The Annex Reviews, January 2003 |

The Annex Reviews, January 2003

1/4/03 The 2002 Cyrrheal Awards; One on One (Courtney Sweet); Violet (Toran); Suzy's Honeymoon (Glaucus, Ted E. Bear); Movie Notes: The Fluffer

1/18/03 The Prince (Unknown; Working at the Institute, Part 1 (Tom Wayne); Megan's Fantasy (Laura Lynn Davis); Bed and Breakfast, Part 1 (Kelli Paine)

1/24/03 ~Original Slash~ Tears in the Mirror (Alice Montrose); Closing Time (Allisan); Auctioned (Kai); Caled's Wager (Tricia); At the Baths (GioGio); Remembrance Past (Jess); Slave to Passion (Chi no Iro); Virtual (Manna and Donna); Website Review: Palace of the Keys


The 2002 Cyrrheal Awards

Here are my awards for best neterotica of 2002. Keep in mind not all these stories are A+, and not every A+ story got an award; these are just the stories that impressed me, for better or for worse, in the year of 2002. As usual, I pick the story and then tailor the award to it, not the other way around. If the awards seem freighted towards BDSM, fantasy, and slash it is just an indication of my reading interests for that year and not that I didn't find regular erotica or porn lacking in merit. It's also because I hate wasting a read, even a recreational one!

So, on with the awards.

Best Victorian Mystery/Rubber Fetish story:
The Revenant of Hargreave Manor, by Bill Lemieux (4/25/02)

This story impressed me deeply with its tone of gothic mystery and descriptions of rubber and latex bondage gear... and sinister bondage devices, as well. Much was left deliciously to the imagination.

The Sweet Kisses Award for Most Promising Teen Slash Writer:
My Sweet Prince, Nina Inherz (4/25/02)

Not the best yaoi/slash story out there, but the funniest and wackiest. From the now-tame self-posting archive, it serves as a reminder of how wild and freewheeling this community of young fanfic writers once was.

Most Extreme Slave: Christopher Enslaved, Joshua Ryan (5/26/02)

The cruelest, most eerily plausible, and best-detailed slave story I have ever read, gay or straight.

Best Mind Control Writer for 2002 (tie): Farleven, Trilby Else (5/30/02; 7/20/02)

I've read many stories from both these writers. Trilby impresses me with his handling of plot and character in his SF/fantasy tales, even if the stories don't always end happily. Farleven writes more traditional porn and it's comparatively less fine, and more stereotyped, but still very hot reads in the slave/mind control vein. Two very different authors, both worth reading.

Best Short-short(s): Seven Flashes, Selena Jardine (6/20/02)

Seven stories under 500 words, each different and sexy in its own way

The Fuck Dodgers Award for Best Science Fiction Spoof:
Lance Storm and the Slaves of the Hypnotron, by Wersgor (6/30/02)

A humorous gay parody that winks knowingly at science fiction movie serials and 1950s space opera shows.

Best Historical: Red Revenge, by Frances LeGatta (6/30/02)

Imagine Daniel DeFoe crossed with a bodice-ripper. A lush erotic encounter with an Indian brave.

Best Original Slash: Titos' Adventures, by Paladin (7/20/02)

Not the best edited or proofread slash fantasy out there, but one author's unique, almost British voice, sexy and sweet and very imaginative.

Best Tolkien BDSM Writer: Tyellas (8/2/02)

This author perfectly captures the Tolkien tone and adds her own unique twist to Middle-Earth canon, with impeccable research and elegant prose.

The Bung Gusher Award for Most Gratuitous Use of Blood and Gore:
Untitled, Abby (8/2/02)

This LotR bloodfic was about unfettered assault and little else. Read only if you like to fantasize about characters beaten to bloody pulps.

Best Humor: Outback, Dingo Jay (9/2/02)

There were other humor stories, but this Aussie bestiality tale took the cake. Serious or not? You decide.

The Wiggy Marsdust Award for Gender Ambiguity:
The Question, by Rev. Cotton Mather (7/10/02)

I wasn't sure whether to award this story or not, but realized it had stuck in my head for a long time after I read it, taking on new meanings the more I thought about it. That, and I liked the rhythmic nature of the prose.

Best Superhero: Wonder Woman, the Conquest of Paradise by Knight; American Dream, by Krazy Kat (10/13/02)

Of all the superhero fics I've read these two were the best, combining adventure, spandex, sexual mishaps, and a sense of humor.

Best Family BDSM: Family Shoot 2000, Herman (10/26/02)

If three female generations of one family got together to pose for bondage photographs this is exactly what would happen.

The Herschell Gordon Lewis Blood Feast Award for Best Vore Writer:
Neuralmancer (10/26/02)

This author impressed me with his (?) dark sense of cruelty and out-there scenarios involving cannibalism, slave farming, and snuff.

