I’m thinking of getting a slave. I’ve put an ad in the local paper.
However, I’ve not had many positive responses yet. Unless you count the enquiry I had from the police. But that doesn’t really count because they weren’t willing to supply a candidate for my vacancy. Or tell me where they buy their handcuffs.
Please, let me say here, that I enjoyed The Slave Zone. Granted, it has many of the faults one would expect from a first novel. There are a handful of sentences that a more experienced author would have trimmed, cut or lost completely. However, overall, the novel is competently laid out and tells an intriguing story.
The intriguing story in this case is Lana’s journey from virginity and inexperience to a world of sexual-enslaved-servitude on a Caribbean island. (I have to point out here that Lana is one of my favourite girl’s names: mainly because it’s ‘anal’ spelled backwards). Lana’s story starts off with pathos – her mother dies and her father turns into a shit – but Lana has sufficient spunk to turn things around and take her life in a more satisfying direction.
The more satisfying direction begins with a wet T-shirt competition (which Lana wins). After the consequential induction to sexual slavery, there is a five year gap in the narrative followed by a Fine Form competition at a biker bar in Arizona (which Lana wins).
It would be interesting to analyse here whether Lana’s participation in these contests is the author’s subtle critique on the shortcomings of contemporary society, or simply an excuse to write about tits. We live in a shallow world that advocates the idolisation of physical perfection over spiritual, mental or emotional substance. This is particularly prevalent in the objectification of attractive young women through the medium of beauty pageants, Fine Form competitions and wet T-shirt contests.
In some ways, the inherent sexism is a double-edged sword that inflicts misogyny on a society in a twofold fashion. Initially it is reductive to female participants reducing their contribution to nothing more than appearance – reinforcing the stereotypical sexist ideal that a woman’s only value in society is to look pretty. Secondly, those women participating in the contests contend that the experience is empowering – a view that could be construed as an extension of sexism’s self-subjugation. However, whilst this misogyny could be considered detrimental to the ethos underpinning Fine Form and wet T-shirt contests, it’s also a good chance to see tits, so we shouldn’t consider the experience to be a total loss.
This is not my subtle way of saying that The Slave Zone contains sexism. There will always be an element of some sort of “-ism” in a book about sexual slavery because the dynamic of sub/dom politics requires some sort of power exchange. If the characters were portrayed as being in an interracial relationship it would be deemed racism. If the characters portrayed had an extreme age difference, it would be deemed ageism. If the characters portrayed are of different genders it will either be misandry or misogyny, depending on whether or not it’s a woman striping a man’s backside or a man dominating a woman.
Wolkoff presents the power dynamics of a slave/master relationship with stilted competence and describes a variety of characters of differing genders who take various roles as either dominants or submissives. Admittedly, the tendency in The Slave Zone is for men to be strong and women to be willing but the story’s conclusion shows that Wolkoff has his own ideas about what constitutes real strength in a woman and it’s an innovative conclusion to the story.
At more than 400 pages in length, The Slave Zone presents an epic story of sex and submission. Lana is an intelligent and likeable heroine who knows what she wants and usually gets what she deserves. Her adventures are summarily catalogued and presented in a style that is accessible despite the aforementioned handicaps of first-novel-itis.
I think it’s fair to warn readers of this column that the book is fairly predictable. It's moderately well-written but there is no engagement with the central character on an emotional level. Lana just goes from fuck to fuck without developing as a person and, over 400 pages, you'd expect a better understanding of the character. Or perhaps I’m too jaded from living a life immersed in a mire of erotic fiction?So, in summary, there are two things to remember this month. First, if you want a romp through the world of slaves and sexual submissives, buy The Slave Zone by Peter Wolkoff. And, second, if you fancy experiencing your own personal slave zone, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m still recruiting.