A while back, some wag left a comment on one of my Quora answers stating that I am, quote, “incompatible with Biblical morality.”
Which is a fair cop and no mistake. I mean, he thought he was being insulting, but there it is: I am indeed incompatible with Biblical morality.
So I made a T-shirt.
I put this on my social media, and right away people started messaging me to say they wanted one. Which isn’t what I expected—it’s a rather odd thing to say, which is part of why I made it a shirt—but hey, apparently there are a lot of us.
In which our hero has alien sex toys scanned for bombs, and urethral sounds confiscated…
Okay, so. I travel a bit, sometimes internationally, and so it was I found myself jetting off to Barcelona for a vacation with the extended polyamorous family a few months back.
I have, as those who follow this blog know, been working for several years on a Xenomorph Hiphugger Strapon, inspired by (a) my lifelong fear of the alien from Alien (a movie my parents took me to when I was, like, 11 or 12 or something, thinking it was like a new Star Wars…no exaggeration, I had nightmares aout that alien for more than 30 years after), and (b) a suggestion by my wife that I should make a sex toy inspired by the alien, because she loves to push my buttons.
In fact, a photo of one of the early prototypes ended up going mad viral on the Internet, and I’m told has even been uploaded to the official Sigorney Weaver fan page, which means Ms. Weaver has likely seen it. 0.o
I cast four prototype xenomorph hiphugger strapons and one xenomorph facehugger gag in the runup to Barcelona, with the idea that having multiple lovers in the same space would be a fine opportunity for a xenomorph gangbang, truly a test of the design.
So it was I packed all these xenomorph hiphuggers in my luggage and jetted off to Springfield, MO, to meet my Talespinner, who would be accompanying me to Spain.
You would not believe what this looked like on the X-ray. Sadly, they refused to allow me to take a pic.
The problem started quite early. Whilst carrying my luggage aboard the plane, the X-ray showed a suitcase absolutely packed with aggressive alien endoparasites, which, as you might imagine, elicited some…excitement at screening. (I didn’t put them in my checked bag because it was mainly filled with photographic gear and clothes.)
The bag got bounced, the TSA checker opened the lid, and gentle reader, if I could have photographed his expression and shown it to you, you would know that it is possible for surprise to take on human form.
Within minutes, there was a crowd around the table: the TSA inspector, the woman running the X-ray, and two other people, all of them staring in slack-jawed astonishment. The TSA checker called for his superior, who was like “What the…?” One of the other TSA screeners said “Holy shit, that looks like the alien from the Alien movies!”
TSA screener: “Should I—”
And then they, hand to God, scanned the hiphuggers for explosives.
Eventually convinced the hiphuggers weren’t actually bombs, they allowed me to board, where I sat in a chair that through the miracle of Science flew through the air.
But that’s not the end of the story, oh my no.
When the time came for us to head from Springfield to Barcelona, I re-packed everything, in no small part because of the way TSA freaked out about the xenomorphs, but also prompted by the need to rearrange in order to fit two rather large studio lights for the xenomorph photo shoot we had planned. (That was an adventure in itself; the tripods for the studio lights were an inch and a half too long to fit the suitcase, but fifteen minutes with a hacksaw soon fixed that.)
We set off for the airport, confident that this TSA experience would be far smoother. Alas, it was not to be.
During the rearranging, I’d put the more conventional sex toy kit in my carryon whilst the hiphuggers ent in checked baggage with the studio lights, UV-reactive body paints, UV blacklight, and other miscellaneous orgy supplies.
I did not know, Gentle Reader, I did not suspect, that I had planted the seeds of my own undoing.
For you see, in my conventional sex toy kit I’d placed my collection of sounds. If oyu don’t know what those are, I won’t disturb you with the details, except to say that I had about ten or fifteen and they looked like this:
The TSA guy…
…confiscated and threw away the sounds.
When I asked him why, he looked me straight in the eye and told me, you could stab someone with them.”
You. Could. Stab. Someone. With. Them.
