In this collection of short stories, the author explores why young women enter the world of prostitution, while other stories look at what happens when the worlds of sex and technology collide. In "The First Time," the first story in this collection, Becky is a young graduate who enters the world of prostitution to clear her debts. The story looks at the effects of prostitution on Becky and her fellow escort and friend, Julie. In "The Pain Behind the Smile," Issie presents her friend Peter with a birthday cake, however things are not what they seem. In "Lucy," the acquaintances of a crusty old bachelor speculate how he could attract and retain the affections of a beautiful young woman. As with "The Pain Behind the Smile," things are far from what they seem. "Hemlock" explores what happens when machines attain the capacity to appreciate high culture, a story both humorous and deeply serious.
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