Sex and death are a terrifying combination. This is an anthology of stories, which range from sensuous and languid self-discovery to viscerally disturbing passion and from dark and perverse revenge to sexual politics in a dangerous age.
A complete list of the stories is
· The Lady of Situations by Stephen Dedmen
· Hungry Skin by Lucy Taylor
· Becky Lives by Harry Crews
· The Swing by Nicholas Royle
· Lover Doll by Wayne Allen Sallee
· The Careful Geometry of Love by Kathe Koja and Barry N. Malzberg
· The Pain Barrier by Joel Lane
· Menage a Trois by Richard Christian Matheson
· On Amen's Shore by Clive Barker
· Fever Blisters by Joyce Carol Oates
· An Outside Interest by Ruth Rendell
· And Salome Danced by Kelley Eskridge
· That Old School Tie by Jack Womack
· Ice Palace by Douglas Clegg
· Serial monogamist by Pat Cadigan
· Dying in Bangkok by Dan Simmons
The stories are well written and move quickly. There is a wide range of sex portrayed, so there is something for everyone, no matter what you're into. This would be the perfect book for fans of the Hot Blood series, or Anne Rice fans.
In "Hungry Skin" by Lucy Taylor, a young woman finds there is more than meets the eye in her late, estranged father's erotic artworks, and eventually finds herself in them as well. A man desiring revenge on his ex-wife finds an opportunity in the form of a young prostitute with a familiar face in Harry Crews' deliciously cruel "Becky Lives." Love and devotion among freaks is examined in Wayne Allan Sallee's "Lover Doll." Dan Simmons takes us to frightening foreign lands in the chilling "Dying in Bangkok." A traveling student learns the power of memory in Stephen Dedman's "The Lady of Situations." And Clive Barker revisits a world from his novel 'The Great and Secret Show' as two rogues are enlisted to rescue a man from the dream-sea, in the very funny "On Amen's Shore." (One need not have read the novel to understand or enjoy this story.)
There are also memorable pieces from Pat Cadigan (another very funny story), Jack Womack, Nicholas Royle and Kathe Koja.
Only a few are a bit weak. Richard Christian Matheson's entry, like most short-shorts, is unsatisfying, while Joyce Carol Oates' and Joel Lane's are relatively pointless exercises.
Overall, a good variety of styles and content is represented here - subtle or explicit, from earthy suspense to happenings of a more surreal nature. There's probably something here for everyone. This is an exceptional collection worth looking for.
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