My Name is Rand - Wayne Courtois

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Cerisaye's Review

I thought Iíd come across every possible fetish yet Iíd never heard of erotic tickling as a kink before reading this rather odd, very disturbing but quite compelling novel.† I associate tickling with childhood games, something I did to my own children when they were small.† You instinctively know to draw the line when laughter and fun turn to tears and misery.† What if you donít stop?† What if being tickled beyond endurance while totally helpless to resist, and begging for more is your best sexual fantasy? Well thatís what this amazing story is about.

Rand is a young man on an erotic adventure.† Through the internet he meets a master in the arts of bondage and tickle torture.† After a weekend with this man, Granger, almost permanently fully aroused, Rand canít resist the lure of similar stimulation when he encounters likeminded stranger, Michael, at a highway rest area.†

Wanting only to feel again that total subjugation where heíll agree to ANYTHING to make the tickling stop, Rand goes home with Michael. He then plunges into the nightmarish world of the Compound, a camp where men, women and even children practice tickling so extreme it can literally kill.

Surely, you CANíT actually be tickled to death.† Thatís what I thought before Courtois totally convinced me itís possible.† I think what got to me most was the fact I could actually feel what Rand was going through because it wasnít, unlike most S&M bondage stories, outside my own vanilla experience.† Weíve all been tickled beyond our comfort zone, so we know that agonising helplessness, laughter verging on hysteria, the desperation for it to stop yet caught up by intense sensation.† There isnít a part of the body left unexplored, as the torturers seek each victimís most sensitive spot.† Rand both fears and loves this extreme tickling, much the same way I felt about this book, alternately horrified and aroused.† Torture sessions are described with no detail spared, a frenzied orgy like a vision from a Circle of Hell.

Although explicit, the book is too disturbing to be erotic.† Well, most of the time, because sexual situations are largely non-consensual and Randís situation just too scary and horrifying.† The opening section with Granger and sex sequences towards the end were definitely a turn on.† This is definitely not porn.† Courtois writes very well indeed.† If he wasnít so bloody good you wouldnít be as shaken by descriptions so intense you feel youíre the one being tickled.

Rand isnít alone in the Compound.† One victim isnít enough to satisfy the insatiable demands of the tickling gang.† Itís like a POW camp, Ďusí and Ďthemí.† Just how much can a body take before a manís mind is destroyed?† Then thereís lurking fear of Dredd Junior, kept hidden in the basement.† No one leaves his hands alive.

The story mixes horror with sci fi/fantasy and suspense thriller as well as erotica.† Randís sexual history is revealed through flashback, a believable explanation for his experience.† Rand knows whatís right and wrong and sadistic sex makes him uncomfortable, but temptation gets the better of him when heís the one with control.† Thereís even a bit of romance, between Rand and Duke, a man who begs Rand to kill him so he wonít have to suffer any more.

Rand is known by different names at various stages in the story, from free man to a number little more than slave.† By the end he no longer knows whatís real or hallucination, living close to the edge of sanity with seven other desperate escapees, poetically named for stars.† Desperate for comfort they indulge in an Ďendless roundelayí of sex, living in perpetual panic, terrified theyíll be caught.† Help comes from an unlikely source before Randís erotic journey descends to a road to Hell in an ending that really blew me away.†

Youíll NEVER look at tickling in the same way again that I guarantee.† Not to be missed.

Take a look at the authorís website if you want to find out more about erotic tickling:†

There are links to interesting tickle fetish sites as well as to a couple of Courtoisí previous stories, available free online.

Ladymol's Review

Iíve found this book quite disturbing, which has surprised me. Itís playing on my mind and Iím not entirely sure of my reactions to some of its content.

Erotic tickling taken to its fanatic extreme. Itís a challenging subject; you have to agree. Is it possible? Thatís the first question that strikes me. Itís all very well claiming something is some particular thing, but if you change its definition, is it still that thing? Surely, tickling is something harmless and for fun. When itís used to kill someone, then itís torture and not tickling. I see why the author wants to call it tickling; the juxtaposition of concepts is novelóbegging for exploration. It just didnít convince me.

Rand contacts a man who claims to be a master of erotic ticking. He has a session with him, in which the delicate balance between consent and force is toyed withóforeshadowing what is to come. Returning from this session, he is taken captive by a man called Michael, who firstly relates his own horrific ticking stories and then takes Rand to a compound where he is to become a tickle captive. Youíre beginning to see why I have a problem with the premise of this book. Michaelís story is horrible: heís adopted by a family that have already driven their youngest siblings insane with tickling and then inflict mind and body-numbing horrors on him for years.

The compound is a place where men, women and children inflict often fatal tickling on their captives. Rand and a number of other men escape and end up living in the basements, in the dark, naked and half-insane from their treatment.

Sometimes, I found myself with a horror of the perpetrators of the tickling akin to that Iíd feel if they were, for example, inbred cannibals. If they dragged Rand and the others out of their pits, tortured them for hours and then ate them, then the whole book would make sense to me (I wouldnít want to read it, but it would create understandable reactions). To substitute tickling for torture is very unnerving. It was particularly unnerving when he described a scene of young children tickling/torturing Rand. The whole book is pushing the link between sex and tickling, and the tickling is a metaphor for torture, so to have such a scene where he seems to relish the idea of the tiny fingers doing what they are doing just struck me as sick.†

Not being at all ticklish, I find it hard to swallow that a grown man would find it hard to walk barefoot on grass because he was too ticklishóthat he would be rendered physically helpless by such a reaction is ludicrous. Although the bookís main focus is not sex, but the tickling, nevertheless many of the sessions lead to orgasms for the men. I found it all very unsexy. Even the sex sessions of the escaped captives seemed oddly unerotic. Theyíre all accompanied with this obsession for ticking: licking feet, digging fingers into ribs, probing navelsÖ. At one point the narrator, tickling a very furry armpit with his tongue, says that thereís nothing he likes more than licking semen out of fur. Ewww.

The ending of a novel can often change the whole flavour of a book for me. I found this one very disturbing. But it pretty much rescued the whole book for me. Suddenly, what youíve taken as just a story becomes a much more serious metaphor for life. Itís a horrifying twist that seriously chills.

If youíre into researching the genre of gay novels and expanding your education then I recommend this book. Easy, fun, romantic read? Possibly not!