Elven Appetites is the first book in a fantasy erotica series by Serena Silverlake. It follows the adventures of an Elven ranger, Aisling, who arrives at a small village for a secret meeting, but ends up staying a few days and uncovering an evil cult. To kill time, she also bangs a lot of humans.
This was an unexpected treat. I am so burned out on fantasy that I often only read this genre if it is written by friends or was recommended. The book had a lot of fantasy tropes as should be expected, but what really intrigued me was that the Elves of this world are very sexually open. It is like the humans what you expect from the mainstream, and the Elves are living lives better suited in porn. It is a great contrast and really connects the porn reader to Aisling.
It also helps that Aisling prefers degrading rough sex and lots of it. Unlike a lot of fantasy stories with rough sex, Aisling is almost always the initiator and the sex is 100% consensual. I don’t know if the rest of the series will stick to that, but it works really well as a start. It is also nice to see a main heroine who is really heroic and strong on her own, as well as craving having her hair pulled and getting used like a whore.
All in all, I enjoyed the book and look forward to more from the author.
Steampunk Erotica is the unfortunately uncreative title to a really fun book. Written by Ora le Brocq, this story is set in a alternate history where wax-cylinder computers, clockwork cybernetics and backpack-powered lasers are used by men and women in the latest Victorian fashions. Mina Trelawney, a genius of technology as well as a genius of copulation, must investigate the murder of her parents and take over the family factory. Intercourse and retro science ensues.
The sex scenes are good, but what delightfully surprised me about this book is the abundance of pulp action. The villain is building an army of brainwashed people and intends nothing less than world domination. There is a kidnapping, battle in the skies between dirigibles and two ruthless attacks on a factory. Remove the sex, and you would have a great steampunk action story.
But like I said, the sex is good and there is plenty of it. This feels like the first part to a longer story but it is also very self-contained. I recommend it as a great example of how to combine porn with equally detailed action scenes.
The Pillaging of an Empire is the omnibus collection of the second Princes to Pleasure Slave Series. Written by Amanda Clover and Jay Aury, the series details the fall of an empire by horny monsters and the dark powers that command them. The monsters have access to a spell where if they ejaculate inside a mortal woman, that woman turns into a horny sex slave for their cocks. Using this power, they conquer humans, knock them up and grow their army.
Two years ago, I recommended the first part of the series, Savage Lust of the Orc Gladiator. It was a lovely fascination-with-the-abomination style story that I liked a lot. That same high quality is present throughout the other 20+ novellas in this collection.
What delighted me to the most about this series is that although some characters reappear from time to time, and there is an over-arching plot, each individual story bounces around a large empire to tell many different kinds of stories. There are mysteries, comedies, epic fantasies and tales of monstrous seduction. This variety kept everything fresh in a way that a more traditional 1000-page fantasy epic wouldn’t be able to.
Mind control is the major theme of these stories, so keep that in mind if you are not a fan. some characters submit gladly to getting fucked by monsters, while others fight it with every fiber of their being. One thing I enjoyed is that with one or two exceptions, most of the characters who get fucked and mind-controlled do so due to a flaw in their character. It is more fun to see someone succumb to a monster because they were over-confident or foolish.
All in all, this is a great series and you can’t beat the insanely low price for the collection.
It is ironic to me that I am pretty much over fantasy as a genre, but some of the best smut being made today is in the fantasy genre. I thought I would take a moment to highlight three good ones right now.
First up is “I Roved Out” by Alexis Flower. I raved about this last year and every drop of praise I gave it back then still holds true. It was my favorite work of smut last year and a big inspiration. The second book came out for Kickstarter backers and will hopefully be in the store soon. You can still get the first book in the store. It is a huge book, so order it now so you can get started on it.
Next up is “Fertile in my Ex-Boyfriend’s Dungeon” by Amanda Clover. It is an interactive erotica series of ebooks. You play a warrior woman who dates the worse wizard and when he dumps you, he places you inside his dungeon full of horny monsters. Also locked in the dungeon are other ex’s, all trying to escape.