Words…words fail. Whatever danger these may pose as a weapon, Gentle Reader, let me assure you that the 100% sustainably made, biodegradable wood cutlery they gave us aboard the plane would be a far better stabby weapon in every single axis.At this point, it’s hard to escape the perhaps paranoid conclusion that my name exists on some TSA list somewhere. I had a slab of Barcelonan chocolate in my computer bag on the way home and it got scanned for explosives every single time I went through security.
I’ve now been back from Barcelona for a week, but I still don’t have my luggage (thanks, WestJet!). I’m way, waaaaay behind on processing and posting photos from the trip, including from the two days I spent at the Sagrada Familia (which was magnificent beyond what I ever imagined), so here’s a quick teaser from a Barcelona photo shoot of the alien xenomorph hiphugger Borg Queen parasite.
A few days ago I uploaded a smartphone pic of my wife being test-fit with the alien xenomorph hiphugger strapon to Twitter and Facebook. I’m in Florida right now taking care of my mom, so I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity to do a test fitting of the latest prototype with her.
I posted this photo:
…and man, the Internet exploded. I woke up this morning to find the Facebook pic had been shared almost a thousand times (including, I’m told, on the official Sigorney Weaver fan site?), my inbox was jammed with people asking where they can get one, and two OnlyFans performers and an adult toy store owner wanted to talk with me.
So I think it’s time for…
The Official Borg Queen Alien Xenomorph Hiphigger Strapon Frequently Asked Questions!
Ready? Here we go!
1. What is this thing?
It’s all Joreth’s fault is what it is.
Go back in time to 1977. I saw Star Wars as a kid on opening night, and for the next five years I was obsessed. I had Star Wars trading cards, Star Wars models, Star Wars everything.
So when the movie Alien came out in 1979, my parents were like he loves Star Wars, this is a space movie, he’ll love Alien.
So they took a kid. To see Alien. I had nightmares about it for the next thirty years. I still do occasionally. The creature from Alien is the shape of all my fears.
When we started planning a get-togther of the extended polyamorous network back in 2018 (interrupted by COVID), Joreth was like “you’re terrified of the creature from Alien, right? I love pushing your buttons! You should design a strapon based on that creature! And for extra horror, I can wear Star Trek Borg Queen cosplay with it!”
And thus was born the Alien Xenomorph Hiphugger Strapon, a project I’ve been working on for about four years now.
2. Okay, okay, but the real question: Where can I get one?
Ah, now that’s a question!
So okay, here’s the thing. Right now, four prototypes exist. The test-fit revealed a design flaw in the harness, which I’m fixing.
Each prototype takes about $80-$90 worth of silicone and about three days of work to make, which is a way of saying that if I make them for sale, they’re going to be very expensive. Every one is hand-made, and the process is a beast. (Also, these things are heavy! That’s a huge honkin’ bit o’ silicone.)
How expensive? I don’t know yet.
Where can you get them? Right now, I’m open for commissions over at my new Web site, Tentacle Love.
I’ve scheduled a photo shoot in mid-May with a model I’m really looking forward to working with, so look for a site redesign, and more information about the Xenomorph Hiphugger Strapon, in June.
Note: I am considering making designs available at reduced cost for OnlyFans models, porn performers, and porn studios, in exchange for a link back to the tentacle.love website.
3. What is it made of?
The hiphugger itself is 100% medical-grade, body-safe silicone. The straps are nylon, anchored to a steel ring in the body. The tube is food-grade silicone.
4. How does it work?
The straps are riveted to a steel ring inside the body of the hiphugger and go around the wearer’s hips. (I’m modifying the design so that instead of two straps around your hips, there’s one strap around your waist and one around each leg.)
There’s a food-grade silicone tube through the tail, attached to a (rather large) reservoir. The reservoir might need to be smaller; 150ml is a lot of xenomorph slime.
5. Can you make other colors?
Yes. If and when I make these for sale, they can be any color you like.
6. Why on earth…??
I’m terrified of the alien from Alien. My wife likes pushing my buttons. The extended polyamorous network is having a get-together next month, so we* have planned a Borg Queen Xenomorph Gangbang.
