Lust (or No Harm Done) – Geoff Ryman

(lt2Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

The ultimate fantasy? Or a nightmare of self-discovery? Michael Blasco, a young scientist investigating what happens to the brain during the process of learning, suddenly finds himself on the other end of experimentation. On the way home from his lab one night he runs into Tony, a fitness instructor from his gym who he harbors a crush for, on the same platform waiting for the subway. When Michael imagines Tony naked, a pleasant fantasy to spice up a dull journey home, an extraordinary thing happens: Tony strips then and there on the platform and offers himself to Michael in front of all onlookers. Horrified, Michael flees. But back at his apartment, Tony reappears, as if by magic. And disappears again, when Michael wishes him away. Being a scientist, Michael recognizes an experiment when he sees one, and sets out to test the parameters of his newfound gift. In quick succession he conjures up Billie Holliday, Johnny Weismuller, Daffy Duck, Picasso, Sophia Loren, even his younger self.

The world is seemingly there for the taking. But what does Michael really desire? Mad with lust and losing all scientific objectivity, he runs the gamut of his fantasies inventing new lovers and calling up old ones, until, sated and morally bankrupt, he’s forced to confront himself. What happens to the heart when it gets everything it desires?

But when he screws his father – is hat a sort of cross with oedipal complex and ther myth that gays have weak or absent fathers?

lt Quotations:

Then he got up and looked at the curriculum covered by the SAT test, and made a list of American textbooks and thought of joining summer school. And after that there would be nothing to do except loll on the beach all day dreaming of his father. And he would go to the camp, and see his father in the nude, and run with his father and dream with -his father of the life they both wanted to build together.

Driven mad by the imperatives of love, Michael became sure his father wanted the same thing.

As they started the run, Dad slapped Michael’s butt. He looked at Michael in the shower and said, ‘Man, what do you call that thing? Is that a dick? It looks like it belongs on a horse, man!’ His father walked on the pier with an arm on Michael’s shoulder. He hugged him as they watched television.


You don’t want someone real, you don’t want someone made up. Well, love, there’s nothing in between.

So what do you want, Michael?

Love. Again, that’s what I want. Love.

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