This is very, very special: my pal, and a brilliant writer billierosie (who wrote the great Fetish Worship) just penned this review of my new anthology The Love that Never Dies:
Finally. It’s here, and it is out NOW! “The Love that Never Dies”. The latest anthology of erotica, from the skilful editing of M.Christian. In this unique anthology, M.Christian takes us into the strange world of the undead. He knows what we like, does M.Christian. He knows what turns us on. He knows our dark secrets, dark desires. We yearn for those creatures that we can’t see and we can’t hear, but we have to acknowledge their presence. They taunt us, hurt us, make us bleed out our fear, and they are there, inside us and outside us.
In “One Drop”, Laura Antoniou’s story, opens the anthology. Joyce and Rina have been lovers for years. They have been playing the same S&M games for what seems like centuries, to Joyce, and Joyce is bored. She feels guilt, that she is bored, but her psyche, is screaming for the sort of Domination that Rina seems incapable of giving. Then “My Lady”, makes an appearance. All it took was one drop of Joyce’s blood and a ravenous, cruel Dominant, fills Joyce with a terrifying, screaming fear.
It is an excellent choice of story to open an anthology. Laura Antoniou, knows all about pace and rhythm; how to draw the reader in, that creeping up behind you tingle, that makes you stop reading for a second and glance over your shoulder. Did the curtain move just now, or was it just the breeze? Surely I closed the bedroom door? Was that a creaked I heard on the staircase -- third step from the top? The pulse rate increases and like all the best creepy tales, ends up with a startling twist.
In “The Ghost in the Machine” Karen Taylor, gives a darker side of the Jewish psyche and traditions. The narrator of this beautifully crafted tale is a dybbuk, one of a group of souls hovering between the living and the dead. Being made into a dybbuk is a punishment for living an unworthy life. In life, dybbuks have been evil and malicious; in death, they are punished by a curse to hover as an essence, in an in between existence. Never moving on; it appears that there is no redemption for a dybbuk. A dybbuk can be called from his wretched, wispy existence, when a living being utters a curse upon a another person. It is the dybbuks’ duty to wreak havoc on the life of the recipient of the curse, and effectively fulfilling the curse. The dybbuk clings to the recipient until he is exorcised by a Rabbi.
It is an intelligent tale, told with wit and intellect, but in such a matter of fact way, that the reader has that shifting uncomfortably; do dybbuks exist? Can someone really put a curse on you -- a curse so powerful, that it can wreak homes, marriages, lives? Yes they can, the piercing comment in the final sentence tells you.
Jay Lawrence’s contribution to the anthology is “Deliverance.” Here, we have one of those writers whose voice speaks the tale to the reader. We are sitting before a blazing fire, we are sleepy, as Jay’s voice tells us the story. “Deliverance” has the rhythm of a fairy tale; a quest story. And of course there is an erotic encounter. The sex scene is powerful enough to blow off the top of your head. Who would have thought that erotica could be compelling enough to be condensed to a few short paragraphs? And then there is the morning after. That awful feeling that you have done something so terrible, that your mind is frantically trying to erase it. Was it Rape? Buggery? Necrophilia? All three? A profound sin has been committed and you daren’t look back.
Sexy, sexy, sexy -- PM White composes prose like a musician composes music. PM White is an Offenbach, rather than a Grieg, leading the reader in so seductively to a safe place. But this place isn’t safe at all, like Orpheus’ trip to the underworld, PM White, slams you with erotica so powerful, that you are chasing your breath. Such is “Memory Man.”
The moment when Tanya sees the Memory Man, is shocking, pure electricity. How do we know whom, or what is watching us, in our most private moments? Tanya questions her own sanity, when she not only sees the Memory Man, but hears his voice. It is a carefully crafted paragraph, worthy of Edgar Allan Poe, blending the forbidden, with the terrifying.
The writer draws on our childhood fears; we know that there is something there, in our bedroom, watching us. The adults tells us to sleep, there is nothing there. As children, we know different.
Tanya is a voyeur; so is the reader. We watch Tanya, as she watches the young, Hispanic couple, fucking each other, by moonlight in the swimming pool. The reader watches Tanya, as in a beautifully worked piece of writing, Tanya divests herself, like a burlesque dancer. We watch her masturbate into a lonely orgasm, with her thick vibrator. Thrust for thrust, Tanya synchronises her wet fucking, with the lovers in the swimming pool.
Enter, the Memory Man; he is a voyeur too. Cruising, hotels and apartments, looking for folks getting off; either alone, or with multiple partners. The Memory Man’s inspiration is the orgasm. Passion is on his agenda.
There’s the idea that stuff can happen in a place, usually a creepy house, or a smugglers inn, which is so powerful that somehow that the event replays over time, like an old VHS tape. That isn’t what PM White is talking about at all. His concept is that actual memories of an event, can have a manifestation, that is a thinking, feeling being. The being can’t be seen, or heard, so it is like a ghost, or how we all think of ghosts. But he is there, watching and growing stronger with each memory that he stores.
And what a treat -- a tale from the keyboard of M.Christian himself. It has been far too long! I have been starved, I am hungry for his tales. You see, I never know where M.Christian is going. He is an elusive writer and always when I think I have got him sussed, he surprises me!
In “HORROR VACUI” M.Christian, gives us a protagonist whose whole existence is controlled by fear. A fear of his apartment, a fear of leaving his apartment, a fear of the open space outside, a fear of being unable to fill the empty space, what will happen to the empty space when he leaves it? It is that same crawling, slamming fear that makes me reach for the light switch, as I wake from a bad nightmare. Sweating, hot and cold clammy fear, clinging to my face. The protagonist in this frightening tale, is nihilistic. And that is what he is most fearful of, as his mind unravels.
It is a tale of love and betrayal and death. A homeless man talks about it, and we don’t yet know what that “it” is. Or the roles that the players, have played. We learn the names of the lovers; Danny and Theresa. How perfect their love was, how they adored each other and then we learn the part that our protagonist played in their destruction.
He goes to a diner. It is just a short walk from his apartment, but it reads like an odyssey. You can feel him losing his grip on reality. The pace speeds up, like a cat frenetic, on amphetamine. His senses are confused. Is he really hearing things? Are the things he glimpses, real, or visions? Tastes, smells -- they shouldn’t be there, but they are.
It is a tale of teetering on the edge of the precipice of madness. A Roderick Usher madness. The fear of madness. The fear of everything, and the fear of being nothing. A vision that Goya might have painted. The reader may never have been to those places, where everything is disconnected, but like the writer he is, M.Christian lifts the corner of the veil. We see, and we understand.
“The Love that never dies is published by wonderful Sizzler, and will be available through Amazon very soon. There will also a printed version of the anthology later this year!
[Via Frequently Felt]