Book Four in the The Marketplace series, and originally published by Mystic Rose Books.
The Academy takes up where The Trainer leaves off, with Chris Parker taking junior trainer Michael LaGuardia to an annual meeting of the professionals who keep the Marketplace going, the Trainers and Spotters. The Academy is a vehicle through which Trainers and Spotters to exchange information, gossip, and to show off their best trained Marketplace slaves to each other. The Academy also bestows honorary accreditation on its members - to elevate a new Trainer, a trainer to Master Trainer, and a trainer to Trainer of Trainers.
Michael liked the way she looked, exotic and playful, strong and passionate.
He liked the way she moved quickly and gracefully, assuming that people
would move out of her way. She looked like the kind of woman who had
had people surrounding her to see to her every whim for a long, long time.
It was frankly sexy, enticing, yet slightly dangerous. He smiled slightly,
imagining her in a latex catsuit and spiked heels.
"I'm loaning you to her later," Chris said casually.
The Academy is the largest of the gatherings for trainers, but other methods are also used. The gathering in The Trainer, which takes place at Rothmere, is an example of a traditional gathering of trainers from a single training line, in this case, the line of Howard Ward. The Marketplace also subsidizes these smaller, regional events for junior trainers to afford them.
Plot Points Edit
There are multiple plot lines in The Academy. The first concerns a task given by Imala Anderson, the Trainer of Trainers of North America, to Chris Parker: to offer a proposal for vote before the Academy to make accreditation a formal status, rather than honorary. The proposal is quite controversial: accreditation is likely to require standards that must be followed, and there is concern raised (particularly among the Spotters) as to who will be setting those standards. Many of the Trainers, who meet for an invitation-only breakfast, believe this move to be a positive one, to weed out questionable and inappropriate methods. Others, including Geoff Negel claim the proposal will narrow the diversity of training styles. One Spotter, Daniel, expresses his opposing view thusly: "What I don't need from the Academy, thank you very much, is more rules to learn, so I have to make it even harder for a new client to get into shape. And the last fucking thing I need is someone else telling me what trainers I can use if I don't have the time or talent to train." The compromise Chris offers, without the input of Anderson, is to offer a voluntary accreditation review committee, titled The Regents. The body is created, with Ninon elected as its President.
The second plot line is more subtle, but will have a significant impact on the series' overlying storylines: a Trainer of Trainers in Japan, Sakai Tetsuo, has made an offer to Imala Anderson to purchase Chris Parker from her. This is also the first time Chris Parker's true status in the Marketplace has been fully articulated in The Series. The offer is enough to bring Anderson, a notoriously private and travelphobic person, to leave Brooklyn and to Okinawa.
The third plot line is told through the eyes of Michael LaGuardia. He is attending the Academy in service to Chris Parker, as part of his long-term training program. Chris has let him know that he is permitted, during this time, to ask questions, engage in conversation, and learn from others. It is through Michael's eyes that the readers learn more the vast network of The Marketplace, through stories told to the junior trainer as lessons, distractions, and background information. To more effectively add to the sense of multiple voices and cultural differences, author Laura Antoniou invited friends to create short stories, told in the voices of various trainers and spotters, and woven through the primary tale. Guest authors include Karen Taylor, david stein, M. Christian, Michael Hernandez, and Cecilia Tan. The Academy also includes a short story written by Laura Antoniou, that details the early days of Chris Parker's life and how he joined The Marketplace. This modification on a shared world technique allows the reader to gain a depth of knowledge about the Marketplace universe, without losing the thread of the novel. Antoniou coins the phrase "novelogy" to describe the book.
As with the other Circlet Press editions, Antoniou also adds a short story to the e-book edition of The Academy. Taking place on the last night of the event, Inside Straight features junior trainer Stuart, as he heads to a party being hosted by German trainer Walther Kurgan to complete a task he's been given by Marcy Teodor.
The Stories Within The Academy Edit
Mandarin Style, by Laura Antoniou. The story, narrated by Ken Mandarin, is a story designed to describe the process a Spotter undergoes in identifying a potential Marketplace slave. The story is about a young woman named Jessie who catches the eye of Ken Mandarin at a soft world leather event. The story was reprinted in The Catalyst. The lead character's name is an homage to a short story in Pat Califia's collection, Macho Sluts.
