Hot Off the Presses scours the internet for newly published books from unknown authors, and saves everyone else the trouble of actually reading books to find out if they’re good or not. New posts every Tuesday and Thursday. This is meant for entertainment purposes only, not serious consumer advice. And there will be spoilers.
Monster Girls Unlocked: A Mature Harem Fantasy Adventure by Justin Trublood is an erotic tech startup adventure about a virtual reality boning simulator.
Our story follows Jace Trimble, a graduate student who has used his university’s computer infrastructure to make a virtual world of unprecedented sophistication where any woman who enters is instantly horny for him. Using the latest AI and a virtual reality rig, he is able to enter the- yeah, I get you, it sounds like the prequel to Ready Player One but with boobies. And I am perfectly aware that Ready Player One erotica has been a thing from day one. I found one particular author who started writing her slash masterpiece before she finished the book, and it looks like Helen Harris’ gender reveal happened to Samantha Cook instead:
“I’ve only had one girlfriend before,” Sam told me. “Back when I was sixteen. It lasted about six months, and then she broke up with me. Since then… nothing.” That made me look at him curiously. For some reason, I’d just assumed he was gay, because he had fallen for me knowing I was a guy.
Whoops! How embarrassing. I look forward to reading this lady’s debut novel on this blog. But there are a lot of different influences at work in Monster Girls Unlocked, and the first one we need to talk about is Gor. The first book, Tarnsman of Gor, is the story of a college professor who finds himself transported to a magical realm, and fits right in with the macho barbarians. It’s a world where every woman is submissive and sexually available, or quickly learns that this is what she truly wants to be. The series has a cult following, and supposedly author John Frederick Lange Jr. is still writing at 90, with the latest Gor book published earlier this year. See Appendix A for the greatest piece of writing set in the Gor universe, its glory undiminished by the fact that it is a parody.
Jace invites his large-breasted professor, Dr. Lana Laird, to share a beer and try out his new invention. For some reason, Trublood is obsessed with pizza and beer, and especially with women willing to consume pizza and beer. I hope he never finds out that I like pizza and beer. Oh, and we are constantly treated to updates on what Dr. Laird’s breasts are doing at any given moment. They strip down (Jace and Dr. Laird, not her boobs, although I guess it’s both?) and jump into the simulation, Jace as a heavy fighting character called a Tarnsman, I mean a tank, and Dr. Laird as a half-orc cleric with huge areolas. It might be my imagination, but is “sexy cleric” a video game cliché? Once inside, Jace explains RPG rules to his new companion. There are buffs, experience points, quests, turn-based combat, guilds, and everyone’s favorite: grinding! The AI manages various background characters to Turing levels of realism, and improvises new quests based on the flow of play and a character’s persona (which give them endorphin boosts, making the quests increasingly difficult to avoid). The realism of the game is so great that since Orcs have low intelligence, Dr. Laird can feel herself getting stupider and randier by the minute.
Dr. Laird receives a quest to have BDSM sex with someone nearby, but that will have to wait. Jace pulls the plug because she is getting too horny for his sense of honor. This gentlemanly behavior was premature, however, as it turns out Dr. Laird is just as horny in real life! She touches his entire wiener, and continues to have huge knockers. Consent established, Jace and his custom bimborc dive back into the simulation, where they fight a long and excruciatingly detailed battle with helpful popups telling us how many hit points everyone has. I’ve combed plenty of World of Warcraft and Ready Player One slash fiction in preparation for this review (see Appendix B), and I can’t find anyone out there writing such true-to-life descriptions of MMORPG combat in their erotic power fantasies.
This brings us to our first proper sex scene, where Dr. Laird grabs Jace with the intent to fulfill her quest of dominating him sexually. But Jace of Gor gets the better of her, ties her up, and makes her beg for his eight inch wiener (which is referred to throughout the novel as “Little Trimble,” before eventually being abbreviated to LT). They pop out of VR satisfied and eager to see where this technology can go. Dr. Laird’s perpetual motion breasts inspire Jace to add succubi to the game.
