Design Challenge: Pleasure Planet
The single greatest challenge to designing a pleasure planet is deciding which of one of two things you want yours to be: all things to all species, or specialized to a narrow range of life form types. The whole pleasure planet concept assumes a far-flung future and a star-going population. Possibly any number of populations. Humanoids. Insectoids. Reptilians. And maybe jellyfishians? I suspect we can adopt the design truism that one person’s paradise is another person’s hell. In my scifi ‘Enemy’ series (Enemy Within, Enemy Games, and the enovella Enemy Mine) I did create a pleasure planet. Or at least, I mentioned it in passing in the first novel. NEVER intending to actually have to tell anyone about it.
Then the erotica, Enemy Mine, ended up being set ON the danged planet I’d mentioned in passing. Oops. It was time to get specific. The premise of the planet went down like this:
1. The pleasure planet is 100% neutral territory – security is top notch and best of all, unobtrusive. Clearly, in order to my novella to have a plot, the security couldn’t be foolproof – but this is a war-torn civilization. Having a place to leave the conflict in orbit? Priceless.
2. Oxygen breathers only – this was necessary to keep the planet from falling into the ‘all things to all species’ trap. The ‘Enemy’ universe encompasses far too many species to allow for one planet to serve them all. Besides. It’s reasonable to assume that the humanoid notion of paradise differs strongly from that of a Carozziel slime-bat.
With those two points established, the world then had to establish a few ground rules.
- No uniforms – part of the luxury of the pleasure planet is leaving your regular life behind, including rank.
- Everyone is equal on the pleasure planet – you’ll still be treated like a king or queen – but no one is treated any better than anyone else. Now. If your pleasure is being treated a particular way – it will be arranged precisely to your liking.
- No weapons, no technology, no devices – if your pleasure is total immersion computer gaming, the pleasure planet will set you up with a state of the art, full meal, mind blowing experience. But making sure nothing has been tampered with requires excluding all external tech.
- Anything goes – adventure? Can do. Silence and solitude in the heart of nature? Absolutely. Flashing, action-packed casino? Step right up. If you can imagine it, we can provide. However, this brings us to the last bullet point.
- Nothing illegal.
That last one presented me with a pretty big problem. We all know that some people’s pleasure includes illicit drugs, or sexual acts that our society deems immoral. It seems fair to assume that someone’s always going to want to victimize someone else. My pleasure planet takes a very dim view of that sort of thing. BUT. It means that elsewhere, (Silver City – a massive, cobbled together space station) there’s a raging black market in victim trafficking. I can’t say human trafficking, because in these stories, victims come in all shapes and sizes.
For Enemy Mine, I had to imagine what luxury would be for someone native to the pleasure planet. If you lived there and had every possible adventure or luxury available, what would represent true privilege? I decided it had to be privacy – the ability to retreat to a subset of self-defined paradise. Translation: You get to design and build your own house. Access is by invitation only (excepting emergency crews, of course). Private and secluded enough for a hero to lure his heroine to him for a round of sexy interrogation without any interference. Except for that pesky assassin the heroine insists is en route to murder him.
Hey. No pleasure planet is perfect, right?