I thought I had talked about the first book in the series, but a quick search of my blog says otherwise. That is a terrible oversight on my part as I have enjoyed each book in this series. There are a lot of choices and usually three different types of monsters in each book. Some books even give you a partner to help explore the dungeon with.
The only warning I would give is that there are mind control elements. All of the “bad endings” involved losing your will to escape to become a knocked-up besotted sex slave to a monster.
But Shon, what if I don’t want to play a woman escaping from a dungeon of horny monsters? Well, how do you feel about playing a Prince exploring a tower full of horny monsters? That is what you do in “Monster Girl Tower: Level One” by Jay Aury. It flips the script without sacrificing any of the humor or hot sex.
In this book, the crone has gathered hot monster girls and forced them to guard each level of her dungeon. You will need to need to fight (or more likely fuck) your way through each level. That is my kind of campaign.
I haven’t read the entire book yet, but what I had read is great. Jay is a good writer of monster fiction so I have faith he can do a great series.
Dead Astronauts is a book by Jeff VanderMeer. You may remember VanderMeer was the man who wrote the wonderful Annihilation book and series which I loved with all of my heart. As weird and fantastic as Annihilation was, Dead Astronauts takes weirdness to an astronomical new level.
The book opens with three travelers in astronaut suits hoping dimensions. Every dimension there is the City, a terrible place at the center of various ecological disasters. In the City lurks the Company, the cause of said disasters. In some dimensions, the City and/or Company are already dead. In others they are thriving. The three travelers are trying to put a stop to both for their own reasons.
The book bounces between different characters, none of which are human as we know it. One is a sentient moss. Another is a monster that lurks in ponds. The closest we get to a human character is a space traveler who has an eye that can see the future.
With each character, we get a different way of thinking and this is where the book shines. The different creatures are so alien and familiar at the same time. You won’t look at a fox the same way again, I promise you. some characters we get multiple times as they live through different versions of reality. Each is unique and fascinating.
VanderMeer does some neat tricks with how he presents characters. My favorite is the monster that lurks underwater. His text takes up the bottom quarter of a page, leaving the top 3/4 empty. It reinforces that this creature lives deep under the service. It is a simple thing, but it helps you sink into the character.
I will say, this was a super challenging book to read. I was never on the verge of quitting, but I was often close to wondering if I would ever understand it. In the end, I think I do and I wonder if I would have been able to get the underlying themes if it wasn’t so hard to read.
As tough as it was technically to understand, the more important warning I would give about this book is the sheer grim cruelty of the story. The Company is made of bad people doing bad things to living organisms. Creatures are experimented on and murdered with a callous indifference. It is a wonderful indictment of human cruelty to those we consider less than us, and that is even before we get to the story of the poor homeless woman.
So yeah, Dead Astronauts is difficult to read because of subject matter and due to trying to understand inhuman minds in multiple realities. But, if you can make the difficult journey through the void of human cruelty, you will explore one of the greatest science fiction stories told today.
The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham is a 1953 novel about an invading force from beneath the sea. Sadly, there is no actual Kraken. Well, there might be, but we never see it.
John Wyndham is better known for writing Day of the Triffids but this book is another one of his “cozy catastrophes.” A mysterious species beneath the sea makes life hard for humanity. Ships are sunk. Coastal towns are depleted of their population. Bad shit goes down and the world nearly ends.
The main characters are a married couple who work for a broadcast station. They are not remotely heroes. They are the people interviewing military people, scientists and eyewitnesses. They gather together accounts and try to relay the growing danger to the rest of the world.
And this is where the book becomes really interesting and still has relevance to a modern audience. The invasion takes place over several years. At every point, scientists and military people freak out, but the government, financial leaders and pundits downplay the threat.