I legit never expected the idea of an alien xenomorph sex toy to blow up like it did.
* By which I mean my wife, my girlfriend, and my crush, with participation from my Talespinner, which is why there are four prototypes.
7. Star Trek and Alien? Isn’t that crossing the streams? You never cross the streams!
Have you seen the Borg Queen?
If that’s not an organism begging to be parasitized by the alien, I don’t know what is.
Of course, all the mechanization might interfere with the normal alien reproductive cycle. So rather than the facehugger attaching to the Borg Queen’s face and planting an embryo in its chest, it attaches to the Borg Queen’s hips, where it controls the Borg Queen’s mind, filling her with an unnatural, unslakeable lust, a burning desire to spread the xenomorph’s eggs through its ovipositor. The Borg Queen can think of nothing save the indescribable pleasure that floods every corner of her being when she finds a new host for the xenomorph that now controls her mind.
Joreth is working on a cosplay costume that combines elements of xenomorph and borg design. I’m 3D printing parts of it—I’ve learned to 3D print parts directly bonded to tulle, so she can sew them onto the costume.
8. Is there a facehugger version?
Yes! It’s not as far along; I’ve been working on it for less than a year, and only one early-stage prototype exists.
The facehugger legs wrap around the wearer’s head and are secured by straps. The tail goes around the wearer’s neck, of course, and the ovipositor…well, you know.
The ovipositor is made of a different, soft silicone—the type fleshlights are made from—so it feels very soft and horrifyingly flesh-like in the mouth.
9. These look like they’re designed to squirt. So…what do they squirt?
Glad you asked.
That’s also been an area of ongoing research. I’ve worked on developing an appropriately horrifying material to squirt, because of course, the aliens are known for their slime.
What I’ve come up with is a mix of edible lube, food coloring, and cooked mini tapioca pearls. It’s awful.
I’ve made it transparent and in all kinds of colors. I think the green is the worst. Just the thing for your alien egg ovipositor needs.
For those who prefer reproductive fluid in a more traditional color, or who want something perhaps more suitable for oral ovipositor use, a mix of milk, heavy cream, and tapioca pearls is suitably awful.
The facehugger is especially bad because the ovipositor is so soft it swells and then…wriggles when the tapioca pearls go through it.
10. How on earth did you make this thing?
Okay, now that is a loooong story. If you want to know the geeky technical stuff, read on! If the nerdy bit doesn’t interest you feel free to skip this part.
When Joreth first approached me with the idea, I used a 3D modeling program called Blender to make a facehugger. I made the tail into a dildo, then 3D printed a hard plastic version so I could get a sense of scale, because it’s hard to tell in a computer.
I printed several versions, using each one to make adjustments to the design until it was the size and shape I wanted.
It went through five or six design revisions before I got a version I was happy with.
I took the model into a program called Meshmixer to make a mold for casting silicone, then 3D printed the mold.
I actually had to get an oversized 3D printer to make the mold, because it’s so big! A normal consumer 3D printer isn’t even close to large enough. The hiphugger uses a 5-part mold; the facehugger uses a 10-part mold.
I couldn’t figure out how to cast something this complex; a normal split mold doesn’t work because the tail and the ovipositor actually connect to the body at different angles in a way that makes a traditional multi-cavity mold impossible. As near as I can tell, I’ve invented three new silicone casting techniques in the process of making this thing!
Each one is cast in several stages. The hiphugger requires three separate pours, with the silicone curing between each pour. The facehugger requires five pours with two different types of silicone.
I’me now on version 7 of the mold, with a new version 8 coming to make the harness work better.
I tried to do a different thing, but I couldn’t do the thing I wanted to do that was different from the thing I did, so I did the thing instead. Then I did the other thing, too, so…things got done.
It started yesterday morning, when I woke intending to post a new episode of the Skeptical Pervert podcast, this one looking at sex work in different cultures. But what to my wondering eye should show up, but a database server error at my webhosting provider. As I waited for them to fix the problem, I…amused. Yes, that’s the word we’ll use. I amused myself by writing a quick and crude web page that generates random horror poetry and pairs it with a random tentacle image generated by a Stable Diffusion AI generator.
