Posts Tagged ‘erotica’
How time flies! I’ve been meaning to review this book for so long that I’ve almost forgotten what the stories are about or why I thought they were so good.
I’ve had it at least a year.
And what a year it’s been! This time last year I was looking back on my career as a writer and remarking on how little I’d written.
Well, and during the Christmas holiday last year I wrote a story called Scandal! I was very proud of it and thought it was quite deep but I’d rushed it onto the page in only three days and I thought I should let it settle a bit before publishing it. In March or April I re-read it and decided it could be quite special if I was patient enough to let it germinate for a while and come to full maturity.
And it is germinating still. But let me assure you, it’s good!
Apart from that, and a fiery little outburst some months ago, I have had another fallow year and I’ve spent more time reading than writing.
I haven’t even been reviewing what I’ve been reading. Instead — and this is the point, in case you are wondering why this review is so far all about me and not at all about Remittance Girl — I have been studying how the professionals do it. I’ve discovered that book reviews should really be all about the reviewer rather than the book, as in this adorable example from Leo … someone-or-other. It’s very clear he’s a Leo, don’t you think?
In case you are thinking … Aha! She can talk! … Let me tell you at once that I’m not a Leo. Just a little crab.
And as a little crab, I often crawl sideways along the shore, staring goggle-eyed at the overwhelming tide of creativity all around me.
Remittance Girl is perfect company for me on my travels because she is a writer’s writer. She is literate, reflective and wise. She is a discriminating reader and draws upon her reading to stay fresh, inspired and quirky.
Whether she’s erotic or not, I’m not sure. She writes about erotic experiences. She is a storyteller. And she is fascinating.
The problem with reviewing collections of short stories is that there is so much to comment on that it’s hard to keep the review fairly short and still put in lots of information about me. But, as if reading my mind, Remittance Girl has solved this problem by including a story set in Limehouse, London, which I happen to pass through every day on my way to work.
In the old days, Limehouse was London’s Chinatown, full of shady warehouses, brothels and opium dens. This provides the backdrop for a rather prickly story about a profligate young man and a seductive Chinese woman called Mai.
“Mai seemed to be very much at home. She stepped delicately to a low table supporting two bronze lions in the Chinese style and put the flame from a small oil burner to three slender sticks of what Gerald learned later to be incense. Then, when the sticks were sending up hair-like tendrils of sweet-smelling smoke, she took up a small metal rod and struck it against the body of one of the lions. It chimed sweetly.”
It’s the stuff of fantasy. And yet it is very concrete and the descriptions are precise. There are sensual moments. You can see even from this very brief excerpt that Remittance Girl knows how to appeal to your senses. But at its heart the story is deeply philosophical. It is sharp and to the point. It ought to be, for it is called ‘The Pipe of Thorns.’
You must be prepared for sexually explicit passages. But, heavens above, who isn’t these days? But here, as in so many of her stories, the truly adult theme is what Remittance Girl does with this explicitly sexual encounter. She gives it a twist so brutal that young minds would instinctively shy away and shut down.
So these are adult stories, adult in the sense that they question and challenge our preconceptions and predilections. They can be delicate and they can be brutal. But they are never gratuitous, for they show all the seriousness of a writer who takes writing very seriously indeed.
This anthology edited by D.L. King is a collection of truly scrumptious stories about sex with a succubus. There are twenty-one fabulous stories here and it would be unfair to single out one or two for praise but I’m going to be unfair because I want to give you just a little tease and taste.
But before I do so, let me say that there is one thing all these stories have in common, besides being brilliant, and that is that they are all very short. Yes, it may be stating the obvious but they are all very short. My guess is that they are all under 3,000 words.
I mention this because I would really like to draw attention to the skill of these writers in being able to capture my attention and impress me so much with such very brief and fleeting stories.
Jean Roberta’s story has a very long title: Moon Like a Sickle, Wind Like a Knife, but the story itself is astonishingly succinct and concise. She shows just how much you can put into a sentence if you really try. In two beautifully concentrated pages she sets the scene for a fairly complex tale. It’s a rare concoction, ripe with promise, that is dished up over the ensuing pages with lashings of gothic sauce.
Cynthia Rayne’s Succumb is even more concise. Her story and her succubus get straight to the point. ‘Brad, I need you to f— me!’ the demon declares. He gets on with the job and, ‘I came immediately, ‘ we are told. But this swift sexual activity leaves room for some devilishly languid scheming, which takes place in an atmosphere of brooding menace. I succumbed to this story. It has depth. There’s far more to Feckless Fanny than there seems.
And there’s so much more to this anthology, too.
