Sunday, February 15, 2015

After all, real-world drones are male

This post is a two-fer, with both halves involving drones. First I'll give you a tantalizing book passage, and then I'll share some personal stuff.

My fetishist friends and I write about female drones because we get off on the idea of women being depersonalized and controlled. But of course, in real life, the drones in a hive are male. The bees that leave the hive and actually work are female, while the drones are pretty much just sex toys for the queen.

With that in mind, let me share a passage from a book I read recently called The Honey Month. The author received a month's worth of exotic honey samples, tried one a day, and used its color/smell/taste as inspiration for some pretty freaky vignettes. Some are fantasy, some are SF, some are skewed just a little bit off normal, and then there's this one - which I'd say classifies as horror. Don't be fooled by the badassery at the beginning of the story. This man's fate is not what you expect.

Cranberry Creamed Honey

Colour: Dark amber, cognac. Funny to me how I have such boozy associations, but they are apt.
Smell: There’s a sharpness, a resinousness to this. It’s also very liquidy.
Taste: A definite cranberry tartness, but the honey taste dominates; the tartness limns it, darts around its edges, makes it one of the more refreshing honeys I’ve tried. I think of pine, strangely, redwood; tasting it is like walking a forest path.
     There is fire in his wrists, fire in his sharp-shod walk, fire beneath his fingernails. He is red, redder than rowan berries, for rowan doesn’t bleed as cranberries do, and it is cranberries that he gathers, that he stews and crushes, cranberries in which he steeps his skin. Lacking a Mithrasian bull, he takes them, bathes in them, rinses his hair red-black, seeking transcendence.
     It is not white, he says, that is pure. It is not black. It is red, because it moves, it changes, and it keeps itself always. It is not static as fossilized wood, not delicate as new-fallen snow. When red seeks to be its truest self, it is in motion. It fears no change.
     He has shrugged at Paracelsus, at Tarot cards, at accusations of devilry. Red is his religion. He squeezes berry juice onto his eyelids, swallows it nine times a day, thrice at each meal. He wants the redness to spill from him like a scent, that in walking the forest paths the sleeping deer and wolves and rabbits will come to dream in garnet tones, will tremble and flush at the thought of pursuit, the game of the chase.
     The bees dream red when he passes.
     When they wake, their queen begins to wail. She needs it, she says, that red of reds that walks the woods like a shadow. The bees are dutiful, and go.
     They find him, but do not know how to scrape the redness from him, cannot brush it against their bodies, cannot gather it like pollen. In vain they stamp his cranberry cheeks, in vain they buzz his cranberry ears. They cannot take a piece of him back to the hive.
     Meantime he is beset by a phalanx of black-ribbed gold, drowns in the drone of their discontent. He swats at them, rages at them, gathers stings against the back of his hand, the curve of his elbow. What are these that come to gild his redness, limn his red thoughts with their bright noise? What are these that dare change his red shadow’s shape, settling and rising like clouds at sea?
     They madden him. They do not mean to. They hardly know that they are pushing him, driving him, herding the redness of him homeward.
     Enough, says the queen, while he weeps in great red sobs. Enough, that is enough. She does not need to leave her childbed to imbibe him, only needs him to stay in the comb of her children’s bodies, stay and share his colour with her. He cannot but comply.
     She dreams, and her workers pour red into their gold, raise larvae with rust-red bodies, make honey heady as the setting sun. They weave it into their songs and dance its colour into the air they breathe. There is an orange to them, an amber, now – never quite red, for it is not the cranberry they love, but the shaping of their gold, the change, the sharpened edges to their queen’s dreams.
     He is in all they do, their most precious drone; they love him like a fine day. They look after him in their fashion. The bees go out, burrow into their sisters’ bodies, sing their gladdest thanks against his lips. They go bearing their darkest honey, the densest, the best, the closest to the red they can never quite achieve, the redness that is his, only his. One by one, they place a drop on his tongue like a sacrament.
    It is never red enough.

And now for something more personal. If you've been following my blog long enough, you know I'm a gigantic Muse fan. Well, the band has a new album coming out soon, and apparently it's going to be called Drones. They've been releasing teaser art with the guys sporting glistening black eyes and all the identifying information from the original pictures scribbled out.

I'm not just imagining, am I, that the theme of the new album is depersonalization? In fact, it might even be about outright brainwashing. That's a topic the band has explored before. Front man Matt Bellamy is a fan of conspiracy theories; claims to have learned from a book how to brainwash people in real life; and once wrote a song about MK Ultra, a real but thankfully dismantled project by the US military that attempted to rewrite people's minds (I've posted the "MK Ultra" video here a couple of times before, but naturally, I now have to post it again. You're welcome.).

But here's where it gets really personal. You might think I'm thrilled to have my favorite band making an album about my fetish. But seeing pictures of the guys with drone eyes makes me squirm in a way that's not entirely pleasant. It's like having one of those "naked in public" dreams. I feel exposed and kind of...guilty. See, I wouldn't care about seeing celebrities I hate turned into mindless drones, but these are my boys. They're supposed to be the heroes, not the victims. I almost feel like I'm the one doing this to them.

I have no idea whether that makes sense to anyone else or not. Probably it doesn't, but what do you think?


K said...

Who says the drones can't be the heroes/heroines? I seem to recall a story someone collaborated on that was about a heroic little slave protecting her mistress' property. *smirks*

thrall said...

Hah, well, you're right about that story. But Tammy isn't a real, live human being; and she was slated for thralldom before Tabico and I ever started writing. The Muse guys are very real and proudly individualistic. I just can't imagine them enslaved.

On the other hand, Matt does look wonderfully sinister in that picture, so maybe I should think of him as being turned into an alien conqueror. In fact, he'd probably like that image!

K said...

Yep it's all a question of where they fit on the Mahé hierarchy so to speak.