It’s still quite primitive, but it looks like this:
You can, if this strikes your fancy, check it out here:
Well, technically, I suppose, it’s a drawing of a tooth. (ce n’est pas une dent.) Still, it gets across the idea. A tooth has a particular shape vaguely like this, and, as all fools know, a tooth (at least the ones in the back) has two roots.
So gather ’round, it’s time for a story.
Let’s set the Wayback machine to, like, 1999 or so. I had a root canal done on one of these. A root canal is a rather unpleasant procedure in which a hole is drilled in the top, the nerve inside and down the roots is reamed out and then filled in with…well, I don’t know what it’s filled in with. Concrete, maybe. Something. And then a crown is stuck on the top.
Anyway, I had this done, and for years afterward every visit to a dentist was kind of a variation on the same theme:
Dentist: *takes X-rays.*
Dentist: *looks at the X-rays*
Dentist: “Ah, I see a root canal. Wait, hang on, there’s a weird shadow. It looks kinda like…hmm, not an abcess, it’s just…what is that?”
Dentist: *hammers on my tooth with a little metal thing*
Dentist: *Touches my tooth with an ice cube*
Dentist: “Does that hurt?”
Dentist: *shrugs* “Huh, weird. Whatever.”
That’s our backstory. Our tale takes place yesterday, when I’m in an office working on having a crown (a different crown) replaced because it’s failed. Cue the normal X-rays, “hmm that’s strange,” only this time, something changes.
This time, I have a dentist whose mind is fueled by the desire to Know. A dentist not content to shrug and say “weird, whatever.” A dentist illuminated by the blazing light of curiosity that dragged our ancestors from the trees and sent them across the savannah to invent tools like spears and slings and particle accelerators, all because “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” isn’t a good enough answer. He’s like, weird, something strange here, let’s look further.
Now, molars have two roots. Everyone knows this. One tooth, two roots.
Except that he does a bunch of X-rays from different angles and guess what? Fuck me dead, that tooth I got the root canal on, it has three roots.
And the dentist who did the root canal, he missed that.
Loooong story short, over the past twenty-something years, that unfilled third root has been quietly accumulating cruft like old FORTRAN code, and now they need to fix it.
But apparently they don’t want to remove the crown—not sure why, but for whatever reason they have to leave the crown on, which is made of metal by the way, drill through it, and re-do the root canal.
Anyway, my dentist was all “This is way above my pay grade, you’re gonna need a specialist for this. Oh, if they can’t drill straight through the crown, the other option is to go at it from underneath, which means they drill a hole through your jaw into the bottom of the tooth, fix the root, then put a bone graft in the hole.” Which, I mean, I’m no medical professional, but that sounds straight out of a Stephen King novel. “The Toothening,” something.
Let’s set the Wayback Machine to December of 2004. My then-partner Shelly, at the time a big fan of video games, said “hey, there’s a new MMO out, we should play!”
“Cool!” said I, “what’s an MMO?”
The new MMO was, of course, a game called World of Warcraft, in a genre I’d never before heard of. (A video game you play online with thousands of players? Whoa!)
Since I knew exactly fuckall about MMOs, I said I was in as long as I could play a character with a mohawk. I had no idea what kind of character to try, so Shelly said “Play a warrior, they’re usually pretty easy.” And thus was Ragnarokkr born: a troll warrior with a Mohawk.
I’m not sure how I ended up in a guild. I think Shelly knew someone who knew some folks who’d started it, something like that. Anyhow, we ended up joining a guild called Clan BOB on a server called Medivh, and spent countless hours over the next year or so running through dungeons and walking the endless desert of the Barrens.
To this day, this music still transports me back to a certain very specific place and time
It took the better part of a year to get to the highest level, though part of that was we didn’t realize if you log off in an inn you get double XP for a while.