Author Honorable Mentions:
Allison, The Purple Herald, Cyan, Spline Duck, David Shaw, Souvie.

The Blue Pill [A]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 12/28/02
Author: Scott
Author address: [email protected]
Type: M/M, SF, rom

This story begins in adventurous SF mode, setting the tension: a man and his commanding officer, a woman, have experienced an accident in space, and they're running out of oxygen. Their ship is crippled and they're moving only slowly into range where they can set out a distress call. Their crewmates are dead. Things look hopeless when the narrator finds the hallucinogenic drug of the title:

These little blue pills were called dreamers because of the intense sexual fantasy illusions they were said to produce. The word was this pill was so powerful it often so scrambled the users brain with phenomenally powerful fantasies that a person just couldn't go back to a regular life.

The two want to go out with a bang, so they take the pill and have a shared-mind sex encounter in a virtual cabana on a beach. Later they are rescued, the drug having slowed their metabolism so they can stretch out the air that's left.

This was a very good story both in its plot (there is a plot for once), setting, and characterization. I thought the sexual fantasy was kinda tame considering the pill had unlimited power (it was romantic hetsex with a bit of light bondage) but then, I'm used to stronger stuff. I also thought too much was made of the fact that the female commander needed to let her hair down and let herself be a "real woman" in such a yuppie Pottery Barn scenario. Still, the interplay between the two characters was good, and it was a suspenseful, touching story.

One by One [B+]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 12/28/02
Author: Courtney Sweet
Author address: [email protected]
Author website:
Type: M+/F, cons, male stripper

Courtney Sweet has been writing unapologetic porn for a while now, raunchy female fantasies designed to get the reader hot without any pretense of plot or character. I read her slave girl auction ones a while ago (not reviewed) and now this one, about one woman's encounter with a group of horny male strippers:

"She's ready Scott" Adam murmured and Fiona felt herself being held steady as Adam buried his wedge of man meat deep inside her hot swollen pussy. She gasped and moaned loudly as the hard rod of man muscle invaded her silky depths, she was so horny his entry into her fuck hole almost made her cum on the spot.

I'm puzzled on how to deal with pure porn. I know it's silly to criticize it on literary terms because it's more advertisement than story, with magic phrases like "abused cum filled mouth" and "orgasm-swollen cunt" and "hot spurts of sperm." It would have been very easy for me to be snide with this story. But I read it to the end, and enjoyed it, even though the descriptions of tanned, oiled, hairless male stripper bodies didn't really turn me on -- I like real men who sweat and have hair and muscles that don't look like they've been injection-molded. Stripper men, and most men in recent porn films, actually, look gelded to me, like steers or action figures. Though I'm often tempted to touch one, just to see what it feels like.

Nonetheless the writer did a good job for a strictly porny fantasy, the only improvement being perhaps a willingness to be more individual in the subject matter and writing style.

Violet [A]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 12/29/02
Author: Toran
Author address: [email protected]
Type: M/F, bondage

Toran impressed me with his gothic horror/sex tale "Do You Want to Continue?" in the Gromet's Self-Bondage website I reviewed a while back. This is a new bondage tale from him, shorter and more lyrical. An unnamed woman is sleeping soundly in bed dreaming of a "muscular black stallion" carrying her to some unnamed doom. She wakes up to find a real intruder has broken in, who begins to tie her up in silk cords:

Around and around he bound her and only when he had her elbows tied together did he stop to reach into his pocket for the second coil. By now, she was shrieking and that would have to be stopped but, catlike, he sat up and turned so that that he could capture her flailing ankles with his rope. Like a maypole being bound on mayday, her legs gradually lost their freedom and were motionless as his bindings went from ankle to thigh. A quick tie-off between her pinned wrists and a delicate rope about her big toes, and she was captured in a snug hog-tie.

The story ends on a tense note: "Thunder boomed outside her bedchamber and briefly illuminated the silk bag that she was being slid into. She would never see her bed again, nor would she ever be free of his ropes again. "

A short, well-executed bondage fantasy, lovingly told, and you can tell the author *means* it, to whoever he's telling it to.

Suzy's Honeymoon [C]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 12/31/03/02
Author: Glaucus/Ted E. Bear
Author address: [email protected]
Type: F/F, M/F, tg, rape, humil, exhib, bond, toys, first, wife

Whew! This story had a shitload of categories in it.

A virginal young couple, Suzy and Brad, go to Turkey for their honeymoon and are immediately deported because Suzy is carrying some mace (?) Until their return ticket home they are held in a Turkish prison. Not the dirty, cockroach-filled hellhole we're familiar with from the movies, but a bright, clean, multinationally staffed facility equipped with a full honeymoon suite... the better to videotape the drugged, clueless lovebirds on their wedding night, making of that sweet time a perverted travesty of lust.