“He walked over to his prof who looked less and less like an authority figure and more like any other woman he’d known.”
It turns out, the shapely Dr. Laird thinks she’s fat, an absurd proposition in Jace’s eyes. This is the first appearance of a recurring theme in Monster Girls Unlocked: women don’t think they’re hot enough for Jace, and Jace assures them that they shouldn’t think so little of themselves, because they please his wiener just fine. His gestures toward body positivity reach only as far as “Who really liked twiggy girls, anyway?” They have some more sex in real life, and Little Trimble is now ten inches (keep that in mind). Jace is happy with the friends-with-benefits situation, and celebrates having a girl who “gives up the goods” and loves pizza and beer. This was about the time I started to wonder which part of the story is the teenage sex fantasy, the VR part or the part where a burnt-out grad student bangs his dissertation advisor.
They recruit Dr. Destini Oliver, an investor at the university who can help them set up a company to monetize Jace’s invention. It turns out, Jace has seen her around campus when she jogs late at night. “Not trying to freak you out,” he insists, “but you catch the eye on hot nights.” Dr. Oliver enters the simulation as a dark elf (with skin color sliders so it’s not racist, I guess?), and we are escorted through even more painstaking questing, combat, and leveling up. It becomes obvious that the alternate reality setting is having permanent physical effects on the participants in the real world, as we saw already with Little Trimble.
This begins phase two of Monster Girls Unlocked: A Mature Harem Fantasy Adventure. The remainder of the book revolves around the process of establishing and securing a startup around this new technology. The gang holes up in Tennessee somewhere, and is joined by some Becky named Bethany. Oliver walks us through the paperwork involved in patent applications and shell companies, and we hardly see any VR antics at all. But don’t worry. This is still a sex fantasy. Jace has sex with Destini Oliver, even though LT is now so gargantuan that mechanically it has become almost impossible. This limitation is conveniently forgotten when the two have “alternative entrance” sex aboard her personal G5. We’ve largely forgotten about the need for computers to enable Jace’s sexual needs, and the artful prestidigitation involved in swapping a fake-in-universe sex fantasy for a real-in-universe one is impressive. Gross, but impressive.
For once on this blog we don’t have any abrupt perspective shifts, so we get Jace’s uninterrupted view of the world. You have to really slip into Jace’s way of seeing things well to enjoy this narrative. His ideas about women are simply fact in this universe; breasts just do float around like that. And his backhanded attempts at kindness are presented as wise and empathetic. This is not a vicarious roll in the hay with a smirking, rapscallion anti-hero that you love to hate. If these moccasins aren’t just your size, you’re gonna struggle.
Normally I would follow this up with “well, I guess somebody out there will probably like this.” But this time I don’t have to guess. I grab books for this blog moments after they become available at midnight Pacific Time, but sometimes a few days go by before I get the review up. In this case, in the short time that Monster Girls Unlocked: A Mature Harem Fantasy Adventure has been on the market, it has proven wildly popular! It has six five-star reviews in the US and Canada. See Appendix C for examples. I have reviewed a debut novel alright, but it is hardly unknown. Do I sound jealous? Because I am. Justin Trublood has gained more acclaim than any of us ever will, by writing the erotic version of a twelve year old boy’s birthday party. And if history is any guide, he can keep this up until he’s 90.
Appendix A: House Plants of Gor
The spider plant cringed as its owner brought forth the watering can. “I am a spider plant!” it cried indignantly. “How dare you water me before my time! Guards!” it called. “Guards!”
Borin, its owner, placed the watering can on the table and looked at it. “You will be watered,” he said.
“You do not dare to water me!” laughed the plant.
“You will be watered,” said Borin.
“Do not water me!” wept the plant.
“You will be watered,” said Borin.
I watched this exchange. Truly, I believed the plant would be watered. It was plant, and on Gor it had no rights. Perhaps on Earth, in its permissive society, which distorts the true roles of all beings, which forces both plant and waterer to go unhappy and constrained, which forbids the fulfillment of owner and houseplant, such might not happen. Perhaps there, it would not be watered. But it was on Gor now, and would undoubtedly feel its true place, that of houseplant. It was plant. It would be watered at will. Such is the way with plants.
