by Ann Jacobs

October 2003
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In Ann Jacobs’ futuristic short story, Gates of Hell, the year is 2225 and Aurora d’Allesandro inhabits a world called Utopia on the planet, United Federation of Earth. It is a world where women are either breeders, potential breeders or drones. The choice is not theirs to make, it is up to the Rulers to determine who will have the exalted position as breeder. Even the label of ‘potential breeder’ is much more preferable to that of ‘drone.’ For as a drone, one undergoes a lobotomy and becomes a ‘living robot,’ subject to the rules and whims of the ruling class.

When the story opens, Aurora has just received an e-mail from the Department of Human Resources. Unfortunately for her, the missive informs her that her status of potential breeder has been changed to that of drone. She is to report to the clinic in two weeks’ time to have the ‘necessary alterations’ performed. Those alterations include a hysterectomy and a “cutting away of her breasts.” Aurora is devastated. She can’t run away because of the microchip inserted in her neck when she was a child. They’d only find her and imprison her before turning her into a drone.

Since she has never experienced sex with a human male, but only with a robot, Aurora is determined to do that in the two weeks she has left to her. She makes reservations at the Gates of Hell, a sex palace on the planet Obsidion, a planet at the far end of the galaxy. At the Gates of Hell, she meets Brad Gilbreath, a fellow Utopian who had been captured by the mistress of the Gates of Hell when his ship crashed. The mistress uses him as a sex slave to pleasure her clients.

As usual with Ann Jacobs, the story is well written and completely believable. It was an enjoyable read.

Reviewed in December 2003 by Lisa.

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