Author: J. P. Kansas

ISBN: 978-1-937831-95-0

Publisher: A Pink Flamingo Ebook Publication

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. once observed that pornography and science fiction offered readers “fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world.” Andrea At The Center, an erotic novel by J. P. Kansas, meets this criteria in both literary contexts, unfolding as a sort of X-Files Meets Candy (minus Terry Southern’s sense of humor).

Like a bus lurching upon boarding, the story takes off abruptly. A young woman, Andrea, is abducted and imprisoned in a sinister, hermetic environment known as the Center. Here, she is informed, she will stay indefinitely “to become what you are.” It’s a fairly benevolent environment; there are no dungeons or guards or torture devices in sight. It is soon made clear that a major part of her “becoming” involves navigating through a gauntlet of sexual activities.

There are some initial improbabilities in the story: Andrea’s captors inform her that a To Whom It May Concern explanation for her absence has been prepared in her own handwriting with her signature and fingerprints affixed; during her first night at the Center, she enjoys her first-ever female-female romp with a fellow captive, no doubt a case of misery loving company; and, most improbably, she is summoned the next day to partake in a photo session where she primps and preens provocatively for the photographer as if she were a top-tier fashion model rather than a prisoner.

Once all of that is out of the way, however, the story moves along in interesting ways. The Center operates like a small city. There are stores and entertainment venues and research facilities, and Andrea busies herself with her assigned tasks. Sexual role-playing is a part of the regimen, but rather than a one-off dalliance, the parts are played out until those in charge give her a different task to perform. When she runs afoul of the Center’s rules, she discovers just how unsavory the duties can become for those who rebel against the system.

It’s an interesting concept and the story is told in a taut style that keeps things moving. Incredibly, the ratio of “naughty bits” are pretty much one scene per two pages of plot progression. While some may welcome this embarrassment of riches as “more bang for the buck,” like having a bite of dessert for every two bites of a meal, others may find the sex scenes too much of a good thing, slowing down an otherwise compelling tale. To the writer’s credit, the “good parts” are endlessly inventive, economically executed, and never lapse into cliché. One of the last scenes, in fact, is breathtakingly bold and possibly unique within the canon of erotic literature.

I have a hunch that Terry Southern might approve of its audacity.

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