Thank You, Miss Claudia, by Karen Taylor. The story is narrated by Alexandra Selador to illustrate the excitement and anticipation of becoming part of the Marketplace. The lead character, Francie, is a cross-dressing man who takes service in the home of Mistress Madeline, in hopes of being considered Marketplace material.
The Tiger in the Dining Room, by M. Christian. The story is narrated by Stuart and an inspirational one about an extraordinary slave, Fancy, who fends off intruders in her Master's home. The title comes from a tale told by an elderly butler in Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, in which a butler quietly and unobtrusively borrows his Master's 12-bore shotgun in order to kill a tiger that might otherwise disrupt a dinner party.
Bullseye, by Cecilia Tan. The title is the nickname of a Spotter, Matson, who falls in love with a potential slave and hopes to keep her for his own. It is a cautionary tale about falling in love with a potential slave, and muddying the line between training and owning. The story is narrated by an unnamed woman who is likely Lily, the potential slave in the story.
The Nurse, by Karen Taylor. A story to provide an example of a specialty slave, the story takes place at the height of the AIDS crisis in the United States, a time when a diagnosis meant a prognosis of only months to live. The slave nurse, Joshua, is purchased by an HIV-positive man whose frightened and embittered lover beats Joshua as an outlet for his anger.
The California Way, by M. Christian. Narrated by Geoff Negel, the story is an entertaining look at the ways the West Coast's alt-sex culture intersects with the Marketplace, by bringing a young slave,Doris, into her first contract, held by a family-by-choice: Maurice, known as "Ma," Pauline or "Pa,"], and Spunk. The story was also written to challenge author Laura Antoniou and her rants about the West Coast's freewheeling, less structured approach to sadomasochism.
In Service, by david stein. The story is told by Paul Sheridan to elucidate the possibility that some slaves can be trainers, and describes one such slave, who Paul calls "Mr. Benjamin." The name is a reference to Mr. Benson, one of the most famous stories about Master/slave relationships in the gay male community, written by John Preston, an author who had a big influence on Laura Antoniou's work. Author david stein, also influenced by John Preston, offered this short story to Laura, having written it prior to her call to authors for The Academy, believing it to fit within the Marketplace universe because of their shared interest in Master/slave fiction.
Alex's Choice, by Karen Taylor. Narrated by Chris Parker, the story is about his best friend Rachel, and how she comes to be employed at the Training House of Alexandra Selador and Grendel Elliott. It also provides additional background about Chris' life before his entry into The Marketplace. Chris describes Rachel as his "sibling" in energy, if not biology, and the story also provides an example of how someone can become active in the Marketplace without holding a Marketplace-approved position.
Redemption, by Michael Hernandez. The story, like Bullseye, is a cautionary tale, but one that has an element of revenge. It is narrated by Joost DeGraaf, and tells the story of a Spotter, Morgan, who stalks and captures soft world top who unknowingly distracts a potential Marketplace slave away from her.
Insha-Allah, by Karen Taylor. The story is narrated by Ken Mandarin, and is a story with elements of a fairy tale. Khadija, a young Egyptian woman, is poised to inherit her father's business - provided she marries by the end of the year. She engages an old college friend, Ken Mandarin, to help her find a Marketplace slave who can become her husband, leaving her in charge of the business - and him.
Clocking, by Laura Antoniou, is a flashback that Imala Anderson has the evening she signs Chris Parker's contract over to Tetsuo. It covers nearly 20 years of their relationship, beginning with the first time he visits her, seven months and eight days shy of his 18th birthday and begs to be taken on as a slave. The story includes details of Chris Parker's development as a slave, a trainer, and a man, and his increasing indebtedness to Anderson as she covers his education and other expenses.
Academy Cast of Characters Edit
Unlike the first three novels in the Marketplace series, which are contained within personal dwellings, The Academy is in a large resort, and is populated accordingly. It is also held in Okinawa, the first book to take place outside the United States, to increase a sense of the extent and scope of The Marketplace. This novel introduces an extensive cast of characters, including named and unnamed Spotters, Trainers, Marketplace slaves, and others who not only attend the Academy, but also appear in the stories.