Monsters are sinking ships? Well, we can’t limit shipping because that would hurt the economy. The monsters are superior to us? Well, that is just unpatriotic. The end of the world is coming? Well, that would require doing something about and that would interfere with the current political agenda.
It feels like a naked allegory for global warming, but really, it could be an allegory for any global crisis. The fact the author used to work as a censor for the military gives the work another level of dread as he plausibly explains every level of resistance. The end of the world is coming and despite seeing it coming, we are unlikely to do anything.
The other cool part about the book is the alien quality of the invaders. We never actually see them. They exist at pressures that humans can’t survive at. The aliens use bizarre tactics and truly feel like a species that thinks differently. We never see the creatures, but they might be one of my favorites.
Once upon a time, there were two futures. Each possible future was a paradise, but these futures could never coexist with the other. Each future sends time-travelling agents up and down the time stream to make the changes need to bring about their future. Let me be clear, this is a war and the only way to succeed is to make sure the other side can never exist.
Once upon a time correction, an agent on one side leaves a taunting letter for an agent on the other side. Is it a trap? Is it simply a boast? Or is it pure curiosity? Whatever the reason, talking to the enemy is forbidden and yet these two continue to exchange letters. Over time, their relationship changes and they fall in love.
That’s a cool idea, but what elevates “This is How You Lose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is the magnificent creativity and sweeping scale that is on every page. Some time travel stories impress you with their knowledge of historical details, hinging key plot points on what a specific historical figure had for breakfast on a certain day. This book treats time travel as something to be played with and used to awe and inspire. Characters visit Atlantis. They travel to bone yard temples of beings that predate human history. They witness fleets of starships crashing against one another. It is less Time Traveling History Lesson, and more like Time Space Opera.
And these two agents don’t send normal letters. No, one might write on the scales of a fish that will be eaten by a seal that they know the other agent will cut open. A letter might be written in the coded flashes of a lave burst. Each letter is an impossibility, which reinforces how special and creative this story is.
Half the book is the letters the two agents send to each other. The other half of the book is what amazing things the agents were doing when they come across a letter. It makes for a fast read and a rather breathless one. Their growing romance feels real and I was deeply invested in them.
This is a book I am looking forward to re-reading every year. I think you will too.
I would argue that anything Caitlin Kiernan writes is the very best but I am biased that way. This edition collects some really fabulous stories and I enjoyed every one of them. These stories are not just horror and weird fiction. These stories will fucking haunt you.
It is hard to describe Kiernan’s fiction without referencing other genres and that is a disservice as I feel most of her work transcends the genres they are related to. Take Lovecraft for example. Kiernan writes about strange ancient horrible monsters that live under the ocean and will probably devour us all BUT, when she writes it with her paleontologist background, it feels much more vivid, real and possible than when Lovecraft does it with his purple prose. Keirnan taps into the wonder and mystery of the ocean in ways that remind me of Joseph Conrad. I am repulsed and enchanted at the same time.
It is the same with her weird fiction. The hallmark of Weird Fiction is to not explain shit about what is going on, and Kiernan does that, but she also spends a lot of time with characters trying desperately to explain the unexplainable. Her weird fiction feels like it has undergone a rigorous peer review and they still couldn’t figure that shit out. Again, it just makes her fiction feel far more vivid than others.
I can’t pick a favorite story out of this anthology. Is it the story about Unicorn dildo? The family that live at the edge of some terrible gate? Or is it the reporter trying to make sense of his lover leading a cult into a suicide walk into the ocean? I haven’t even mentioned the one that explores whatever happened to Ann Darrow and her sorrow over Kong. And how about the nightmarish story about what happens when you get caught by a Fairy Queen?
There are too many treasures here to elevate one above the other.
Anita is a collection of short stories by Keith Roberts. Published in 1970, these stories tell of Anita, a witch who may be a thousand years old but has the body of a young woman and the sex drive and recklessness to match. Anita lives with her Granny out in the woods but frequently comes to town to ride in the cars of handsome boys or make friends among the outcasts.
