Long Night in a Hot Tub
Will Diana make millions? Or will she lose her projector to the greedy entertainment industry? This is a battle of titans, on the one hand an ingenious woman who has invented a “hypnotic projector” that is virtual reality at its most powerful. On the other hand, media moguls who see this as a threat, or something to be owned and managed at all costs. More
Long Night in a Hot Tub features a number of strong female characters. The plot centers on Diana Thornton, who has invented a virtual-reality device that is sought-after by a variety of entrepreneurs and charlatans. She invites a well-known author to live with her and chronicle her attempts to promote and market the device. He is intrigued and moves into the Thornton household, which he shares with Diana and her daughter, Starla. The story takes place in Los Angeles.
While not promoting her device and trying to raise venture capital, Diana has her hands full just trying to make ends meet. But she manages to keep the household running using various stratagems, and even hosts a “salon”, à la Gertrude Stein, on Saturday evenings. Poets and artists display their work, some of which is on the erotic side.
A friend, Colleen, goes on a drunken binge every so often, and that complicates things. She is a former prostitute turned artist who supports herself doing murals for health clubs and resorts. The author, Jefferson Fox, is quite taken by her—especially since she gives massages and likes to enjoy the hot tub sans suit.
However, Jeff is more seriously smitten by the Reichian psychologist, Karen, who attends the salons. However, she will have nothing to do with him unless he agrees to undergo her particular brand of therapy—to get beyond his stiff masculine ego. Reluctantly he agrees to subject himself to her ministrations.
Diana’s daughter, Starla, vacillates between two lovers, one a comedian with his own radio show and the other a soulful poet and would-be actor.
Diana herself has a boyfriend who lives in Chicago but plans to move to Los Angeles to be with her. During the story he is an occasional presence, quite discomfited by the presence of Jeff in the household.
Two supposed venture capitalists attempt to get Diana to sign her invention over to them, but she is skeptical of their bona fides; they claim to represent the Sultan of Brunei.
Meanwhile, a young “nymphette” (Nabokov’s term) who has a passion for writing also develops a passion for the resident author, despite the overtures she receives from a divorced and very horny computer programmer who is helping Diana with her virtual reality machine. The other women insist she needs to be introduced into the mysteries of sex and that Jeff is the ideal one to perform the act. He is reluctant, but finally succumbs.
The iconic scene is a night when all of the characters convene for a party and end up in the hot tub (a few at a time). It’s a night to remember.
In the denouément, everything is happily resolved.