Characters appearing in The Academy
- Abe Jiro, a junior trainer in the Training House of Tetsuo
- Alexandra Selador, a Trainer, partnered in a Training House with Grendel Elliott and narrator of Thank You, Miss Claudia
- Imala Anderson, the Trainer of Trainers for North America
- Andy and Cindy, Marketplace slaves owned by Ken Mandarin. Believed to be twins.
- Arturo Massimiliano, the Trainer of Trainers for Southern Europe, and specializing in "top slaves"
- Bronwyn, a Trainer from Great Britain
- Catherine, a junior trainer from Switzerland
- Choi Jin Yong, Trainer of Trainers in Korea
- Chris Parker, a Trainer in service to Imala Anderson and narrator of The Nurse and Alex's Choice
- Conrado, a Trainer from Brazil
- Corinne, a Master Trainer based in Europe who specializes in interpreter slaves
- Dalton, a Trainer of Trainers in Great Britain
- Daniel, a Spotter based in California
- Fiona Larabey, an Australian Trainer based in Perth
- Geoff Negel, a Trainer of Trainers in California, and Michael LaGuardia's first Trainer
- Georg Lundgram, a Swedish Trainer specializing in pets and working animals
- Grendel Elliott, a Trainer from Long Island, partnered in a Training House with Alexandra Selador
- Honore, a Trainer based in Europe
- Howard Ward, the Trainer of Trainers in Great Britain
- Hugo, a junior trainer from Brazil
- Japic Van Beem, a retired Trainer who now works as part of the Marketplace bureaucracy
- Joost DeGraaf, a Spotter based in The Netherlands and narrator of Redemption
- Juan Matalino, an Australian Trainer working out of Sydney
- Ken Mandarin, a Spotter and Owner, and narrator of Insha-Allah
- Kim, a junior trainer from Korea
- Lily, a Trainer and the narrator of Bullseye
- Livia, a Marketplace slave training as a sled dog
- Luciana, a junior trainer from Italy
- Mariko, a Marketplace slave in the Kobe Training House
- Marcy Teodor, a Trainer of Trainers in Seattle
- Max Bloom, a Master Trainer based in Chicago
- Michael LaGuardia, a junior trainer in service to Chris Parker during The Academy
- Moises del Cipriano, Trainer of Trainers in Spain and Southern Europe
- Ninon, a Master Trainer of pleasure slaves
- Noguchi Shigeo, the undisputed Trainer of Trainers in Japan
- Paul Sheridan, a Spotter based in New York, and narrator of In Service
- Pua, the tai-chi leader.
- Ray Wong, a Trainer based in Hong Kong
- Ron Avidan, Chris Parker's brother and attending Imala Anderson on her visit to The Academy
- Saburo, a Trainer in the Training House of Tetsuo
- Sam Keesey, a Trainer and Spotter based in Nevada
- Sakai Tetsuo, a Trainer of Trainers in Japan who is Noguchi's anticipated successor
- Sato-san, a Trainer based in Okinawa
- Sebastian Pettibone Tucker, a Master Trainer from the American South
- Shoshana, a Spotter based in Israel
- Stuart Lundberg, a junior trainer from Seattle, and narrator of The Tiger Under The Table
- The Urquhart Family, a family of trainers based in Saskatchewan, specializing in working animals
- Walther Kurgan, a Trainer of Trainers based in Germany
- William Longet, the Swiss parliamentarian running the afternoon debates
- Wu the nighttime chef, and two sushi chefs first encountered by Michael LaGuardia.
Unnamed Characters at The Academy include:
- “a vaguely sinister Italian man” who is an ally of Ken Mandarin’s and thus probably a Spotter
- An unnamed Swiss trainer who attends the Academy breakfast.
- An unnamed grey haired, square-jawed man who specializes in finding slaves for corporations.
- An unnamed elderly Irish woman who calls Ken a slut.
- Unnamed Chinese and Russian trainers and spotters who run the Marketplace international overview workshop/panel
- Seven unnamed trainers are the Honorable Racing Officials for the dog race at the Academy.
- Unnamed South American trainers, with whom Joost meets with to discuss business.
