As Brushes hasn't been re-released yet I thought I might at least share the Painted Doll bit ... so here you go:
Painted Doll could hardly be more different. The novel is a cyberpunk lesbian thriller set in a future Shanghai. Claire Monroe, a refugee from the disintegrating United States, uses her mathematical aptitude to support herself and her young lover Flower in the wired, crumbling heart of Asia. When someone steals from her powerful, shadowy employer Taka, she is blamed. The equally shadowy figure of Many saves her by constructing an entire new psychological and biological identity for her as the “erotist” Domino. Meanwhile, Flower is sent to a New Age colony on the other side of the world.
M.Christian knows how to write cyberpunk. We have the traditional electronically-enhanced urban environment, alternatively luxurious and trash-choked; the ubiquitous surveillance and the masks used to defeat it; the reality of everything for sale, including the human soul. If you enjoy the genre (as I do), you will feel quite at home in M.Christian’s future metropolis.
The most original aspect of The Painted Doll is the concept of the erotist. Like a high-priced call girl, Domino meets her clients in an anonymous room for encounters charged with erotic intensity. However, Domino does not have sex with the men who engage her services. Rather, she uses a set of neurochemical stimulants absorbed through the skin, plus her own voice and imagination, to guide her clients through a physiological and emotional exploration of their sexual fantasies and personal secrets. She paints a streak of carefully mixed chemical on the forehead, around the nipple, across the kidneys, and her subject reacts with fear, self-disgust, arousal or joy. Domino is as much an artist as Escobar. The sessions in which she strips her clients bare with her paints and her voice are among the most compelling scenes in the book...