I've come across a handful of stories over the years with this theme -- not necessarily honeymooners in Turkish prisons, but virginal young couples who are humiliated by more experienced roues -- and have always found them hard to swallow, because young people today are more sophisticated about sex, even if they're virgins. I could have forgiven this if the story was good. But it wasn't; there were many more problems with plausibility, from the stiff dialogue rife with misspellings ("I will make love to you and your wife Brad, in France it is called a menage au trios") to the lack of research regarding setting (What's a German prison guard doing in a Turkish prison? And why do all the other prison staff speak and act like they're Americans? It couldn't have been that hard to look up old Newsweek articles at the local library.) And while some sex scenes were good, such as a forced sex encounter between Suzy, a vibrator, and the aforementioned German matron, attempts at adding pathos to the couple's fate fell flat, reading like the "Oh Brad! Oh Lisa!" scenes of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Which I don't think the original author intended.

However the original writer is long out of the picture, having abandoned this story in 1997; later chapters will be penned by Ted E. Bear, who reposted these first ones as an introduction to his own. So the quality of the piece may yet improve; you'll have to wait and see.

Movie Notes: The Fluffer

We got a DVD player for Christmas, so over Winter break I've been busy catching up on all the movies I've missed during the latter half of the year. This movie was one of them. Filed under GAY in my favorite indie rental place, it's a raunchy comedy set, like "Boogie Nights," in the porn industry. Unlike that film it's the gay porn world of direct- to-video movies, a world of anonymous offices, indifferent actors, jerry-rigged sets, and atrocious dialogue.

Sean, a naive film buff, comes to LA intent on breaking into movies, but the only job he can get is as gofer and camera boy for Janus Films, a gay video production house. He meets a variety of colorful characters: buffed straight boy Johnny Rebel, Janus Film's star, who does gay films for quick cash; Hector, a sweet, gay Mexican production assistant; a persnickety bondage "boy" who is actually a queen in his late 40s; a genial- acting but nasty old-school camera man who gives the hero a hard time; a level-headed female exotic dancer upfront about her appetite for big, dumb men; and lastly the owner of Janus Films, Chad Cox, a fast-talking ex-porn star in shorts and tennis shoes played by Robert Wagner... scruffy but lovable ace reporter Joe Rossi from the old Lou Grant TV show! I admit it was a bit of a shock for me hearing the star of one of my favorite teenage shows talk enthusiastically about sucking cock, but I adjusted, and he, like all the actors, did star turns in this film. The story depicts Sean's progression from his first confused days on the job through his growing infatuation with Johnny Rebel, the dim, musclebound star whom he occasionally fellates to full erection for the camera. It shows how he becomes too wrapped up in this world -- in an amusing way, not the moralistic bad turns of "Boogie Nights" -- destroying his budding relationship with a nice young man as Johnny Rebel eventually destroys all of his, and they both are forced to flee from the law when a major crime is committed. But I don't want to give away too much.

As a plus, on the DVD there's production notes, deleted scenes, a Johnny Rebel montage (I hear some gays have been talking this illusory character as if he's real) and a hilarious gallery of the fake video boxes created for the film, with titles like "Citizen Cum."

Funny and touching: recommended, even if you think it would skeeve you out. Come on, there's only one shot of somebody's dick in it.

Director Richard Glatzer, Writer Wash Westmoreland


The Prince [B]
Where found: Diana the Valkyrie
Author: Unknown
Type: M/F, femdom, bondage, fantasy

Sometimes it's refreshing to read a story badly translated from another language, like this one. It gives you a different perspective on things... world culture, and all that.

I don't know what the original language was but I'd say it was Japanese going by the long series of adjectives before each noun and the anime-ish plot. The ruthless girl soldiers of Deviland have invaded Souland, and the boy soldiers of that state are helpless to stop them. In fact, they are conquered pretty easily and marched back to serve Deviland's Warrior Queen as sex slaves, except for the nameless crown prince, who is to serve her daughter, the Devil Princess. It's a very cute idea, and save for all the abuse inflicted upon the kid's cock and balls, an agreeable servitude. The fractured prose had a rhythmic feel ("In no time at his powerful male body spasmed with climax and he pumped his semen, his royal boy milk into the air in great spurting globules") and though repetition usually gets on my nerves I found it soothing here, almost poetic:

[The] prince knew that he would be the sex slave of the Devil Princess for the rest of his life, and serve his princess master with his strong chests muscles, his eight pecks, muscular thighs, once proud royal cock and manhood. He would be raped, whipped, spanked, tortured over and over again by his master, while the prince's cock, nipples and balls would be squeezed, twisted, kneaded often. The prince would be ordered to lick and suck the princess, use his tongue to serve the young princess, while his cock was being stroked and manhood being milked dry. His muscular smooth body would be kept shaved, with no pubic hair and armpit hair. And the prince, once a proud young handsome and muscular warrior boy, would be violated, degraded and humiliated over and over again by his new master, the Devil Princess, while he would be always nude except for his slave collar and cock cage, spread eagle, showing his muscular torso and vulnerable manhood to his master to admire when he was on his knees spread eagle.