- Elder Sister, who will be Chris’ supervisor, and seven slaves training in Tetsuo’s Kobe Training House when Chris Parker is assigned there.
- Three junior trainers in a Kobe Training House when Chris Parker is there after being sold to Tetsuo.
There are over 50 unnamed slaves in The Academy, including several grouped by specialty:
- interpreter slaves, probably trained by Corinne, including a Japanese woman with ink black hair cut very short who helps to interpret for Michael LaGuardia and Sato-san; and two interpreter slaves who help a circle of young trainers-in training communicate with each other (may be the same two translator slaves who are available to the small gathering that will hear Stuart narrate The Tiger in the Dining Room in Chapter 7);
- Eight Japanese gender-bending entertainment slaves, including an Elvis impersonator
- The ponies and dogs used in The Academy for the Canadian entertainment. In addition to Livia (one of the dogs), one pony is described: a young Asian woman, her black eyes sparkling over the silver bit in her mouth. As she tossed her silky hair, making the purple ostrich plumes in her head harness dance like flags, Michael noticed that the hair descending from her butt plug looked exactly the same color and texture as the hair on her head.
- a pleasure slave that Willam Longet kisses at the end of the voting in Chapter 27; and
Individual unnamed slaves include:
- a male American slave who brings Michael LaGuardia to the small gathering that includes Stuart. May be the same slave who delivers drinks during Stuart's telling of The Tiger in the Dining Room in Chapter 7
- three massage slaves that work on the junior trainers prior and during the telling of The Tiger in the Dining Room in Chapter 7
- a slave who cleans Chris and Michael’s room in Chapter 3. May be the same slave who brings Michael a lap desk for his studying.
- a sinuous, dark skinned man with intricate scarification traces on his back and legs who is a specialist in Shibari and two slaves, male and female, tied by the Shibari master in Chapter 4.
- a slave who brings Alex some iced tea when she first arrives
- a middle-aged female redhead slave with classically green eyes carrying a banana split in Chapter 10
- a female slave (probably Japanese) who directs Chris Parker first from sitting near Geoff Negel at lunch after the first debate;
- a morning slave carrying pastries in Chapter 23
- a bathhouse slave helping Chris and Ninon in Chapter 26
- a “gloriously handsome woman” who massages Ninon’s feet after the polling in Chapter 27
- At least two unnamed Noguchi slaves serving at the Academy
- Unnamed Tetsuo slaves include one who serves Chris Parker and Tetsuo Sakai in their first meeting, two slaves that wait on Tetsuo and Chris when Chris undresses for Tetsuo and they go to the bathhouse; and one who dresses Chris Parker in a formal kimono.
- Personal slave to Ninon who knows the unnamed bathhouse slave and is apt to gossip.
- A Japanese bath attendant for Ninon and Corinne.
- A slave couple (the husband is a slave in Sweden).
- An unnamed petite blond woman with elaborate tattoos, trained by Chris Parker while he was in Japan training with Tetsuo Sakai in the mid-1980’s. On the block at the 1985 Tokyo auction at the same time as Akira. On the block in Tokyo. One of three less-than-acceptable slaves chosen for Chris Parker to train by Sakai Noriko.
- An unnamed Eurasian gentleman, trained by Chris Parker while he was in Japan training with Tetsuo Sakai in the mid-1980’s. On the block as the same time as Akira. On the block at the 1985 auction in Tokyo. One of three less-than-acceptable slaves chosen for Chris Parker to train by Sakai Noriko.
Characters Mentioned in The Academy
- Aaron, a family member of Ron Avidan and Chris Parker, probably the son of a cousin.
- Andorjan, a Hungarian fellow, and Nelka, a woman who sucks his cock. Remembered from an earlier Academy.
- Claire Cameron, Michael LaGuardia’s fiancée.
- Karl Wein, the Trainer of Trainers who trained Walther Kurgan
- Niall, an Owner who is also the uncle of Michael LaGuardia
- Noach, Ron Avidan's lover.
