With Halloween approaching, I decided to review another horror novella by a prolific sci-fi author John Rosenman. Today's novella is Steam Heat.
Chad Benson, a rugged construction worker, has always had his way with
women until a mysterious, irresistible visitor blindfolds and seduces
him in a steam room. She compels him to make an ominous promise to
accept the consequences of their union, whatever they might be.
the first time, Chad becomes obsessed with a member of the opposite sex
and roams the health spa, seeking the red-haired girl who he believes
is his seducer. The totally new experience of falling in love is an
emotion he'll desperately need when he faces a deadly evil.
Exploring the complex psychological issues of claustrophobia and
fetishes, "Steam Heat" is best labeled as a revenge fantasy. I am still
trying to figure out in whose head it takes place, though. It could very well be a collective fantasy.
Chad Benson is a an emotionally, intellectually and professionally
stunted beefcake with the critical thinking skills of a caterpillar. His
few interests include pumping iron and engaging in one-night stands
with the "hot" chicks he picks up on the way. His sensuality is very
primitive and devoid of imagination. Disclaimer: this is NOT a stab at
the author. I am not saying that the author lacks imagination. He did a
good job at portraying a male hedonist who gets his foreplay tips from a
men's magazine. It would be unfair to judge Chad too harshly. He is
lazy in the intimate department, because he does not have to work hard.
Women, equally shallow, throw themselves on him, so he does not even
have to exert himself. They say, that men love with their eyes. And
while the whole concept of love is applied loosely in Chad's case, he
certainly relies on his eyes to make the first assessment of his next
prospective lay. One day, after an intense workout, he experiences a
torrid encounter in a steam room, but this time without the benefit of
seeing his sexual partner first. With a towel over his eyes, he has to
rely on his hands and ears to imagine the mystery woman. Following the
encounter, sealed by the mysterious verbal pact, his life is never quite
the same. As much as he wants to return to his life as a piggish
playboy, he cannot.