If you are weary, dip into the sensuous descriptions of Jay Lawrence in Deliverance. Revel in Evan Mora’s wicked retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Delight in the sophisticated subtlety of Angela Caperton’s The Sorcerer’s Catch, a very clever tale in which reality seems as fragile as black lace lingerie.
And still there’s more…
D.L. King has done a wonderful job because she has brought together in one book some of the finest contemporary erotic writers and given them a theme that has evidently inspired them to new heights. So if you’ve never thought about sex with a succubus and you’d like to know more, this is a good place to start. If, like me, you’ve thought of it often and consider yourself something of an expert, this book will take you to the next level. Believe me, it really is that good!
When you read as much erotica as I do, you need something a little bit different, something of exceptional quality to get you really excited. Fortunately, there are many gifted writers in the genre and occasionally all my needs are met in one eclectic, varied volume, such as this one from Sweetmeats Press.
The stories in this collection are from five different but very accomplished authors, each with their own strengths. The theme is altered states of consciousness and each author has interpreted this theme in a very different way.
In Sommer Marsden’s Sugarshuttle Express, we experience hallucinogenic hardcore. “Simplistic sex,” Sommer tells us at one point, “which is often the best.” Extremely graphic, high-octane, high-impact simplistic sex.
The sensual sorcery of Vanessa de Sade’s Gilinda and the Wicked Witch is almost a relief, set as it is in a beautiful Edwardian spa. But it’s not long before the flame of passion quickens and some seriously sexual secrets spume forth in frothy purple prose. It is a long story and, be warned, there is no respite. It’s a coiling tornado of explicit, ecstatic and voluptuously sinful depravity.
Kristina Wright mercifully introduces a cooling draught of intellectual rigour into the anthology. Her thoughtful tale about Lilith, Adam and Eve encourages you to pause for reflection in each of its three beautifully crafted sections. We get the history of humanity summed up first from Adam’s, then from Lilith’s and finally from Eve’s perspective. There are some surprises here, not least in the elegant and effortless way in which Kristina weaves so much lewd sexual activity into her philosophical thesis. In a very strong anthlology, this story appealed to me the most, with its artful feminism, delicious sensuality and perfect rhythms.
After the gentle ironies of Lilith Returns, Velvet Tripp’s story comes as a shock. Occult, brutal, Gothic, orgiastic, debauched and demonic, this is a very detailed description of an unusual exorcism. At least I hope it’s unusual. Sometimes I think I’ve led a very sheltered life. I don’t even have a tattoo.
And after that confession, here’s another. I read Fulani’s story first. It’s called Smoking Hot and, believe me, it is. Fulani’s confident, direct, hard, assured style is perfectly suited to the subject matter of a conservative woman suddenly yielding to the dark promptings of her subconscious sexual desires. I knew right away I was in for a treat and I wasn’t disappointed.
Each story is available individually as an e-book, but why not treat yourself to the full experience by buying them together as a paperback. Then you can have a sensual riffle under the duvet of a morning. I’ve been riffling repeatedly since I got this and my mind hasn’t been the same since.
I was a little intimidated by this book to tell you the truth. I was worried that my knowledge of fairytale folklore might be found wanting. I hate having my ignorance exposed.
Fortunately, my anxiety was misplaced. Concerns for my own dignity were soon dwarfed by the perils facing Tansy; for the tough, witty, streetwise heroine of this novel is soon stripped of her smugness — and much else besides. As early as Chapter Two her clothes are expertly removed in a restaurant and she is exhibited in front of a room full of shocked diners, before being further abased in Chapter Three with the help of a spurting bottle of champagne. I say fortunately not merely out of selfish schadenfreude. I did enjoy Tansy’s humiliation but it was clear by this stage that Tansy was enjoying it a whole lot more.
“I swear I tried to hold on to some vestige of dignity. I tried not to look the diners around me in the eye as I jerked and heaved my hips, as the champagne rain splashed over me and the table, and piddled down onto the parquet floor. But I came all too quickly — with a folorn cry, clutching at his hair — just like the willing slut he’d called me. My climax rose and burst like the gush of champagne, as golden as the squandered liquid.”
The sensitive among you will recognise in these telling sentences the poetry and passion of an acutely literary sensibility. Tansy is no stranger to recondite manuscripts filled with opaque and ancient squiggles.
Worries about my dignity may have been allayed but, if I were to keep up with Tansy’s exploits, I discovered, I would need to keep my dictionary handy. Words like “lave”, “jounce”, “ululate”, “gloaming”, “frenulum” and “duergar” fly thick and fast. Duergar? Yes, I still don’t know what they are. Some kind of Scottish, impish horde, possibly, of the kind that invade the London underground during cup finals.