Daffy, no? Especially the "eight pecks" (could the writer have meant "six-pack?")

Definitely a different flavor than a Western femdom story. Though I can't rate it too highly because of its many errors, I did get a little excited reading it.

Working at the Institute, Part 1 [A+]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 1/7/03
Author: Tom Wayne
Author address: [email protected]
Type: M/f+, M/F, SF, exhib, mild D/s, bondage, oral, rim, anal, toys, latex

I always feel like I've accomplished something when I discover a new writer this good. He's written a story with a number of different sex acts, but the overall theme of it is (in the male narrator's words): "I loved being a slut. Most men did, but not everyone could admit it. I knew my place, and it was right here, being a sex object."

It is the 22nd century and the narrator of the story works at a high-tech sex education center where he gives erotic demonstrations to different classes of young people. The future world is well detailed and very real, the forced education having eradicated prostitution, venereal diseases, and sexual hang-ups. It's all pretty plausible, really, up until the time braless schoolgirls enter clad in tight latex shorts, thong panties, and slave collars for their lesson. Oh well, you can't have anything. But then they get their hands on the male demo model, and there's the greatest description of schoolgirl orgy I've ever read, twenty or so girls ravishing helpless male flesh with their lips, tongues, fingers, and pussies, the guy loving every minute of it even as they invade his ass. What is not to love?

But it doesn't stop there. The class's instructor Ms. Neubold has her way with the models after the class has left, trussing them up in bondo gear as she rides one and sucks the other... until she presses the secret button on her leather corset that finally lets them cum buckets. Very descriptive, and very hot.

This story had something for everyone. My only nitpick is that while lesbianism was mentioned as a sexual alternative male homosexuality was not. An oversight?

Megan's Fantasy [A]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 1/10/02
Author: Laura Davis
Author address: [email protected]
Type: M/F, F/F, BDSM, slave

This author posted a lot of stories under this name in early 2002; all of them dealt with dark themes, and all were excellent, including the finely crafted short-short "Serial Killer."

This story begns with the narrator telling us her fantasy has always been to be a slave, and after a divorce, she assists her ex-husband's aid in making the dream come true. She's soon on her way to a Hong Kong clearing house for piercing and training, culminating in an auction with a twist: "Before the sale began I was put through my paces - I sucked cock, was fucked, and took one cock in my ass while sucking another. Then, as a finale, I went down on Willow. I had to bring her to orgasm within two minutes or I'd be strung up by my ankles and whipped to death. There were ten seconds left when she came."

She winds up being sold to a wealthy Chinese businesswoman who wants a bodyguard/bedmate, and after a demonstration of her loyalty (which requires self- mutilation) the narrator receives training in the defensive arts, and in the end is very happy with her new life of luxury.

There was enough stuff in here for a novel (or a couple of novels) but it was told in under 2,000 words, which was fine by me... all the shocking stuff was there without the lengthy slave-training passages stories of this sort usually have. Unless you bring some unique twist on it -- like having your victim be a petite cheetah-girl in a space opera setting (like the furotica novel "Trouble's Story" was, which I'll be reviewing in a future posting) why bother re-inventing the wheel? There's only so many ways you can torment a slave.

More of a vignette than a fully fleshed story, but still well done, and the author's other work is recommended as well.

Bed and Breakfast (Part 1) [C]
Where posted: ASSM
When posted: 1/18/02
Author: Kelli Paine
Author address: [email protected]
Type: m/f, M/F, cons, inc

I've noticed the number of stories on ASSM has been steadily dropping for the last year. It's maybe half to one third what it was back in 1997 when I started reviewing, which isn't surprising as so many writers have their own websites now or submit to specialty archives to showcase their work. There's been a corresponding rise in story quality as casual writers defect to self-posting archives and role-playing chat rooms. Happily, though, there are always enough atrocious stories around for a reviewer to spit her coffee across the room in a wheeze of pure vicious pleasure.

This one was one of the family-that-has-sex-together- stays-together ones. Not that I have a problem with incest per se, it's just that the setups are always so laughable. A well-off 32-year-old mother decides to get out of the computer business (it isn't explained why) by buying a bed and breakfast and pimping herself, and her teenage children, out to the B&B's customers (again it's not explained why she gets such a radical idea) a plan which the kids are very amenable to (once again, it's never explained why.) Mom even posts an extensive list of rates for sexual services: $100 buys an hour of her daughters' whipping and torture, but her own costs a mere $30. Sounds kinda low to me. And only $500 for a virgin deflowering? For shame! Virgins are worth much more these days.