Borin picked up the watering can, and muchly watered the plant. The plant cried out. “No, Master! Do not water me!” The master continued to water the plant. “Please, Master,” begged the plant, “do not water me!” The master continued to water the plant. It was plant. It could be watered at will.
The plant sobbed muchly as Borin laid down the watering can. It was not pleased. Too, it was wet. But this did not matter. It was plant.
“You have been well watered,” said Borin.
“Yes,” said the plant, “I have been well watered.” Of course, it could be watered by its master at will.
“I have watered you well,” said Borin.
“Yes, master,” said the plant. “You have watered your plant well. I am plant, and as such I should be watered by my master.”
The cactus plant next to the spider plant shuddered. It attempted to cover its small form with its small arms and small needles. “I am plant,” it said wonderingly. “I am of Earth, but for the first time, I feel myself truly plantlike. On Earth, I was able to control my watering. I often scorned those who would water me. But they were weak, and did not see my scorn for what it was, the weak attempt of a small plant to protect itself. Not one of the weak Earth waterers would dare to water a plant if it did not wish it. But on Gor,” it shuddered, “on Gor it is different. Here, those who wish to water will water their plants as they wish. But strangely, I feel myself most plantlike when I am at the mercy of a strong Gorean master, who may water me as he pleases.”
“I will now water you,” said Borin, the cactus’s Gorean master.
The cactus did not resist being watered. Perhaps it was realizing that such watering was its master’s to control. Too, perhaps it knew that this master was far superior to those of Earth, who would not water it if it did not wish to be watered.
The cactus’s watering had been finished. The spider plant looked at it.
“I have been well watered,” it said.
“I, too, have been well watered,” said the cactus.
“My master has watered me well,” said the spider plant.
“My master, too, has watered me well,” said the cactus.
“I am to be placed in a hanging basket on the porch,” said the spider plant.
“I, too, am to be placed in a hanging basket on the porch,” said the cactus.
“I wish you well,” said the spider plant.
“I, too, wish you well,” said the cactus.
“Tal,” said the spider plant.
“Tal, too,” said the cactus.
I did not think that the spider plant would object to being watered by its master again. For it realized that it was plant, and that here, unlike on Earth, it was likely to be owned and watered by many masters.
Appendix B: Slash Fiction
The least cringe-inducing WoW slash fiction I’ve come across has been the Flynn Fairwind/Mathias Shaw pairings, since they almost always have two bearded swashbucklers being sweet and homoromantic. Here’s a sample:
“Oh, so you do relax,” Flynn said with a chuckle. “Now imagine feeling that for several hours. That’s comfortable. You should get to know it a bit.”
“Is that why you’re cuddling me right now?” Mathias asked him, sounding a bit unamused. Flynn fretted for a second, wondering if this was incredibly presumptuous on his part. He’d never really slept this close to the man—an almost comical realization, considering all the other things they’ve gotten up to in his bed.
“Yes?” Flynn tried. The man hadn’t pushed him away yet, so that must be a good sign. To Flynn’s great surprise, the man turned onto his side to face Flynn, then moved into the vacant space that was between them.
“I see,” Mathias said with a raised eyebrow, as though he was analyzing every detail. He lay his head on Flynn’s chest, and the captain was certain that he’d hear naught but the frantic beating of his heart. “I suppose I’ll give it a try,” Mathias said.
Appendix C: Praise for Monster Girls Unlocked
“I thought this was a great story about AI, game & hardware development, and corporate startups. Character and plot development was smooth and interesting. There wasn’t any editing or grammar that took me out the experience.”
“Great story I like how the irl world and the game world mesh together and change”
“It’s was an interesting take on the whole litrpg. This is the first where i see the development of the world and technology build. Live the diversity of the women and the in game characters.”
“Looking forward to see where this story will go. A new way to view this genre. Nice change to most stories in this trope”
I sat through another one of Madeline’s dumb reviews, so now you do too.Tweet