We spent so many hours, so many hours, running through Blackrock Depths with the rest of the guild, just generally having a blast. I rolled a hunter alt named Margath just to see what this whole notion of a “pet class” was all about, but Ragnarokkr (or “Rags,” as the guildies affectionately called him) was me in this weird new world.
Then the worst thing that could have happened, happened: success.
The co-founders of Clan BOB created what was one of the first, if not the first, World of Warcraft Webcomic, “Life of Riley.” It turned into a runaway hit, and some kind of Drama ensued. I never got the full story, but there were server problems and, I’m told from sources that may or may not be reliable, fights over money the comic was bringing in.
Anyway, the founders quit, on (again I’m told) bad terms, there was bad blood all around, the guild collapsed, I rolled Alliance characters on Eonar, and that was that.
Years later, I moved to Atlanta while Shelly went off to Tallahassee for her graduate degree. She got in touch with me to say she’d moved her undead healer to a different server, and would I like to play WoW with her again? I said sure, paid to move Rags to her new server, and joined her new guild.
We played for a few months before she quit the game again, so I went back to my Alliance characters.
Fast forward to 2019. World of Warcraft has its fifteenth anniversary. Characters who logged in got special bonuses, including a “15th anniversary” balloon.
I logged on to all my old characters, including poor forgotten Margath. I was astonished to find he was still a member of the Clan BOB guild, and even more astonished when I opened the guild registry to see if any old friends were playing and saw a message saying the guild leaders hadn’t logged on for an extended period of time, would I like to take over the guild? I clicked yes, logged off, and went about my day.
World of Warcraft is in a kind of lull period between content updates right now. I’ve raised several characters to the highest level, run my main (a worgen boomkin named Ortin) through the current highest-level raid dungeon, and the leader of my raiding guild isn’t running raids at the moment because of some sort of personal family thing he’s dealing with.
So I turned my attention back to Rags, my old, old, character from way back.
I transferred him back to Medivh, brought him back into Clan BOB, and brought him up to max level—something that only took a week of casual play rather than the year it took the first time round, as Blizzard has drastically streamlined the leveling process.
Then I geared him up and ran the current top-tier raid a few times, just for old times’ sake.
When I look at the Clan BOB character roster, it’s a sad and tragic thing:
Last login: 15 years ago, 13 years ago, 10 years ago. Ah, how the past crumbles into dust.
So I now find myself in the weird position of being the owner and sole active member of a once-legendary World of Warcraft guild with a long history. I can’t even find out if the original owners still play the game at all; a search for their character names on the WoW character database turns up nothing, suggesting they have deleted their characters or possibly deleted their accounts.
And I’m not sure what to do with it. A part of me wants to resurrect the guild again, maybe build it into a raiding guild once more, but that’s a lot of work and I don’t have time. (That’s the thing about being a full-time writer; it’s not an 8-hour-a-day, 5-day-a-week job. Eunice and I are currently, as of mid-December 2021, on track to have written three novels this year.)
But I still want to see this once-proud guild rise again from the ashes, like a phoenix from Tempest Keep.
I’ve been thinking a lot about machine learning lately. Take a look at these images:
These people do not exist. They’re generated by a neural net program at thispersondoesnotexist.com, a site that uses Nvidia’s StyleGAN to generate images of faces.
StyleGAN is a generative adversarial network, a neural network that was trained on hundreds of thousands of photos of faces. The network generated images of faces, which were compared with existing photos by another part of the same program (the “adversarial” part). If the matches looked good, those parts of the network were strengthened; if not, they were weakened. And so, over many iterations, its ability to create faces grew.
If you look closely at these faces, there’s something a little…off about them. They don’t look quiiiiite right, especially where clothing is concerned (look at the shoulder of the man in the upper left).
There are ways you can spot StyleGAN generated faces. For example, the people at This Person Does Not Exist found that the eyes tended to look weird, detached from the faces, so the researchers fixed the problem in a brute-force but clever way: they trained the Style GAN to put the eyes in the same place on every face, regardless of which way it was turned. Faces generated at TPDNE always have the major features in the same place: eyes the same distance apart, nose in the same place, and so on.
