to me on a long walk, this on a hot summer day, this in search of a video rental outlet that I had heard had a more interesting sci-fi collection than the ones in town. The fantasy that happened then was of subjects who voluntarily did this — there is something about that leap into the unknown that I find astonishingly compelling as fantasy. The conceit (one that Vinnie Tesla has also explored) lies at the base of both Strangeways’s technology and also the very strange ritual that Maureen will eventually learn about.
Promised you I was strange, didn’t I?
(And the trip to that video store? Paid off. I was able to rent a VHS copy of Galaxy of Terror, a cult-fave that’s pretty hard to find.)