Which brings me to another point. If you are going to enjoy this book you will need a sense of humour. There are some scenes in here which could damage you for life were they not mitigated by a sophisticated sense of irony. If not for the jokes, you might, like Tansy, clutch your pussy and ask:
“Oh dear God. Was that the extent of my empathy? Was it really turning me on, watching a man being violated by a monster?”
This book is not for the humourless then, nor for the faint of heart.
It’s not just the sex that is racy. The plot flies along at a cracking pace. If this is your bed-time read, be warned. You may find yourself too excited to sleep.
Nor will the pictures soothe your imagination. They are explicit, outrageous and inappropriate in the most appropriate of ways.
All in all, then, this is a highly charged tour de force from one of erotica’s most fantastically imaginative minds. Janine ventures fearlessly into the darkest forests of folklore and dishes up a feast of disquieting delicacies. The things I have mentioned offer the merest hints of the kind of shocks that lie in store. There is a rich range of horrors here and acts that would make an ettin quail.
The warning on the cover is for once entirely justified.
This book gave me many hours of pleasure.
Literary allusions abound. I especially like the opening of chapter 23. “Reader, I ate him.” (Jane Eyre).
The Lolita chapter wasn’t bad, either. (Chapter 38).
Talulla, light of my life, fire of my loins … Ta-loo-la: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate … Ta. Lu. La.
There are many film references too. They are explained (sort of) but we are expected to know the films so Mr. Duncan can use them as a visual shorthand. The literary allusions are more latent, like a seam of subtle humour running through the narrative.
What is not subtle is the repeated refrain, “it wasn’t painless, it wasn’t quick.” This was overdone. The style is very self-conscious and therefore, at times, a little gauche.
Going back to the the Lolita chapter, there is no paedophilia but we get incest and bestiality instead. So that would make the genre literary paranormal horror, then. Quite acceptable on the shelves of any bookshop these days. In fact, when I bought this at Waterstones, the shopkeeper smiled sweetly and told me how much she had loved it.
There are some very descriptive, explicit sex scenes that got me more than a little excited. I’m going to steal some of his brilliant descriptions of sexual congress. No, not steal, allude. The allusions will be a subtle seam of literary humour running through my next erotica story, which will be about a teenage vampire forced to have sex with her stepdad in a nightclub called Caliban’s on New Oxford Street. After which, she will be treated to a Bloody Mary and a camel. (Not the cocktail or the cigarette.)
I checked out Glen Duncan’s favourite books on Goodreads and decided to try Earthly Powers on his recommendation. It’s very long, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, blame Glen Duncan and Anthony Burgess.
There will be more Last Werewolves coming out soon, we’ve been told. Er, not to give too much away… Twin Heirs of The Last Werewolf, perhaps. Just think incest, rape and literary and literal cannibalism.
I can hear you licking your lips from here.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is very good. The first time I read it I didn’t appreciate it. It seemed too simplistic. The characterisation seemed too stark. He was going for the easy options, I thought. The big themes. Hyperbole. Hyperdrama.
Then I read a whole lot of fantasy and science fiction novels.
In the meantime Michael Moorcock’s prose has improved. His insights have deepened. His characterisation has become more subtle. His descriptive powers have been strengthened and his tastes have become more refined.
When I got to the end this time I wanted to start again from the beginning.
I didn’t, of course, because I have shelfloads of books to review. Erotica to write. A blog to maintain.
I can see how this has influenced other writers. Perhaps it will influence me.
It probably already has.
I may not embrace the incestuous theme but I will definitely be getting more, more, more Moorcock.
I needed a well-scrubbed, de-cluttered, pristine flat before I could appreciate this fine graphic novel, which had been lying around in a pile of clutter for several months until today.
The author is Bryan Talbot, who was a comic artist with, I am told, a god-like reputation in England at the time he decided to publish this under a pseudonym. It was a departure. But if you are familiar with Bryan Talbot’s work you will know that he doesn’t fit comfortably into any genre and that he likes to take risks and go off at a tangent even within a single work.
This story is very focused, though. I like it a lot. It’s wordless and told in crisp, black and white images that are playful, repetitive and poignant. I found it very moving. It’s the story of a man and a woman whose natures make it impossible for them to be together. Some people might see the story as simplistic but I like the simplicity of it. It strips down the relationship to its essential constituents of erotic need and emotional isolation. Some of it is funny. I laughed out loud on page 52 and my flatmate dashed across the room and started reading over my shoulder. “Let me scan it and post it on Facebook!” she said.
“No, certainly not!,” I cried. “It’s important to protect the artist’s revenue potential! This has not been a big earner for him.”
