Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quick Thoughts - "Beta Tester"

So my latest erotic publication is "Beta Tester," out now at Torquere Press both as an individual ebook and as part of the Theory of Love Anthology. Definitely explicit m/m content, so be both warned and intrigued.

There is a part of me that just really doesn't know what to do when the theme for an erotic call is Science Fiction. I think all of my erotica has been SFF and normally some of the fun of the non-SFF calls is to find a way to *make them* SFF. Getting a sci fi call, then, was just a little strange. But hey, it's not exactly something that I could pass up. As a SFF writer it's a chance to just explore something I'd want to explore, and this time that meant immersive video games and video game testing. Which, admittedly, I don't know an awful lot about. But then, part of making it in the future is making it more okay to just sort of make things up.

Still, video games are interesting to me, in some ways because they're fun and they're made to be fun and immersive and in some ways because while they show a great imagination at times they also don't. I've been told that video games are the greatest form of storytelling because they allow the player to tell the story. The idea of "open worlds" is a seductive one but one that, ultimately, is illusory. Games are always limited by their rules, by their programming. Anyone who thinks video games are truly free have never been stuck in a world where queer people don't exist. So…

To get back to the story, the main character, Noah, is a tester who doesn't really get on with people. Part of what I wanted to do with him is set up that what makes him good as a tester, mainly finding people's buttons and pushing them, has left him pretty much alone. Couple that with the fact that he doesn't like games as much as he likes breaking them, and he's not exactly in a good place. His one friend is Malik, who is reserved but who makes up for this by embracing games that are unabashedly queer and sexy. It's something that Noah balks at but is secretly interested in and he finally decides to take the plunge (as it were) only to find out that he's been missing something. That he's let fear get in the way of expressing himself and doing things that bring him joy.

Plus, you know, there's the sex.

But I guess what I wanted to do with this story is show that sort of cynicism that Noah has at the beginning, that he's playing games but not really enjoying himself (like many readers of SFF I've seen who decry the genre for not being interesting or fun enough while they won't even consider picking up smut or a book that might have queer content or won't look at short fiction or…well, you get the point). It's only when Noah sees that he's risking the last of his relationships because he doesn't want to be vulnerable or genuine that he decides to take a chance, and absolutely loves what he finds. I hope people like the story. Thanks for reading!

All the best,

Charles Payseur

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