It is a lovely collection. The stories range from comedy like when Granny and Anita get a television, to really dark mood pieces like when Anita’s town friend commits suicide so Anita gets revenge on the town with a nasty curse. The stories were published in a magazine so they are self-contained with some continuity and one story is a direct sequel of another.
This book feels like a strange time capsule that shouldn’t exist. The stories remind me a lot of Vertigo comics in the 90’s and modern paranormal romances. Granny appears to be a distant relative of Pratchett’s Granny Weatherwax. Anita’s encounter with a mermaid reads like someone describing a Charles Vess painting. I would not be surprised if Anita was an inspiration for any of these.
Although the original book cover suggests the book is a sex book, it really isn’t by today’s standards. Anita has a lot of casual sex but it is never explicit. That doesn’t mean the book isn’t a sensual delight at times, as the imagery is quite lush. I imagine when this book was published, the idea of a woman fucking whoever takes her fancy must have seemed like porn to mainstream audiences.
My only criticism is that sometimes the witchcraft strays into satire. Hell has a bureaucracy and there is an Infernal Controller who regulates the movement of supernatural creatures like an air traffic controller. It is a shame because mixed with these satirical elements are some really good creepy magic moments that would fit perfectly into a horror novel or a modern supernatural romance. There are quite a few bits I plan to steal for my own fiction.
My copy was published in 1970 but it was reprinted in a lovely hardcover in 1990. The hardcover has illustrations and I am tempted to get it. There is also a cheaper no-frills Kindle version available.
I have a backlog of books involving witches. I try to read books that share similar themes to whatever I am writing and when Fight in the Sex Arena went from taking six months to writing to thirteen, I ended up reading a lot of science fiction. Now I am am reading books that I barely remember buying, much less why I bought them.
The Passionate Witch by Thorne Smith is one of those books. It certainly looks salacious. I probably bought it thinking it was porn. Little did I know that it was written in 1942 by the guy best known for the Cary Grant Topper movies. Sadly, Thorne didn’t finish the book and someone else did. Like most posthumously finished books, it shows.
The story is about a putz, Mr. Wooly. He is a successful insurance and real estate mogul, a pillar of the community and an extremely dull man. Because this is the 40’s, that means he is a vegetarian, takes lots of vitamins, doesn’t drink and is completely obvious to how badly his secretary wants to marry him. His servants think he is a wimp and kind of despise him and quite frankly, I did too.
Through ridiculous circumstances, he rescues a naked woman from a burning hotel. The hotel is of a dubious reputation so when people see him coming out with a naked woman over his shoulder, every one snickers and thinks Mr. Wooly is a lot more interesting than he is.
Long story short, he ends up marrying the witch, regretting it and trying to get rid of her. The witch herself is the most interesting part of the book as she sleeps outside in the branches of a tree and curses the secretary to only be able to type backwards.
But Shon, I see it is described as “Ribald” on the cover. Is this a dirty book?
Uh, Maybe? The sex scenes happen during the asterisks in the story, which was a clever moment. There is a description of pomegranates that was a bit sexy once you understand it was talking about her breasts. A lot of people are sleeping around on their spouses. Almost every man is in a state of “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” over Mr. Wooly’s ordeal with no sympathy for him being married to a hot witch. It is certainly a comedy about adult relationships, but less explicit than an episode of Riverdale.
I do want to note that halfway through the book, the witch dies. I was pretty stunned. The last thing she did before dying was curse Wooly with the ability to hear thoughts. He finds the only way to stop the voices is by drinking. This means the last half of the book is about his drunken exploits and the hilarity that ensues until he realizes his witch’s spirit is inside his first wife’s old horse.
So, yeah. It is not what I expected, but it is a cute book if you enjoy 40’s style drinking comedy. It is also illustrated, which is a nice surprise. This book has been reprinted many times and there is in fact an ebook version on Amazon. I guess passionate witches are timeless.