Actually the whole story was list-like in nature -- Mom is 5 feet 7 and 120 pounds, Daughter One, 5 feet 3, 110 pounds, Daughter Two, 5 feet 5, 100 pounds, in which case, please feed her, as she's borderline anorexic. And though the author meant by these fact-nuggets for everything to seem logical, it wasn't: Daughter One is 17 and Mom 32, which means Mom birthed her first child at age 15. While it's possible for young teen mothers to continue school, graduate, and get good jobs, it's not very likely if they have two other kids in close succession. And where is the kids' father in this scenario?

In sum, silly, unbelievable, and not worth much even as a stroke story, because the writing was so flat and factual. In fact the whole thing showed a severe lack of imagination.


Special Annex Review: Original Slash

Slash (the pairing of two same-sex media characters) has been around for almost thirty years now. Long considered a subgenre of fan fiction, it's been slowly nurtured by the communications possibilities of the net -- and a slow shift in general American culture -- to become a literary genre in its own right. In fact, it's become the female equivalent of porn, written by women for women. Both serve the same need for sexual fantasy and escapism, yet both are very different, opposites, even. Porn is produced mainly by men, slash by women. Porn is written and consumed in private; slash is communal. Porn objectifies through sexuality; slash humanizes. Porn requires pretense; slash, confession and honesty. Porn glorifies female bodies; slash, male bodies. And on and on. In recent years birthed it's birthed a whole other genre -- that of "original" slash, or the application of a slash sensibility to a regular M/M sex story.

What exactly is a slash sensibility? It's a bit hard to define, but you know it when you read it. I'll say it is generally polite in tone, often genteel, and usually carefully written and proofread. A distinct authorial voice is not seen as important or even especially desirable. Plot events are related in a way that is personal, emotional, melodramatic; the tone often becomes full-blown gothic when males are victims or victimized, the physical and mental cruelty serving to reveal the emotional character of the male protagonists, though more often it revels. Slave and D/s ("power differential") themes are very common in slash, as well as the more mundane ones of sighing and longing, and wondering if the adored one will ever return the attraction. Yaoi is slash's Japanese twin, adding anime themes to the mix and male characters that are often younger, prettier, and more passive.

Whatever you think of such things, the genre has been growing exponentially during the past few years. There are hundreds of female-run websites out there, many painstakingly and beautifully designed; there are also sophisticated host sites with complicated database systems, CGI programming, and intricate DHTML and XHTML scripting, all the more amazing considering the bulk of the writers are young women in their late teens and twenties... females in their dating years who will be deciding the course of our sexual mores in the near future. Indeed, the whole phenomenon heralds some very interesting changes that I can't wait to see.

Tears in the Mirror [A]
Where found: Alice's Fiction Site
Author: Alice Montrose
Author address:
[email protected]
Type: M/m, original slash, fantasy, incest, rape

This story features one of those power differential setups so appealing to slash writers: a prisoner, a defenseless young member of royalty, taken before an enemy ruler to receive his sentence, whatever that may be. Here it really isn't played for sex, though the slashy elements are there ("Standing there, in the presence of the man, he realized some of the rumours had been true. The king was very appealing to women and not only, if one would actually listen to the more obscene comments.") It soon comes out, though, that the teenage prince is there for purposes of revenge, because of a rape inflicted on the sister of the king by the prince's father, and the king intends to dish it out in turn:

Then the guards came for him, four of them this time. He tried to fight them off, struggling in their hands with all the strength he had left as they dragged him towards the large canopied bed. Heavy iron hackles had been fixed at the headboard, awaiting their prisoner.

He swore at the king, but the mans only reaction was the same grim smile, as he pointed one finger at Mariel. "Take his clothes off," he ordered.

Then, as the rape is about to commence, a twist occurs. I won't reveal it, but it's a typical 1990s one.

Though the ending was a little sappy what came before it was good, the slashy elements in place without being too exploitive (this IS an anti-rape story) but dramatic enough to satisfy that slashy, er, urge. And this author can write, and keep a melodramatic scene going, and if I'm not mistaken she knows full the fire she is playing with, and uses it to her advantage.

Closing Time [B+/B]
Where found: Stories by Allisan
Author: Allisan
Type: M/M, original slash, rom

This story was one of the realistic ones, though the description of teal-colored hair at the beginnning gives an early indication of yaoi influences. (For a more complete description of yaoi, see my 4/25/02 reviews.) Isamu, or Izzy, takes his younger sister out to a club called The Spurned Lover to celebrate her birthday, and obligingly lets her doll him in the latest glammy duds ("The butter soft jeans were indecently tight and the metallic tank--hell, it might as well be painted on") but is strangely frosty to the sexual attention he gets. He sits at the bar getting drunker and drunker when an old friend, Jazz, comes over, and it's clear the two are destined to become lovers. If you can't tell by the alliterative ZZs in their names, you can tell by the description of the clothing.

