The technicians at the Fountains Institute for Molecular Research thought they knew what they were doing when they wrote Jane's program, they had written and rewritten her so many times why should this time be any different? JANE'S GAME by Mike Philbin is a brutal piece of psycho-sexual horror fiction - you have been warned.
Jane Templeton Rice, to give her full maiden name, was, as the contemporary fashion rags came to call her, a woman of classical beauty. Pre-Raphaelite was a common column inch term for her austere elegance. Her liquid spot-lit presence. All of life, they proclaimed, was a bulging orchard for her to pick idly from throughout the long and sultry day, the glowing prose of her more prosaic fashion editors.
Jane Templeton Rice, above and beyond the restriction of her obvious beauty, could seem quiet, personable, demure; some might use the worst of all four letter words, meek. But with emerald eyes like hers, with charisma on the catwalk like hers, dynamism under the spotlight, the perfect decoration for the arm of numerous millionaires, fashion modelling was the play she was born to perform.
You could imagine Jane as a gawky child all freckles and prescription glasses. Scuffing the chins of lads three years her senior with her tomboyish repartee of knees and punches. See her battling an entire school ground of spotty admirers. Only the seniors ever conquering her. The sucker for the life of charm promised by more mature liars than she. The disappointments. The little twists and turns of the knife. You could see where the almost indistinguishable worry lines emanated from. It was as if her exterior beauty was a conscious bodily evolution to mask the hurt inside.
As with all charismatic figures, and theatrical types in general, there was something not quite right about her easy switch of character from the meek and platonic private individual to hip and predatory star of the stage, her Jeckyll and her Hyde. Some external driving force. No sane person could juggle so well for so long. If the truth were told, Jane Templeton Rice was not the least bit well.
She had been a normal girl.
1) Left high school with the useless A level, Sociology.
She worked hard to find herself a suitable college to further her study. She could see herself two years down the professional county line, her heart stung by the interminable inevitability of broken home after foster parent database search, after rape crisis centre counselling, after...
2) She had a cute freckly nose and a good long pair of legs.
Lucky for her, she was head hunted in the centre of her hometown one Summer Saturday out with friends and accepted the swift job offer from Clinique, the world renowned Modelling Agency. Jane Templeton Rice, would-be sociologist in a low paid government position, garbed in woollen rags, cheap underwear and horned rim glasses, did her first $100,000 shoot at the mindless age of seventeen ..and not yet a woman.. as the song goes.
She often thought of how different her life might have been if she had continued her dead end studies: rotting in seedy lodgings, one-bar electric fire for comfort, beans on toast at each irregular sitting, working three years on her thirty thousand word dissertation, finding the only job vacancy was at the local council shifting abused wives and rickety families in and out of inadequate sheltered accommodation. Playing the numbers.
She had this comical and protracted argument with herself about life the universe and well, evolution, to be quite honest. Argued for nonsensical hours about the misrepresentation of Evolution, the so-called survival of the fittest, projected by the media. Wept openly at the thought of life forms who 'knew' it was their time to change suddenly discarding their gills and leaping up on to land to breathe the air. She had visions of some pre-historic dog some few thousand years later scavenging along the seashore and suddenly bouncing into the surf as a dolphin on some evolutionary whim. Had this really solid heart to heart with the mirror in her hotel suite the day before the Gaultier Show in Guatemala. Tribal Dolphin, the show was to be called. She couldn't see the connection with her line of thinking and her future that would patiently unfurl for the next fifteen years.
She had screamed things, hateful, wretched things her mother always made her promise she would never say. Filthy freeform that had scalded her tongue far too many times during the term of her captivity. Swore that she could no longer work out the equation in her head; maths not being her thaang. Spurred on by her ranting reflection, the remedy came to her as if on express rails. Logic indisputable.
Throughout the duration of her captivity, as she calls it, her campaign of wars with the demons of design had borne the worst scars. The most instantly recognisable of these being the continued degeneration of her shock-red halo that once so-spherically framed her over-ambitious features as no artist's imagination would allow.
As a school child, mizz Templeton Rice's hair was a fly away masterpiece. The ochred scales of its human medium once drawn out to a wild conflagration that forested the basic scalp. Now, the lamentable attempts of her being to reconstruct the glowing icon was under the close scrutiny of the scissor-happy, their tempering edge denying any extravagance of form of length of texture. A hostile hedge too often coloured, too often crimped, too often tugged at, as now in the silence she was tugging at it. Kneeling on the hardback wooden chair; legs quite dead. Back rigid with frustration at this deaf existence. The interminable Come On I Deserve It Hurt Me Bite Me Make Me Cry Keep Stabbing Stabbing Stabbing Stabbing. Metal marring flesh............
