Next morning, numerous online sources are excited to announce that today Bang Dead has rolled out another massive free offering to consumers everywhere. It’s the second major plank of Ain’tTheyFreaky!, and the company promises it’ll be a popular hit: it’s the “Guy Score: Hunk or Gross?” Newsfeed!
This is a constant stream of images, videos or pieces of text uploaded from around the world, presenting individual men, who are rated for attractiveness by any member of the public using Ain’tTheyFreaky!’s Freakometer, from a highest score of 10 for Hunkest, down to a lowest score of 1 for Grossest.
Jaymi lets his gaze wander up and down this newsfeed stream, where new posts are popping up every few seconds, every one of them soon receiving scores and comments from multiple sources.
He reads a few posts, for half a minute or so.
Then he shuts off the Newsfeed, looks away from the screen and closes his eyes.
A few minutes later, he opens his programming software. He creates a blank new project file, and names it “Third Beast”.
Who will this third one be?
Well, let’s see. His previous creation, Evelyn, is a more organic creation than Amber. Not off the peg, but kick-started from within Jaymi alone. Her sweetness and toughness embody a sensuous echo of his childhood violin-playing, as he only now comes to realise.
However, did Evelyn quite have the juice of real agency in her? Were the surfaces of her eyes quite wet enough, quite alive enough, to reflect the exact shape of whatever light-bulb hung from whatever ceiling Jaymi sent her under?
Hmm. Maybe Evelyn didn’t quite add up to the sermon on the mount, after all. Maybe she’s a rung upon a ladder.
So again, who will this third Beast be?
Someone who’ll embody not just Jaymi’s pointed response to the “Guy Score: Hunk or Gross?” Newsfeed, but something wider—his whole instinctive urge for the kind of warmth and openness he can see being targeted for punishment by every glyph and pixel of Ain’tTheyFreaky!.
After a moment he consults the general sketch of Shigem in his design for The Imagination Thief, then polishes it, so it reads: “Shigem Adele is an effusive, flamboyant nightclub host, a lovable and neurotic survivor, whose warmth can illuminate a roomful of people.”
Well, OK then. Bring it on!
Jaymi thinks for a moment longer, then he renames this new project “Shigem”…
So here comes a new Beast, born into beauty and complexity, a creature of his own love and pain.
Regrettable that the warmth and truth of Shigem’s effusiveness should be forced to look at and tangle with so ugly a counterbalance as the “Guy Score: Hunk or Gross?” Newsfeed. So fearful and stalely macho an instinct of rigidity and closure! Jaymi is sure Shigem would have things otherwise.
That counterbalance would seem, however, to be compulsory.
For more about "The Beasts of Electra Drive" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you prefer, the retailers’ links for the audiobook format are at
and for the paperback format and the ebook format are at