- Sakai Noriko, the daughter of Tetsuo, now deceased
- The Perlmans, Trainer of Trainers in Central Europe in the 1920's
- Rysebeck Corporation, a corporate Owner that will be hosting the 1994 Academy in British Columbia
- The Shimada Family, a corporate Owner that is hosting the 1993 Academy in Okinawa
Characters That Are Not at the Academy, But Appear in the Academy Stories
- Jessie, potential Marketplace slave
- Panelists at a soft world event that Jessie and Ken Mandarin attend. One man in the scene for 20 years with two subs, one woman in the scene for 30 years up to her third slave, and two leathermen together for five years.
Thank You, Miss Claudia
- Ali Cruz, a Spotter
- Carl Linden, a friend of Mistress Madeline.
- Charlene, a parlour maid
- Claudia, a Marketplace slave
- Francie, a potential Marketplace slave
- Fletcher, the butler
- Jefferson, the Chauffeur.
- Mistress Madeline, an Owner
- Robert Grafton, a Marketplace slave
- Susan, a chambermaid.
- The Cook.
- Additional staff brought in for a party includes a dozen additional slaves, mostly kitchen staff, but some maids as well.
- Unnamed party goers, including “a very famous movie star coming down the stairs with a man who had been linked to him for years in the press.”
The Tiger in the Dining Room
- Fancy, a Marketplace slave
- Master Graham, an Owner
- Jason, a Trainer
- Master Ko, Tai Kwon Do trainer
- Philip and Nick. Fancy’s lovers prior to her time in the Marketplace.
- The prowler found under the window by Master Graham.
- Alayne, a Trainer
- Lily, a potential Marketplace slave
- Matson, a Spotter
- Mildred, a Marketplace slave
- Rick, a Marketplace slave
- Two men (one named Gerard) and one woman trainer, two men and one woman slave.
- Akira, a Marketplace slave
- Joshua, a Marketplace slave
- Lamont, lover to Roberto
- Martha, Roberto's doctor
- Pedro, a Marketplace slave
- Roberto Vasquez, an Owner
- An unnamed Russian slave once owned by Roberto who employed him for his tutoring.
- Unnamed slaves described at the auction where Joshua is purchased, including male twins, an unnamed woman in business clothing, and an unnamed French maid, probably male.
The California Way
- Betsy, Doris' ex-lover
- Doris, a Marketplace slave
- Maurice, or "Ma,", an Owner
- Max Bloom, a Master Trainer
- Pauline, or "Pa," an Owner
- Spunk, an Owner
- An unnamed Agent described as a round little Japanese man in an immaculate black silk suit, all bottle-bottom glasses and little bowler hat.
- Mr. Benjamin, a Trainer
- Jeffrey, a potential Marketplace slave
- Rachel, a staff member at the Long Island Training House
- An unnamed slave who is Rachel’s first “victim” cleaning the bathrooms
- Artie, a dyke bartender
- Genevieve, a potential Marketplace slave
- Ian, a soft world player
- Martino Bagnelli, a dildo designer who “disappeared,” probably into the Marketplace. Ian owns a “Marty.”
- Morgan, a Spotter
- Two punk dykes who cause a scene in the bar at the behest of Morgan. Her thanks will be a medical scene with them later.
- Uncle Ahmed. Khadija's well-intentioned, Marketplace-unaware uncle.
- Farouk al-Wadi, a Marketplace slave
- Fatma, a Marketplace slave
- Khadija, an Owner
- William, the first person Farouk al-Wadi worked for as a personal servant.
- Two unknown college boys who try to pick up Khadija and Ken
- The many potential husbands for Khadija, including Ali, Samir, Nabil, Mohammed.
- A pleasure slave for a diplomat who first told Fatma of the Marketplace.
- An unnamed Marketplace slave with rings piercing his nipples and penis, with the rings chained together.
- An unnamed first Owner of Farouk al-Wadi
- An unnamed blond slave “with a small nose and blue eyes” that was the first slave Khadija’s father owned that Khadija knew about. Other of the Marketplace slaves owned by Khadija's father are a pleasure slave, a correspondence secretary, and a “bahweb,” or messenger/guardian.
- Ali Cruz, a Spotter
- Alice, a Marketplace slave
- Emily, a Marketplace slave
- Janna Corliss, a Trainer
- Kyle Van Dien, a Trainer
- Ray, a junior trainer
- Vicente, a cook and non-Marketplace staff member in the "[Training House"]
- An unnamed trainer mentioned in Clocking who Anderson “finishes” while Chris Parker is in training under Dalton.