Okay, so what happens if you train a GAN on images that aren’t faces?
That turns out to be a lot harder. The real trick there is tagging the images, so the GAN knows what it’s looking at. That way you can, for example, teach it to give you a building when you ask it for a building, a face when you ask it for a face, and a cat when you ask it for a cat.
And that’s exactly what the folks at WOMBO have done. The WOMBO Dream app generates random images from any words or phrases you give it.
And I do mean “any” words or phrases.
It can generate cityscapes:
On and on, endless varieties of images…I can play with it for hours (and I have!).
And believe me when I say it can generate images for anything you can think of. I’ve tried to throw things at it to stump it, and it’s always produced something that looks in some way related to whatever I’ve tossed its way.
War on Christmas? It’s got you covered:
I’ve even tried “Father Christmas encased in Giger sex tentacle:”
Not a bad effort, all things considered.
But here’s the thing:
If you look at these images, they’re all emotionally evocative; they all seem to get the essence of what you’re aiming at, but they lack detail. The parts don’t always fit together right. “Dream” is a good name: the images the GAN produces are hazy, dreamlike, insubstantial, without focus or particular features. The GAN clearly does not understand anything it creates.
And still, if artist twenty years ago had developed this particular style the old-fashioned way, I have no doubt that he or she or they would have become very popular indeed. AI is catching up to human capability in domains we have long thought required some spark of human essence, and doing it scary fast.
I’ve been chewing on what makes WOMBO Dream images so evocative. Is it simply promiscuous pattern recognition? The AI creating novel patterns we’ve never seen before by chewing up and spitting out fragments of things it doesn’t understand, causing us to dig for meaning where there isn’t any?
Given how fast generative machine learning programs are progressing, I am confident I will live to see AI-generated art that is as good as anything a human can do. And yet, I still don’t think the machines that create it will have any understanding of what they’re creating.
That feeling when you wake up one morning to find a book you’ve written is featured on a TV show about serial killers…yes, that’s a thing.
I don’t watch TV shows about serial killers. I honestly didn’t even know the TV show You existed. If you’re similarly unaware of the vagarities of popular entertainment, it’s a show about a serial killer who stalks and murders women. In the third season, he marries another serial killer and they stalk and rape women together. Yes, that’s also a thing.
So imagine my surprise when I woke to learn that a recent episode featured my book More Than Two, and the most hilariously awful attempt at group sex ever imagined by Hollywood, which has a long history of pretty flippin’ awful depictions of group sex.
The episode isn’t as big a trainwreck as you’re probably imagining. Oh, no. It’s worse.
Anyway, I have a lot of complicated feels about this, which I talk about here:
I was out on the porch enjoying the lovely Portland weather this morning when the postman came by with the advance review copies of my new novel, Black Iron,, straight from the publisher.
No, it’s not about polyamory. Not at all.
So what’s it about? Well, that’s kinda hard to say. It’s a bit steampunk, if you interpret “steampunk” very loosely. It’s about a heist, kind of. Well, it’s really a murder mystery, sort of. No, wait, that’s not quite it. It’s a story of political intrigue, in a manner of speaking.
Think Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books or Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only set in an alternate 19th-century London where there’s no British empire and the British don’t drink tea. (Joreth read the first draft and described it this way: “Imagine if Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman had a love child who grew up on a steady diet of George RR Martin.”)
It’s the same kind of loopy, over-the-top humor that you see in books like Night Watch or Hitchhiker’s Guide, the sort of absurdist comedy that’s really social commentary.
There’s a petty thief and a princess, of course, because if you have a 19th-century heist political intrigue steampunk murder mystery, you have to have a petty thief and a princess—it’s required by law. There are undead things, after a fashion. There’s a cameo by Doctor Frankenstein; in this world, his experiments worked, but not quiiiiiiiite the way he expected them to.
There are airships. The New World colonies are still colonies. Oh, and people die, because we now live in a world where Game of Thrones is a thing, so gone are the assumptions that sympathetic characters are immune to being killed.