A brown leather vest hung loose and open on Jazz's athletic torso, the dark color creating an erotic contrast for what seemed like endless amounts of smooth white skin. The navy pants were cut low and tight, showing off a ribbed stomach and delineating curved buttocks, clinging like a glove down sculpted thighs to the top of the shapely calves, which were covered by dark leather boots.

Izzy had never told anyone that during the last year of his marriage, he used to fantasize about Jazz just to get hard enough to have sex with his wife. He had discounted the attraction as a normal by-product of great affection between two men. But now... as he felt his heart thundering in his chest, and the moisture on his palms and upper lip, he knew that wasn't the case. Izzy couldn't tear his eyes away from the sensual creature posing saucily in front of him.

So they swish off together in a Barbie dream date come true (with Velvet Goldmine glammy overtones) and eventually have slashy sex:

Izzy whimpered softly and tightening his arms around Jazz's head, he brought their lips more firmly together and slipped his tongue deep into the other's moist cavity. So hot! Izzy's tongue explored the honeyed interior with exciting directness. So sweet! Jazz moaned deep in his throat, the sound vibrating around Izzy's tongue, drawing an answering groan and a deepening of the kiss.

The writing style was at once gung-ho and naive; fun to read, but there was no way I could take it seriously as a story. To make things worse it was a songfic, with verses interspersed throught the prose to set the scene (assuming the reader has heard this particular song before and has the same emotional reaction to it that the characters do.) It's clear the author is very young.

In short, severe silliness + some promising writing skill = B, and I am nudging it toward a B+ because the author did not mention boxers once.

Auctioned [B-/C+]
Where found: Bloodlines and Lineups
Author: Kai
Author address:
[email protected]
Type: M/M, original slash, rom, slave, rape

In this story the author tries very hard to meld a slash sensibility with a plot out of gay porn. Twenty-five- year-old Nick is vacationing in Egypt when he is kidnapped by Arabs at the Great Pyramid and auctioned off to be a "companion" to a mysterious Greek named Alik, who, though short-tempered at first, soon proves himself a romantic. He even realizes he made a mistake and offers to free Nick. But Nick is so enraptured by the hot sex he demurs the decision, only to be drugged with amytal and raped the next day by one of Alik's seedy business associates. Alik rescues him in mid- ejaculation, the raper is arrested, and the two share a comfort fuck, after which Nick states he'd rather stay with his benefactor than go back to Vancouver.

This was all well and good, except the writer couldn't make it plausible. First off, the Great Pyramid is less than a mile from downtown Cairo, so it's hard to believe someone would hike out and camp there as if it's hundreds of miles from civilization. The setting of the auction was likewise vague, and so was the location of the Master's house; it seemed like it was in America, going by the blaring police-car sirens that pull up to arrest the rapist, but Egyptian police wouldn't come so quickly. Neither would they put the rapist into "dark blue coveralls cleaning the graffiti and gum wads off your beloved pyramid displays" -- this is an American conceit. (Real Egyptian cops would probably just let the guy go after a hefty baksheesh.) There were other naivetes about setting and culture as well, including a blonde hair obsession ("his hair the colour of the morning sunrays, soft as the silk we harvest") language errors (people speak Arabic, not Arabian) mixed metaphors ("His green eyes let the world see through his soul and never allowed him to lie through his teeth") and, last but not least, the use of boxers as erotic clothing. I swear, from now on, any slash story that features these stupid garments is going to get a full grade demerit, I mean it.

All that said, I did think the story was kind of sweet. But it was an experiment the writer didn't have the skill to make successful, at least not yet.

Caled's Wager [A]
Where found: JuxtaposeFantasy
Author: Tricia
Author address:
[email protected]
Type: M/M, M/M+, original slash, fantasy, semicons, lt bondage

Tricia has been running the Lure of the Ring Tolkien slash website for some time, and has spun off her writing endeavors into this site, Juxtapose, which features SF and fantasy slash. This was clearly a move to "turn pro" -- $9.99 buys you a months' subscription to the goods, a development fairly new in the slash world (though I know of several others) and time will tell if she makes any money off it. Nevertheless she seems prepared to work hard to deliver a quality product: "My previous website, featuring fanfiction for The Lord of the Rings, currently contains 45 stories/chapters that I wrote over the course of 6 months. That translates to almost 2 a week." I can attest for the quality of the author's LotR writing: her Aragorn/Legolas rapefic "The Nature of Fear" impressed me with both its adherence to movie canon and its psychological nuances.

So I went to the new site to read the background for her fantasy world, which seems pretty standard: a group of six hunky guys, a mixture of thieves, mercenaries, and magic-users united together to seek and destroy an evil sorceror. Their bios are detailed on a separate page along with some amateurish headshot illustrations -- a visual device net writers are increasingly using these days, and one that seems to have been cribbed from computer role-playing games. It also wasn't needed, as the writer was skilled enough to delineate her characters early on in the free trial story she posted. Caled the devil-may-care mercenary is bored one night, so he bets his thief friends Lios and Gam that they can seduce Hadrian, the sensual but remote sorceror of the party, in the hayloft for some three-way sex. So the two set forth, capturing him rather too easily (wouldn't a sorceror have means to escape such an assault?) But this is slash, so the two tie his hands to an overhead beam and start to ravish him, Caled joining on on the fun to offer suggestions. Poor Hadrian is soon in a froth of frustrated passion, at which Caled dismisses his friends to take over the job -- seems he's had a thing for his friend all along.