- Three slaves trained by Anderson while Chris Parker is away training with Dalton
- A client who is just been placed upstairs when Chris Parker first arrives at Anderson’s.
- Chris’ former soft world owner, unnamed. Female. Ron Avidan did not believe she was safe at all.
Characters that Only Appear in Inside Straight
- Arcane, a friend of Stuart's who introduces him to the Marketplace
- Markus Schulze, an undertrainer with Walther Kurgan
- Ernesto, a slave serving at the party thrown by Walther Kurgan
- Travis, a red-haired and pierced slave serving at the party thrown by Walther Kurgan and chosen by Stuart to serve Marcy Teodor privately.
- an unnamed slave shared between Stuart and his friend Arcane
- four unnamed trainers that Stuart originally approaches to apprentice with. Three told him to finish his degree and his transition and then come back; one tells him that he is unsuitable as a trainer.
- unnamed slaves serving as at a party thrown by Walther Kurgan: two women and a man are in bondage tied together, three are Japanese women who are erotic acrobats, three are ponies, and four naked men, "one pale and shaved, one dark and muscular, a tall red haired brute with a ring in his nose, and a small Asian man decorated with tattoos." (It is likely that one of these slaves is Travis)
- two unnamed female trainers who are fisting an unnamed slave
- an unnamed slave who is sucking off Sebastian Pettibone Tucker while being caned by an unnamed female trainer from New York. (The female trainer is probably Alexandra Selador, as she is an old friend of Sebastian's.)
- two unnamed male trainers sharing a bound slave.
- an unnamed male trainer and two unnamed slaves who are serving him front and back.
- an unnamed butch female slave that had been trained by Walther Kurgan and served in the English Navy for six years.
Academy Locations Edit
The Academy meets in various locations across the world, and the setting for the the novel's Academy is a ryokan in Okinawa in 1993, and is sponsored by the International Coalition of Trainers and Handlers and the Asian and South Pacific offices of the Marketplace. The event is held at a ryokan owned by the Shimada Family, a Marketplace Owner corporation. It is located deep in the green hills about forty miles outside of Naha, the capital of Okinawa. Stone lanterns marked the long drive into the property, and a beautiful red and gold gate framed one of the splendid view of the valley to the east. There was a bubbling stream on the northern edge, where outdoor baths were also available, framed by raised dark oak platforms. Ornamental gardens could be seen from almost every window. Small ponds were dense with almost garishly colored lilies hidden between the trees.” “The resort was cunningly split between western and Japanese style accommodations. Much of the actual conference area was Western, with high tables and straight backed office chairs and rooms that were exact copies of every other hotel room in the world, clean, small and efficient. In his annoying way, Chris had insisted upon a room in the ryokan section of the resort, a traditional Japanese room, and MIchael had prepared to deal with one. The pictures he had studied and the descriptions in the tourist guidebooks had been enough to let him know that there were in fact, beds in the room — or at least they were behind panels somewhere. He gazed at the perfectly proportioned room, counting the tatami mats that made every room in such a traditional arrangement uniform sizes. There was an ikebana arrangement of a floating lily set in shallow water over dull gray water-smoothed stones, set in a niche across from the door; a perfect position for the late afternoon sun to hit it.
Within the novel, other locations are mentioned:
Upstate New York. Host of 1985 Academy. At this Academy, the Training House of ["Alexandra Selador"] and Grendel Elliott received official recognition and Imala Anderson sent Chris Parker to Japan with Tetsuo Sakai.
Santorini. This Academy (which took place in the late 80’s or early 90’s) had a Roman theme. Banquets were served to guests who were lying on couches. “They had to put up tents for all the slaves they sent in. We’re talking cupbearers, footman, washin’ up slaves, and then they had jugglers and tumblers and contortionists and who-knows what else.” Sebastian Pettibone Tucker, Alexandra Selador and others were in attendance.
Vancouver, BC. At the end of the novel, the following year's Academy location and host is announced: Vancouver, B.C. at the Lion's Mane Resort. One of the sponsors will be the Rysbeck Corporation, one the Marketplace's corporate Owners.