Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: Remastering Jerna

October 23, 2009
Remastering Jerna
Ann Somerville
P.D. Publishing, Inc.

'Lo Peoples,

Remastering Jerna is a work of speculative fiction. Kinky and polyamorous people need folktales just like other social groups. It's much more fun for all those involved if we just agree on that point.

I've had years of practice falling for imaginary people.

But then, that's the whole charm of reading fiction isn't it? To me a successful piece of fiction introduces me to a character I'd like to meet. Even rarer is to find a character I'd like to add to my boudoir. What I appreciate most about Jerna Setiq is the dignity he brings to being a male submissive. In a testosterone-driven society, as particularly evidenced in my native States, being a vulnerable man more often earns one unkind names and sneers than being elevated to a literary culturehero.

Shall we say Remastering Jerna reads like Beauty and the Beast meets When Someone You Love is Kinky? Doesn't make the picture clear enough for you? We shall try again. Within the first seventeen pages, Jerna's life as a happily married teacher is wrenched asunder by a sexually precocious student. Dramatic irony lies in the fact Jerna had actually tried to protect the boy from an abusive situation before the tables were turned upon him. Jerna prefers to sacrifice his own good name to safeguard a former lover involved with the student. His own society brands Jerna a pedophile which he is not. He must divorce his beloved wife lest she lose her children.

The prison scenes had their intended chilling effect with Jerna's matter-of-fact exploitation. They prepare the reader subtly for the difference between willing submission founded upon trust that later occurs in the story. Jerna trades his nightmarish prison-detail for whoredom. Imagine the choice between starvation, gang-rape, and being used as disposable labor and white slavery. Throughout his ordeal, Jerna never loses his penchant for kindness towards others. It earns him the affection and respect of fellow sex workers, a doctor, an older client, and a male Dom who requires training himself.

Some might feel the conciliatory ending where Jerna is eventually reunited with wife and children and yet maintains the homosexual relationship he formed with a male Dom incredible. But isn't that the really juicy thing about folktales—when they end with love involved for all?


Her Tangh-i-ness

Note: This copy of Remastering Jerna was acquired in an author-run contest. The reviewer is quite ecstatic that she won it.

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