"Riding the Nightmare" by Lisa Tuttle

"Riding the Nightmare" by Lisa Tuttle

In his introduction to what can best be described as a “greatest hits” collection of Lisa Tuttle’s decades-worth of fictional output, Neil Gaiman notes that the twelve tales occupying Riding the Nightmare are nearly all, in some way or another, concerned with sex and death. These are, in Y.B. Yeats’s view, the only two subjects with which an author can and should concern themselves. Tuttle, according to Gaiman, kept a quote from Yeats on this matter tacked to the wall above her desk, alongside a similar sentiment from James Fenton: “Every fear is a desire. Every desire is fear.”

Tuttle consistently finds herself intertwining sex and death throughout Riding the Nightmare. Or if not death, eerie terror.

Sex and death, which as many have observed before, are more closely related than perhaps most would like to admit. Consider of course the French term for an orgasm, la petite mort, or “the little death.” It’s the idea expressed by Fenton above, that pleasure and mortality — fear and desire — are in fact one and the same, that to experience physical ecstasy is the same as dying, or of losing yourself and your senses to coital reverie, even if only a little.  

Tuttle consistently finds herself intertwining sex and death throughout Riding the Nightmare. Or if not death, eerie terror. As Gaiman writes, “...Tuttle is able to tell impossible stories which evoke dread and strangeness and the uncanny, stories that feel right while being resistant to any explanation.” The author, in other words, takes her readers to exactly the kind of airy, unreal headspace that la petite mort indicates — a realm just touching upon that of eternal rest, but not quite. 

The title story leads the collection, and as a representative for the remaining tales to come, it perfectly introduces the reader to Tuttle’s expert union of euphoria and fright. It’s about a woman named Tess who is dating a man in an open marriage. This arrangement suits her perfectly, because she insists she only wants the sex and mild, intermittent companionship that a committed married man can provide. However, Tess finds her ideal set-up threatened when the man’s wife becomes pregnant and he decides to fully devote himself to his new familial duties. As a result, Tess re-experiences a dream she hadn’t really thought about since childhood, in which a white mare comes to her window and takes her for a ride in the night sky. Given the name of this story, however, it’s no surprise there is little whimsy or fancy here: it is no dream, but rather a nightmare, and the mare is in fact a manifestation of Tess’s own fears and desires, with a sinister agenda of its own. 

“Bits and Pieces” follows “Riding the Nightmare,” and it features a thoroughly gripping first sentence: “On the morning after Ralph left her Fay found a foot in her bed.” The story only grows weirder from there, as the main character finds a second foot under the bed; she realizes they belong to Ralph, yet also not, because she knows him not to be literally footless. They are, like the mare in the previous tale, manifestations of Fay’s grief over the loss of this relationship, the psychic remnants always left behind by former lovers, made impossibly tangible. Tuttle of course leans in to the impossible here, exploring what happens to a particular person’s mind when more body parts of former lovers begin to show up around Fay’s home. She becomes a kind of Dr. Frankenstein, piecing together the perfect man to occupy her bed while heading down darker and darker mental pathways. 

Perhaps the most fascinating (and perhaps even most challenging) entry in this collection is “The Wound,” an earlier work written when, according to Gaiman, Tuttle was more of a science fiction author, a story existing “in a world in which sex and gender are fluid in ways that even Ursula Le Guin did not anticipate,” a world that “allows one thing to change, to allow us to see other things more clearly.” The narrative centers around Olin, a mild-mannered man who befriends a fellow school teacher, Seth. They attend operas together and take long walks along the river bank, and it soon becomes clear that the men are falling in love with each other. It is here the true themes of misogyny and homophobia emerge, as we learn that Olin will likely change into a biological woman to accommodate the burgeoning romance, a transformation somehow dictated by Seth. Olin’s students realize what is happening between the men and tease him, calling him “Miss.” Tuttle also reveals Olin’s ex-wife Dove was once a man named Leo, and her change was instigated by Olin. She tries to comfort him in his panic, telling him it isn’t so bad being a woman, even as Dove is in the process of changing back to Leo, reclaiming the masculinity lost long ago. It apparently is that bad being a woman in this world, just as it is in our world. 