Reaching through the pain like a slow yawn, body-long across the dresser, she sought the one antidote to this vast catalogue of mental and physical torture. Pure. Unadulterated. Television.
The model she carried round with her from $100,000 assignment to $100,000 assignment was a beaten up portable black & white whose vertical hold was permanently on comatose drift mode. The technological equivalent of a battered old teddy bear. Her Electronic Messiah, as she liked to call him, always helped soothe away the trauma of the day's megalomaniacal floor managers, tired designers and serial autograph hunters.
The dust-silvered face of her Saviour awakened, loop after ponderous loop dismissing her gaunt reflection for imagery of a less radical bent. The narrator, some between plays Thespian, soliloquised in pregnant anticipation of his companion pictures that slowly warmed to his solemn yet competently delivered elegy.
For her, television had become an abstract art. Each of the separate 1\50ths of a second that television represented cut into the phosphor ice with one continuous electronic blade. All narrative content pared back. Each raster edited by the linear mechanism some of the braver philosophers have named time to follow one after the other. Scalpeled incidents onto which her dainty consciousness alighted every 1\100th of a second, neither remembering what came before nor able to anticipate what was next to come. Televisual comprehension a long invalid daydream. Left for dead. Rotting away in public for the avant garde of fabric's sculptors elite. Shamed by it all. That battered, old, permanently scrolling black and white television was all they found in her room come show time.
Erotic athor, Carrie White, reviews Jane's Game
Jane is an engineered model of beauty developed by the technicians at the Fountains Institute for Molecular Research. After spending so much time tweaking Jane, they figure that this time will be no different to all the other times before. And, why shouldn't it be?
Paul Kasparek is the usususpecting artist who finds her in his studio underneath all of his paintings. How the hell she got in there was beyond his comprehension but that was the least of his worries. He didn't reckon on having to deal with the sex, the violence and the peculiarities that came along with her.
Jane's Game is fast paced and the description is interlaced with dream sequences to keep the readers on their toes. Be careful you don't get left behind here as it would be so easy to lose your place. Since Mike Philbin dropped his pseudonym, Hertzan Chimera, the stories of depravity and gore still come trickling out, so nothing new there, you might say, but I reckon the best is yet to come. With Jane's Game fully entrenched in your mind, you're well on the way to complete transgression.
Carrie White, Erotic Author
Review by Kyle Kucek for Insidious Reflections
The technicians at the Fountains Institute for Molecular Research thought they knew what they were doing when they wrote Jane's program; they had written and rewritten her so many times why should this time be any different? JANE'S GAME by Mike Philbin is a brutal piece of psycho-sexual horror fiction - you have been warned.
That is the synopsis given for Mike Philbin’s bizarro novel, “Jane’s Game”. But it doesn’t even summarize the insanity that ensues when reading this 190-page opus of mayhem. And you have been warned.
The book starts off with a description of Jane, the female protagonist, who is a beautiful model who has just stepped out of the limelight. After that you’ll find that the pace kicks up a notch and hardly ever lets up.
There’s humor, there’s violence, there’s sex-- there’s a ton of plain crazy shit that happens that are hard to simplify into one storyline. Basically, an artist, Paul Kasparek, comes across a naked Jane in his studio and raises her, but discovers that she isn’t what she seems. Some of the best scenes are when Paul is dreaming, which features a unique narrative.
One of the novel’s strongest points is description. Throughout the novel, especially the dream sequences, Philbin details with intricate words and plenty of interesting metaphors and similes.
The weak points were at times you couldn’t tell if it was a dream sequence or not since there were so many at once. There were also a few typos here and there, but not a big issue.
Overall, Jane’s Game is a great novel that can be enjoyed on many levels, especially if you enjoy fresh, inventive ideas presented in an interesting way. The plot summary does not simply sum up all the madness that occurs, and you have to read the book itself to truly know what you’re missing.
Philbin is definitely an author to look out for, with bizarre tales and subject matter that are sure to assist you in realizing there is some truly original work out there in the independent world. Kudos, Mike.
Be sure to check out his independent publishing company, Chimericana Books, for Jane’s Game, Chimeraworld #1, #2 and #3, Horror Quarterly, The Best of Chim+Him+Her, The Life & Death of Hertzan Chimera, and more
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