I read the rest of it in silence in my bedroom, which was most appropriate given what happens on pages 66 and 67. (The 64-page story starts on page 4, by the way.)
I’m intrigued by successful artists and writers who, at the height of their fame, publish quirky little books under a pseudonym. On page 35, in panels 13 and 14, the shadows behind the bridge crossed by the lovers spell HOAX. This hoax may not have made much money for Bryan Talbot, but it has made me want to read more of his work. He’s still alive, I think, so I hope he’ll get a little frisson of pleasure when he gets his next royalty cheque and notices a slight uptick thanks to the largesse of a certain erotically inclined Asian by the name of Vanessa Wu.
As a writer of erotica, there are many things I’ve tried to learn from this book. How to make condoms sexy. How to coarsen my vocabulary. When to let my heroine wear knickers with a gusset. And many other tricks of the trade.
But there’s one thing that, for my money, Kristina does better than any other writer of erotica, and that’s to use her sophisticated mastery of language to describe quite complex physical sensations. She does it very simply and accurately and the effect is very powerful.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of her language. What she is doing is very difficult. For she doesn’t just focus on the physical. She manages to dig out and express the emotional roots of desire.
I recommend this book to every writer. Kristina can be lyrical at times but she is never self-indulgent. And when she needs to be crude she is definitively crude. Above all, she strives to be accurate. Her touchstone is undoubtedly herself, her own body, her own desires, her own responses. For this reason alone the book is very daring. Many writers of erotica fall back on well-worn phrases. They do not make best use of the raw material available to them – themselves.
As an example, here is a description of Beth walking along the beach in Brighton.
The wind buffeted me and, every now and again, my steps went crooked and drunken because it was so ferociously strong. It was warm and arid too: my eyes didn’t stream the way they would do in a chill wind. That rushing air had the opposite effect; it made my eyeballs feel strangely dry.
There are some emotions lying beneath the surface of those stark sentences but even if you are not aware of them, because I have lifted the words out of their context, you get a sense of how clinically accurate Kristina can be.
Stephen King once wrote in one of his introductions to Salem’s Lot (June 15, 2005):
So turn off the television … and we’ll talk about vampires here in the dim. I think I can make you believe in them, because while I was working on this book, I believed in them myself.
Whenever I pick up Kristina’s book and re-read her sentences about Ilya and Beth, her vivid descriptions of Brighton, her sharp and swanky dialogue, I believe that what I am reading is real. Because while Kristina was writing this book, it was real.
Not everyone can handle this kind of authenticity. This book isn’t for everyone. Beth degrades herself in ways that are sick and disgusting. She does things that no woman should ever do. But I believe in her. I understand her. I care about her. And for that Kristina earns my everlasting respect.
Every so often I download a batch of free ebooks from Amazon and trawl through them looking for some good writing. Normally I dismiss them after just a few sentences.
This one surprised me because it was literate and fluent. I read it very fast and I was quite entertained. I did a little research on the author and it turns out she is doing very well. This ebook will now cost you a dollar or two, so she is obviously working hard at the marketing.
The book was more or less error-free but the prose is a little loose. For example:
His enjoyment, he thought ruefully, may have sprung from his intense desire to see Candace wrapped in the silks, velvets and satins he purchased.
Or, more to the point, his even more intense desire to unwrap her.
He tried to shake the image of Candace naked with her legs spread wide open before him, begging for him to ram his cock inside her. He needed to focus on the task at hand.
Yeah, shake that image, Charlie boy!
This is a romance in which the man and the woman are both writers of soft porn. Now, when I read a novel I want to escape from the mundane real world that is my daily grind! This is just a small niggle. The characters are not very interesting or credible, even though Ms. Andre is writing about what she knows, but she is a capable author who is raising the standard for self-published romance novels. This is better than some Harlequin novels I’ve read anyway, although that’s not saying very much.
I give it only four stars not because it is not an important, vital book, but because the journal entries are necessarily fragmentary, disjointed and a little hard to absorb sometimes.
This is a book that has to find you at the right time. You could easily become bored or restless reading it if you weren’t in the right mood.
Nin was a beautiful writer and I often think she is misrepresented as a writer of erotica. What she wrote about so well was her sexuality, in all its complexity. In her stories she tends to play down the most important part of herself, her poetic soul. For that reason they are not her best work. Much of her best work is here, in her careful analysis of her sexual responses and her frank, unflinching and persistent process of self-discovery. Do not expect it to turn you on, though. Some of it will make you cry and depress you for days. Some of it will make you euphoric to discover that at least you are not alone.
By the way, I did not like the film of this at all. Not at all.