In Benard's brave new world, feminists rule—and foolish romantic fantasies aren't allowed.
But why, then, did they hold such power once upon a time? To find out, Lisa, a young researcher in the Ministry of Thought, plows through reams of literature from a less enlightened but much more entertaining era. She's naïve enough to believe that state-sanctioned sexuality might actually be worthwhile. Or that, at least, is what the officials of the feminist government want her to believe. Yet Lisa can't deny the arousing effects of her research material—not that she'd admit it to her higher-ups. She does her best to ignore all those merely physical sensations, until she and her dedicated assistant Justin are recruited to infiltrate Harmony, a radical group dedicated to overthrowing the feminist ruling class. The two attend meetings on both sides of the ideological divide, becoming more confused than ever. Lisa sneaks out to an underground dance and hears, for the first time, dumb pickup lines, something utterly astonishing to a young woman who was 11 years old when the Revolution began. The sexually charged gyrations she witnesses alarm and excite her, and the female officials electronically monitoring her begin to fear for her sanity. The all-powerful state, however, has safeguards to protect itself: a hidden feature in the unremovable wristbands that all males must wear will keep them (those chest-beating dopes, unable to figure anything out on their own) well under control. Thus, Harmony and other cells of the counterrevolutionary movement are readily eliminated and life goes on as before. Justin, one of the rare good guys, gets a new medal or two, while Lisa is rewarded with another assistant and continues her oh-so-stimulating research for the good of all.
Futuristic satire with a scattershot approach: Benard (Moghul Buffet, 1998) targets everything from goddess worship and holistic healing to the self-righteous excesses of 1970s-style feminism, enlivening her somewhat cerebral style with plenty of erotic snippets.