Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Decoration Day
by Edward J. McFadden III

A Mother’s Touch
by Beth Cato

Breathing Space
by J.J. Green

Consarn Christmas
by Eamonn Murphy

Having Robot Sex
by William R.A.D. Funk

by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt

Morphological Understanding
by Jennifer Linnaea

Cloud Cover
by Eric Del Carlo

Abram’s Choice
by Jamie Lackey

by David Barber

Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow
by Clayton J. Callahan


Ho, Ho, Holiday Giving
by Eric M. Jones

On the Antiquity of Man
by A. de Quatrefages




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips





Sex and the Single Droid

DOES PORNOGRAPHY DRIVE SCIENTIFIC advancement? I think it does. But there are many who labor long and hard to make the case that it does not. After all, that would be almost akin to admitting that war drives scientific advancement, too. And we all righteously agree that it does not ... wink, wink.

Rocket science aside, if you are old enough, you probably remember the Great Video Format clash of the last century. Before that, if you wanted to watch a skin flick, you usually had to crawl into a sleazy movie theater, which could prove to be embarrassing, if not downright dangerous. Viewing “What the Housewife Saw” in the privacy of your own home was difficult and expensive. Movies were in 16mm film stock. A limited number could be had in 8mm format. Rounding up the necessary projector, screen, and other acoutrements was a formidable task.

In college, I dabbled in amateur movie making. I had all the equipment, acquired painstakingly over time. I entered my short films in a number of competitions both in the U.S. and England. (England in the late ’60s, early ’70s was a mecca for amateur film making, with magazines, clubs, and specialty shops in nearly every neighborhood to support the popular hobby.) The star basketball player at my school needed an 8mm movie projector for a party he was throwing. All my good equipment was at home, but I had a cheap projector with me that I didn’t care much about. So I figured I’d do the poor jock a favor. After all, maybe someday he’d become an NBA celebrity.

A couple of days later, he returned the projector to me. In good shape except for a few scraps of film caught up in the gears and sprockets. Out of curiosity, I examined those dozen or so frames under a magnifying glass and it became obvious what kind of movies were being shown at the party.

This was the state of any ambition to have a personal movie collection, let alone porn, before the advent of the videotape recorder. Sony broke ground and changed everything with the introduction of the Betamax system. Now the dream of everyman to have his own home theater was a reality. I could actually own a number of Alfred Hitchcock movies, John Ford westerns, “Twilight Zone” episodes, to watch whenever I pleased. Not that it mattered to me, but shortly thereafter, JVC entered the scene with its own VHS format. And the shooting match began.

When the fireworks died down, only VHS remained. Why? A most reasonable case has been made that Sony did not license out its tape format nor its equipment specs. If you wanted Betamax, you had to get everything from Sony, which kept the prices stable. On the other hand, JVC was happy to share the VHS system with anybody who wanted it. Because this led to competing manufacturers, prices dropped and availability increased.

I’m not the only one who figured that, faced with the two choices, the multi-million dollar porn industry would adopt VHS for the production and distribution of its products. Same reason the vast majority of software developers supported Windows over Mac: economics.

Pornography has been responsible for the success, if not invention, of a surprisingly large number of technologies. Run a Google search of “pornography and technology.” The results will raise some eyebrows and elicit quite a few knowing chuckles.

Webcams. Right. Webcams are used with software applications like Skype to enable folks to videochat with their far flung relatives or hold business meetings in this age of the officeless office. You can do that, of course but, restricted solely to those straight and narrow implementations, there probably wouldn’t be enough profit in the technology to warrant advancements in the equipment or lower prices. Webcams have opened the doors, widely, to live sex shows on the Internet, and virtual strip joints (male, female, LBGT).

This leads us directly to e-commerce and improved Internet security. No point in turning on your webcam if you can’t make money pole-dancing in front of your computer. It is also important to keep the underage crowd away lest you incur the wrath of the real-life Elliot Stablers and Olivia Bensons of the world.

Digital cameras. As quoted by Paul Rudo in his 2011 article on “Ten Indispensable Technologies Built by the Pornography Industry”: “It doesn’t show up on the sales receipts, but analysts agree that porn photographers appreciated not having to take their film to the Fotomat for processing. Privacy concerns drove them to become early adopters of digital photography.”

Point made, but where am I going with all of this? Perhaps the biggest, most important technological advancement to be achieved by us degenerate humans, I think, will also be spurred on dramatically within the next decade or so by pornography and the sex trade—androids.

Right now you can buy a Japanese sex doll for around $6,000. That’s quite a chunk of money, but these aren’t your old man’s blow-up beauties. As described by Orient Industry, one of the leading manufacturers of these premium sex dolls (they call them “Dutch wives”), they are made entirely of skin-like silicone and rubber. [Petite Jewel Real Taste love dolls from Orient Industry shown below.] They feature a fully articulated skeleton. The dolls may be ordered sex dollscustomized with a choice of heads, hair color, bust size, optional flexible fingers, optional movable eyes, integrated “underhair,” fingernail kit, repair kit, and a user manual (in Japanese).

It must be noted that there are a variety of sex dolls on the market for women and gays, too, but the consumer base is not as large as for female sex dolls, or has not yet peaked. There is certainly precedent. In the “Star Trek” series, Lt. Commander Data has sex with several biological females. In Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) is a lover bot, programmed to sexually please women.

The reason for Japan’s unsettlingly realistic artificial roommates is, of course, demand. Price does not appear to be much of an object. The demand has spurred innovation in materials, detail, sensation, and responsiveness. If past sales and industry growth is any indication, customers will not long be satisfied with a costly, albeit astonishingly lifelike, corpse. You get to this point in manufactured humans and the creepy parallel is bound to evidence itself. It may already have because news of developments in animation and artificial intelligence, coupled with sex dolls, is surfacing.

Roxxxy the Sex Robot already made her world debut at the Las Vegas AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in 2010. According to Douglas Hines of TrueCompanion, the company that developed Roxxxy: “She can’t vacuum, she can’t cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean.”

And there is Siri, the AI smartphone personal assistant from Apple, Inc. Siri recently met her competition in Cortana, the AI smartphone personal assistant from Microsoft. So what happens when we take either Siri or Cortana and embed that intelligence within a Japanese sex doll?

In the 1987 cult classic science fiction movie, “Cherry 2000,” successful businessman Sam Treadwell (David Andrews) lives with a Cherry 2000 model android companion (Pamela Gidley). During a night of passion, Cherry blows a fuse. Engineers are able to save her personality on a computer chip, but the robotic body is unsalvageable. Cherry is an older model, long discontinued. Sam is not interested in any of the newer android girlfriends. He hires famed tracker E. Johnson (Melanie Griffith) to help him search far and wide for another Cherry 2000.

The movie is make-believe but, as with so much science fiction, we realize it may not be make-believe for very long.

Sam Bellotto Jr.