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Personal Demons by Jay Lygon


This novel is the third in a series which started with Chaos Magic, originally posted to Storytime here on ERWA several years ago. [Storytime is one of four opt-in sections of ERWA email list] According to several on-line articles, “chaos magic” was invented (or named) in the 1970s as a highly individualistic spiritual practice, “having a central belief that belief is a tool.” Like “witchcraft” (an older term), it “seeks to affect the course of events by non-normal means,” via spells and rituals.

Various writers have noted the compatibility of BDSM and ritual scenes which are intended to create ecstatic experiences and even to change reality. And certain locations in the world (particularly Los Angeles) have been described as centers of magic.

All these elements come together in Jay Lygon’s imaginary world. The first novel introduces the reader to various gods and goddesses who are brought into being by the prayers of their worshippers (or those who want something from them). These “deities” function like ordinary human beings except that they have paranormal powers. In fact, many of them start life as ordinary mortals, and are then transformed by the collective energy of others.

In Chaos Magic, realistic descriptions of Daddy/boy sexuality help to flesh out a plot about the narrator, a young man named Sam (suggestive of SAM, Smart Ass Masochist) and his search for love and success, as well as hot sex. Along the way, he discovers various minor deities in his adopted city, Los Angeles, and the reader learns that he comes from an unusual family of pagan farmers in Oklahoma. Sam has grown up praying to such important goddesses as Mama Fertility.

Sam finds a man who seems to be his ideal Leather Daddy, Hector, but there are complications beyond the obvious. Hector is Mexican-American, while Sam is descended from British pagan stock, but the real differences between them have less to do with culture or upbringing than with personal responses to stress. Sam has escaped from his abusive ex-Dom, who continues to stalk him, while Hector is afraid of disloyalty in his “boy,” having been deceived before.

While Marcus, Sam’s ex, causes as much trouble as possible for the new relationship, Sam’s friends and neighbors include Angelena, the Goddess of Traffic in Los Angeles, and Deal, the cool blonde Goddess of Negotiation, who is useful even in relationships based on voluntary surrender. In a sense, all the novels in the series are a coming-of-age story in which Sam must learn to grow up while surrounded by fairy godparents as well as villains.

In the second novel, Love Runes, Sam is suddenly forced to give up his arrangement with the Goddess of Perpetual Youth, whom he has been bribing to keep him perpetually looking nineteen years old. Sam assumes that Hector, like most “Daddies,” wants his “boy” to remain boyish in every way, but in fact, Hector wants a man in his life. By the conclusion of the second novel, Sam looks his age, twenty-six. Among other things, he needs a new wardrobe to fit his new body.

In Personal Demons, Sam’s previously marginal job as a freelance film critic becomes an important plot element. Thanks to Deal, Sam has been hired as a film critic by a glossy publication, Park Avenue Magazine, and is now thrust into the world of movies, both Hollywood and independent. He is sent on assignment to film festivals in Venice (in Italy, not California) and Toronto, Canada. Hector gives Sam his full support to pursue a career, but not to pursue other men.

Sam is afraid of the limelight, and especially of having to appear in the media at the Golden Globe Awards. Many months before the event, it appears to him to be a major ordeal. Will he pull it off with Hector’s encouragement, or will he make a fool of himself in public? The suspense builds.

Like a true fairy godfather, Hector picks out new clothes for Sam to fit his current circumstances. At first, Sam only feels comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, but Hector overcomes his resistance, and Sam learns to expand his limits. Enemas are especially effective in this process.

Jay Lygon switches smoothly from descriptions of bondage and percussion in various forms to public events in which the “personal demons” or “baggage” of the central characters show up as other characters. By the third novel, Sam has learned that he is the God of Sex, Hector is the God of Love, and Marcus is the God of Fear. But in the world they inhabit, new deities can appear at any time, so it seems inevitable that Sam’s new job would bring him into contact with the God of Fame, traditionally described as a “bitch-goddess.”

In a light and funny way, the author explores the fickle and threatening nature of fame, which (according to Roberto, the god who bestows it), “everybody wants.” Sam is thrust into the spotlight sooner than he expects, and he must find ways to cope with the unwanted gift while having to resist Roberto’s efforts to seduce him.

As in any romantic comedy, there must be obstacles between the lovers which seem unsurmountable for awhile. The relationship between Sam and Hector continues to evolve in complex and convincing ways while other characters intervene in ways that are both helpful and harmful.

This e-novel is a delight to read. The first two volumes are now available in print, so with any luck (or effective wishing), Personal Demons will appear in the material world in the same form, and fans of the author can collect all three.

Personal Demons by Jay Lygon
(Torquere Press, 2009)
Available at Torquere Press

© 2009 Jean Roberta. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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