There was nothing new or unique about this story -- it wasn't as amusingly daffy as "Closing Time" or as detailed and well-plotted as "Remembrance Past" -- but the author writes very professionally, and kept me reading to the end. The sex scenes were hot, if overextended, and I'd definately want to read on to see how the characters' sexual entanglements are resolved. The only problem was a blandness to the story's style. Since the slash community self-polices itself with the use of beta readers ("copy editors" who read and crit a writer's work for them) this leads to many stories sounding like they were written by the same person. In fact, the style reminded me a lot of the one used in "Drill Team in Bondage at the Rennaisance Festival" (10/26/02 reviews) -- a sort of smoothly written, competent, non-style that could have come from the brain of any author-for-hire, though in this case the story contents differed wildly.

Nevertheless I rate the story highly because it was a textbook example of an orginal slash fantasy, with all the "baby's" and abandoned passion in the right places. There were many more stories about these same characters on the site as well as a few novellas, and more are promised; whether it's worth nearly ten bucks a month is up to you.

At the Baths [A-]
Where found: The SlashArchive
Author: GioGio
Type: M/m, historical slash, whore

Historical fiction is another favorite genre of slash writers. I guess because there was so much of it in real life -- the affairs of Alexander the Great, the love between Japanese samurai and their squires, horny English monks, etc.

This story was set in Roman times. Man-man buggery, a carryover from the Greeks, was still practiced, but as true-blooded Roman men avoided effeminacy at all costs, it was limited to anal penetration. The romantic aspects of sex like kissing and displays of affection were taboo. Lucius, the protag of the piece, longs for this, but can't have it because he's the descendant of a long and noble Roman family. So he buys a slave for that purpose and gives him a test run in a shadowed corner of the bath:

Cassius whimpered almost inaudibly but did not resist. Lucius removed his hand to grapple for the oil he knew must be sitting somewhere beside him on the bench and carefully coated his fingers in oil before slipping them back between Cassius' legs. The boy's legs quivered as he brushed his oil-slicked fingers across the entrance to Cassius' body. He felt the muscles twitching under his hand---Cassius was trying to relax the muscle for a minimum of discomfort. Lucius hazarded slipping a finger into the boy's hole and found the muscle pliant and stretched---the boy had been taken before, frequently.

The indications at the end are the slave will oblige his master's "feminine" desires and eventually come to enjoy them as much as his Master's previous slave did.

The writing in this piece was good but dense, and though historical exposition is necessary to give the information the reader needs to understand the story, it's better coming through the actions of the characters, rather than the author telling us. Also distracting were the many footnotes explaining the Roman customs and Latin words of the text. Okay, it was interesting, but really doesn't belong in a sex story, and neither do many of the words -- why say lararium for example? Wouldn't "family shrine" suffice for those of us untutored in Roman hisotry? It all made the piece seem like it was written by a teacher, something I don't want to think about when I'm reading porn, and slowed the pace of the story as I paused to ponder what the hell that footnote was about.

The author did a good job when the historical information was worked into the story, such as the average citizen's opinion of Marc Antony and the status of Roman women. In some places, though, she seemed to bend it for the convenience of her characters. If being penetrated is so taboo, I question why Lucius chooses to "go sub" with his slave in a public bath, even if it's a shadowed corner. And I question why the slave doth protest it too much, as he can't get in trouble for it - - he was only following his master's orders. He can't be expected to have the Roman attitude about it in any case, as the author states he's from North Africa.

An interesting story, but it could have gone the extra mile.

Remembrance Past [A+]
Where found: Innocence and Seduction
Author: Jessica Fisher and Joyce Sun
[email protected]
Type: m/m, original slash, fantasy

For my money this was the best original slash story I found. A pity it's on a fairly obscure site (the author's) and not in an archive somewhere where it would be appreciated.

Alex is a young nobleman studying at a magical academy like all young nobles in this fantasy world are expcted to. He's feeling blue after an affair with Yuri, a fellow student who has had to leave school to take over his family's fief. Seeking to assuage his feelings he goes to a male brothel for some anonymous rough sex and encounters Kalen, a hard-used whore who taunts him:

"What you've got right now is that exact same thing. Think you're in love with the sweet guy who managed to convince you to roll over for 'im, but ya don't have any way of knowin' that he's not off screwin' some servant out on his 'holding' or wherever. And you're here, coming to me. Maybe this time you stop yourself, but you'll keep coming back. And eventually, just like all the others, you'll end up satisfying your 'needs' in me."