Tuttle’s big finale is “The Dragon’s Bride,” a novella extended from a shorter piece first published in the 1980s. It’s a folk horror tale by way of Cat People — and that should be enough to pique a fount of interest without getting into the specifics of the tale, other than to say it is an incredible culmination of Tuttle’s primary theme throughout the collection, an ultimate statement on the dynamics of sex and death and how the two co-mingle. Moreover, to refer back to his introduction one last time, “The Dragon’s Bride” more than proves Gaiman’s assessment of Tuttle’s literary prowess:

Lisa Tuttle is...a killer with a handy boning knife, dangerous of eye and bleak of humour, and convincing enough in her depiction of reality and of human relationships to make her most improbable lies and her most pitiless plot twists feel both true and darkly inevitable.

If potential readers are unfamiliar, or even only slightly familiar, with Tuttle’s work and are curious to read more, Riding the Nightmare is an excellent launching point to familiarize oneself with her myriad talents. 

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jorgensenson234's picture
jorgensenson234 September 11, 2023 - 12:19pm

"Riding the Nightmare" is not a known work by Lisa Tuttle, and I do not have any information about it in my database. Lisa Tuttle is a British-American author known for her contributions to science fiction and fantasy literature. If you have any specific questions about her works or if you're looking for information on a different book or topic, please feel free to ask. Additionally, I can provide information on trend habibi capcut template or "template" if you have questions related to those subjects.

Oliver_Anthony's picture
Oliver_Anthony September 12, 2023 - 8:51am

Riding the Nightmare" suggests navigating a challenging or frightening situation. It's a metaphorical journey through adversity, where one must face fears and difficulties head-on. It can refer to overcoming personal challenges, coping with difficult circumstances, or confronting one's inner demons to emerge stronger on the other side. Read More

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ALISYEDALIS's picture
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ALISYEDALIS's picture
ALISYEDALIS September 30, 2023 - 4:07pm
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ALISYEDALIS's picture
ALISYEDALIS September 30, 2023 - 4:07pm
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I do online trading,

I was a scam victim.

Ultimate Hacker Jerry recovered my Bitcoins amazingly.

 

Did you experience the same loss of cryptocurrencies to phony internet investments that I did? or the incorrect wallet? Get in touch with Ultimate Hacker Jerry right once if you want to get your money back or need legal advice on how to proceed. I fell victim to an internet investment fraud and lost about 7.18 BTC. I bought into the promise that I would receive 25% of my investment each month. I was conned in that manner. Fortunately, I came upon a piece about Ultimate Hacker Jerry from Wilder Newton's Local News after a protracted search for instructions on how to restore it. I got in touch with him right away at (support @ ultimateshackjerry. c om ), and I felt comfortable doing so because of the fact that Wilder Newton, a local news source, had given him positive reviews. I got all of my money back with a ROI within 4 hours of contacting him. It was unbelievable I must say, I had to send out my review as well. He is in fact the best good idea.

 

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ALISYEDALIS's picture
ALISYEDALIS September 30, 2023 - 4:07pm
CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOVERY, LOST BTC RECOVERED;

What To Do When You Fall Victim To A Crypto Scam.

Contact info:Call / Whatspp: +1(520)282-7151

Email: Support@ultimateshackjerry. c o m

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Hello, My name is Ali Syed.

I'm a Urologist in Birmingham,

I do online trading,

I was a scam victim.

Ultimate Hacker Jerry recovered my Bitcoins amazingly.

 

Did you experience the same loss of cryptocurrencies to phony internet investments that I did? or the incorrect wallet? Get in touch with Ultimate Hacker Jerry right once if you want to get your money back or need legal advice on how to proceed. I fell victim to an internet investment fraud and lost about 7.18 BTC. I bought into the promise that I would receive 25% of my investment each month. I was conned in that manner. Fortunately, I came upon a piece about Ultimate Hacker Jerry from Wilder Newton's Local News after a protracted search for instructions on how to restore it. I got in touch with him right away at (support @ ultimateshackjerry. c om ), and I felt comfortable doing so because of the fact that Wilder Newton, a local news source, had given him positive reviews. I got all of my money back with a ROI within 4 hours of contacting him. It was unbelievable I must say, I had to send out my review as well. He is in fact the best good idea.

