Edited by Ginger Meyerson
Trade Paperback, 185pgs
The Wapshott Press
Erotica for Women by Women
Chase and Other Stories is an anthology of erotic stories featuring male/male relationships and aimed towards a female audience. As a female slash fan - a writer and reader of fanfiction featuring male/male romances, often erotic in nature - this concept works for me. While there are professional novels out there - often science fiction or fantasy - that also have these relationships, they're not common. The other major source would be yaoi - manga and novels written mostly for teen-age girls, usually Japanese. And because they're Japanese, the American reader has to contend with cultural differences and (often poor) translations that make them difficult to read. This novel seeks to fill that niche.
Is it successful? Yes, and no. Since it is an anthology, the stories vary widely in quality - although I must say it's very well edited. I'm one of those readers who ping on poor grammar and punctuation, and there was none of that. It's also an interesting experience reading original fiction as opposed to fanfiction.
The stories themselves range from highly erotic to gently romantic, and from contemporary stories to fantasy and science fiction. The weakest story of the book, in my opinion, was the first one, "The Lawn Fags." It didn't really go anywhere - guy is left alone by his unsatisfying boyfriend, lusts after the gardener, fantasizes about the gardener outloud to his female therapist (ick) and then...has sex with hs boyfriend. I also had problems with the eponymous story - I found the backstory strained and unbelievable. I think the idea of human rabbits and hawks just hurt my brain, so much so that the rather sweet love scenes didn't work for me.
The strongest one is...harder. I think my favorite was "Chiaroscuro", which managed to build a world and two different romances with great skill and economy in a very short space. Somehow, even in a near-future dystopia under economic and environmental collapse, there is love to be found if one has strength to go for it. Well done, indeed.
I was less fond of "Dipsy Doodle Inn" - the story itself was enjoyable, and I liked that the writer avoided the obvious pairing, but the names - as they got more and more baroque, I could see the author smiling, which took me out of the story. This is a problem.
Quite honestly, most of the stories were quite readable, with all the characters comfortable with their sexuality. While there are some highly erotic scenes, most tend to the sweet. There's a good dose of magic and aliens, and even some music along the way. I do recommend this book for those looking for some of the feelings of good slash fic in original form. Nothing is brilliant, but little is *bad*.