Alex can't quite complete the act and flees in mingled contempt and despair. But neither of the two characters can forget the other, so Alex returns.

This was an excellent story, not only for the slashy elements -- strongly yet realistically handled, with some restraint for once -- but also for the authors' worldbuilding and fine touches with character. They can write too, giving us not a straitghtforward narrative but one studded with interesting detail and sideplots, such as Alex's shuttling his younger brother to a female brothel the same he's visiting his boy toy, and the compare and contrast beween their experiences. Also well done was an accident that happens to Alex as he is weaving a magical web in spell class and a letter he receives from his lover that hints that not only his passion has cooled but that he's moved on to Alex's younger sister ("Your sister came to visit the other day; little Gabby's grown up quite a bit.")

The character of the whore was equally well done, and for once a whore admits he likes certain aspects of his work ("Kalen could recall occasions where he'd been broken and reduced to a sobbing wreck by some of his customers ... He'd reacted with the same need for affection, a need so powerful that he'd ended up begging the same men who'd beaten him to hurry up and fuck him before he went insane.")

A very good beginning to a longer slash story, and the authors should write more.

Slave to Passion [A-/B+]
Where found: Fan-Girl Production Studios
Author: Chi no Iro
Type: M/M, original yaoi, D/s, SF, TG

I found this story on a yaoi site that was mostly fanfic, save for a few original "adult" stories in their own section.

A young hustler is approached one night by a scientist who offers to make him his slave. Not understanding, and entranced by the drugs the scientist has, the kid agrees, only to get the full slave treatment "A few physical changes to his body, hyper-sensitizing the nerves in certain areas of the body, the prostrate, ass, penis, nipples and so forth, a little self lubrication in the tissue linings inside him, and a complete rewiring of his brain functions." When he comes to, he's completely responsive to the scientists' wishes, which include playing dress-up in a weird vinyl lederhosen ensemble and a French maid's outfit and being sodomized with a dildo.

The story was pretty slight, like a lot of the ones I see on the newsgroups. What made it different was its slash-yaoi feel (the slave winds up happily in love with his master) and its naivete concerning drugs and street hustler life. Not a bad read, not as nasty as most, but I didn't get involved with it enough to feel anything when he was enslaved. The writing also needed work -- any writer that uses "smirk" or "smirked" more than three times in a single story gets a whack of the ruler. Even one "smirk" is too many. It's a weak verb, redolent of junior high snitches. No one over the age of 14 should smirk in a sex story, except if they're in the National Lampoon.

Virtual [A-]
Where found: Mannazone
Author: Manna and Donna
Author address:
[email protected]
Type: M/M, original slash, SF

The Mannazone features one of the more ambitious slash projects I have come across. It's a very long novel, an original creation inspired by Blake's 7 (a British science fiction TV show from the 1970s) seemlessly written by two writers and impeccably proofread and polished. As they suggested, I read the first six chapters, collected under the title "Virtual" to get a taste of the longer work.

Toreth is a para-investigator for the Administration, a sort of near-future despotic world government; it's a polite way of saying he interrogates -- and tortures -- prisoners who commit seditious acts against the state. One day he finds out about a new virtual reality machine that may be of use in future interrogations and becomes intrigued with Warrick, the machine's creator. Intrigued isn't quite the right word. Toreth, being a smug senior official type who likes to mind-fuck innocent strangers, engages him in verbal sparring that may or not have a double meaning. He later visits the lab and accepts Warrick's invitation to sample the machine himself, but is humiliated when Warrick paralyzes him and assaults with a virtual blowjob, causing him to forget the "safe word" required to disconnect his mind from the machine, and the oral act. Toreth swears revenge and, continuing to toy with the good doctor, invites him out for dinner (Warrick gleefully acknowledging he's playing with fire) and drugs his drink, and the real slashy stuff starts -- one of those semiconsensual rapes with the "two of them fucking like amphetamine-crazed mink" and sealing their attraction to each other. As usual, no one makes a big issue about it.

Though the work was well written, and the authors talented, I found these chapters a chore to read. Why? The characters were arrogant and extremely unpleasant. They brought back memories of those erudite, pompous, we're-so-veddy-British government secret project administrators from UK productions like The Avengers and The Prisoner (I'm thinking particulary of Patrick McNee and the original "Q" from the James Bond series) -- not very sexy. And neither were their vicious, overly talky mind games, though it typified slash of a certain kind (Britslash? Cold War slash?) The six chapters were also waaaaaaay longer than they should have been; in 20,000 words, we've only got around to a fuck, and then a revenge fuck. In an average novel, that's one-fourth of the book.

Not my cup of tea old chap, but I will say the science fiction writing was very good, especially in the scenes describing how the device works.

Click here to read Website Review: Palace of the Keys

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