A few months ago, I perused the used books section at Vancouver’s venerable queer bookstore Little Sisters. In addition to a book on Kenneth Anger’s underground gay leather film Scorpio Rising, I happened across a book without a barcode or copyright date or even an author, titled The Female Disciplinary Manual. I had heard of this before and remembered something about it being connected with some kind of schoolgirl discipline fantasy operation. As it was only $9.00 Canadian and in excellent condition with dust jacket (copies on Amazon are priced at $148 or more), I snapped it up.
The book itself is a rather odd work, purporting to be from the 2030s when the school disciplinary regime of the early 20th century in England has been reinstated as the solution to a decadent culture. The prose is in an arch, deadpan tone that leaves the reader guessing how much of this is part of the school discipline fantasy and how much is sincere.
By happenstance, I also came across the strange story of the organization that wrote and published the book and apparently lived by its ethos. The fifty-year saga links into pagan cults, lesbian separatists, Victorian-Edwardian cosplay as a lifestyle, early text-only video games, the English schoolgirl-discipline fetish, and far-right politics.