 

Ma Sha Allah

ALISYEDALIS's picture
ALISYEDALIS September 30, 2023 - 4:07pm
CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOVERY, LOST BTC RECOVERED;

What To Do When You Fall Victim To A Crypto Scam.

Contact info:Call / Whatspp: +1(520)282-7151

Email: Support@ultimateshackjerry. c o m

Visit: Ultimateshackjerry. c om

 

Hello, My name is Ali Syed.

I'm a Urologist in Birmingham,

I do online trading,

I was a scam victim.

Ultimate Hacker Jerry recovered my Bitcoins amazingly.

 

Did you experience the same loss of cryptocurrencies to phony internet investments that I did? or the incorrect wallet? Get in touch with Ultimate Hacker Jerry right once if you want to get your money back or need legal advice on how to proceed. I fell victim to an internet investment fraud and lost about 7.18 BTC. I bought into the promise that I would receive 25% of my investment each month. I was conned in that manner. Fortunately, I came upon a piece about Ultimate Hacker Jerry from Wilder Newton's Local News after a protracted search for instructions on how to restore it. I got in touch with him right away at (support @ ultimateshackjerry. c om ), and I felt comfortable doing so because of the fact that Wilder Newton, a local news source, had given him positive reviews. I got all of my money back with a ROI within 4 hours of contacting him. It was unbelievable I must say, I had to send out my review as well. He is in fact the best good idea.

 

Ma Sha Allah

ALISYEDALIS's picture
ALISYEDALIS September 30, 2023 - 4:07pm
CRYPTOCURRENCY RECOVERY, LOST BTC RECOVERED;

What To Do When You Fall Victim To A Crypto Scam.

Contact info:Call / Whatspp: +1(520)282-7151

Email: Support@ultimateshackjerry. c o m

Visit: Ultimateshackjerry. c om

 

Hello, My name is Ali Syed.

I'm a Urologist in Birmingham,

I do online trading,

I was a scam victim.

Ultimate Hacker Jerry recovered my Bitcoins amazingly.

 

Did you experience the same loss of cryptocurrencies to phony internet investments that I did? or the incorrect wallet? Get in touch with Ultimate Hacker Jerry right once if you want to get your money back or need legal advice on how to proceed. I fell victim to an internet investment fraud and lost about 7.18 BTC. I bought into the promise that I would receive 25% of my investment each month. I was conned in that manner. Fortunately, I came upon a piece about Ultimate Hacker Jerry from Wilder Newton's Local News after a protracted search for instructions on how to restore it. I got in touch with him right away at (support @ ultimateshackjerry. c om ), and I felt comfortable doing so because of the fact that Wilder Newton, a local news source, had given him positive reviews. I got all of my money back with a ROI within 4 hours of contacting him. It was unbelievable I must say, I had to send out my review as well. He is in fact the best good idea.

 

Ma Sha Allah

Lambert4mark's picture
Lambert4mark October 1, 2023 - 5:16am

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Lambert4mark's picture
Lambert4mark October 1, 2023 - 5:16am

Certified Cryptocurrency Recovery Expert, Ultimate Hacker Jerry.

Since I'm new to the crypto field, I was concerned that I wouldn't understand it. I stumbled across a financial broker on Instagram at the beginning of last month who offered to assist me in making cryptocurrency investments. I was persuaded by the broker's promises of enormous returns and decided to invest with him. I gave the expert a large portion of my meager earnings to invest. The earnings increased significantly, but when I decided to request withdrawals, the broker kept requesting additional dollars. I started to have my doubts, and after doing some research, I discovered that this company was a swindle. My coworker suggested Ultimate Hacker Jerry to me as a cryptocurrency asset recovery specialist who can help me recover my lost funds. I immediately reached out to the expert, after providing all the required information. Ultimate Hacker Jerry was swift and worked professionally on my case. And in a span of 48hrs all my stolen funds were recovered back to my wallet. To anyone who has fallen prey to these pyramid schemes, Contact
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WhatsAp;  +1(520)282-7151.
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