The Carthanage Stories

by Cardaniel

Thantasy and I have often done roleplays together. These have taken many directions, but in the last few years they have centered on a mythical society, essentially a 21st century Earth in a parallel universe, which we call "Carthanage," in which, for genetic reasons, there is an overwhelming excess of female humans over males in the population. In long-ago tribal days, this led to the practice of eating women, a tradition which has continued to the present day. In modern-day Carthanage, the consumption of women is an unquestioned part of life, a cultural mandate to which women submit happily as a fulfillment of their destiny, and nobody can imagine things being any other way, as they never have been any other way. Some are called in the government-administered draft and processed anonymously in butcher shops or meat-packing plants, but a more rewarding end for a woman is to be roasted and eaten by her own family and friends.

In Carthanage, many women occupy their time in much the same way as women in our own 21st century society. They can go to college, hold meaningful and authoritative jobs, get married and have children, all in a way that is very familiar to us. But whatever else a woman has done in her life, she knows that in the end, by law no later than her forty-fifth birthday and usually sooner, her body will be cooked and consumed as food. And the practice has been generalized to the point where many women willingly give their bodies to society in a variety of ways before they end up on the dinner table. They might choose to serve as slaves of one type or another, such as bed-slaves, or work-slaves; they might be girlpets, such as body-modified puppygirls or ponygirls, a specialized form of slavery; they might take pride in being chosen as the main course at a large banquet, as in the story "Home for the Holidays" (see links below); they might have their fertility enhanced and bear dozens of babies at a breeding farm; they might, as in the story "At the Dairy Farm," take advantage of a woman's unique ability to produce milk and spend their adult lives as physically altered girlcows on a dairy farm, making liquid nourishment for society, with bodies medically geared towards copious milk production, before finally being snuffed for their meat; and as one of a Carthanage woman's highest aspirations, they might be admitted as students at the very exclusive and prestigious Hanging Academy, subject of the story "Academy Girl," where after an intense three-year course of training, each graduate is purchased from the Academy to perform before a crowd of admirers, who will witness her erotic performance that ends in her very arousing death by hanging. (The Hanging Academy also is mentioned prominently in the early part of "At the Dairy Farm," but it is not the subject of that story.)

The Carthanage Stories include the following tales:

The Cammy and Alisa Stories: "Fair" (2018) and "Pony" (2020). These are the newest of the stories, but might be the best ones to read first. "Fair" is a wide-ranging exploration of many of the facets of Carthanage society, seen through the eyes of two college girls, Cammy and Alisa. It looks into the mores and ethics of a culture that prizes women for the food they provide to society -- by literally being the food. "Pony," which takes place a generation later, then continues the story with a more specific focus.

Academy Girl (2006-2010) is the longest work, about the fulfillment and rewards of being a student and a graduate of the Hanging Academy. This is a series of five novelettes. (I had originally intended that it would consist of four books altogether, but the fourth started getting so long that I split it into two books.) The first book can stand alone, but later books depend heavily on the earlier ones.

Island (2014) is a sequel to Academy Girl (readable as a standalone but preferably read after Academy Girl), about the operations of a restaurant established on Purity Island, with the longterm goal of dragging Purity Island into 21st century Carthanage society.

Home For the Holidays, a relatively short story, is by far the earliest of the Carthanage stories (written in 2000). In Carthanage, an especially daring way for a woman to offer herself as a slave is simply to go out in public naked without a slave collar -- it is understood that she is not yet owned by anyone but is available to the first person or group to claim her for that purpose. Depending on where she does it, she might expect to serve for many years or be cooked and eaten immediately. "Home" is the story of a young woman whose hopes to be consumed at a banquet aren't going entirely as planned.

At the Dairy Farm (2005) is a book-length tale of a girl who has reached the age at which she must decide whether to take her place in the family business by becoming a girlcow.