My head is spinning! Check out this great review the equally-great Terrance Aldon Shaw did for my science fiction erotica collection, Skin Effect!
The nine stories in this intriguing, highly-imaginative, occasionally maddening collection have a deeply personal feel to them. These are not easy, breezy reads: these stories require that readers take a journey—and the road is not always direct or level or smooth. A bit of effort is required, and sometimes, more than a single reading. But, in the end, the reader is richly rewarded with beauty and enlightenment.
This isn’t ‘hard’ sci-fi or conventional genre erotica, but, indeed, something quite extraordinary: less Frankenstein’s monster genre hybrid than the precocious love child of an optimistic speculative fiction (Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov) and a mature, deeply self-aware literary sensualism. If it must be classified, then I would suggest a brand new subgenre: call it ‘techno-sexual.’
And what do we find in this brave, sometimes bewildering new world? Trans-humanism that does not—cannot—forget its humanity. Awesome technical capability with the aura of magic, though, in the end, it cannot assuage our deepest longings, our atavistic thirst for mystery. Hyper-connectedness that cannot sate our hunger to touch, and feel, and remember...
The writing can be dense, knotty, sometimes overlong to a point where potential dramatic impact is diluted, the final ironic twists coming too little and just a bit too late to dazzle. Yet, the collection does have its share of truly amazing moments, inspired imagining, sparks of the ingenious. 'Prêt-à-Porter' tells a marvelous tale of a futuristic garment that—virtually miraculously—adjusts to the desires and moods of its wearer. 'The Bell House Invitation' brilliantly takes the ideas of collective consciousness and cyber-community to their logical—and, perhaps, a tad disturbing—extremes. 'The Potter’s Wheel' and '[Title Forgotten]' imagine worlds in which connectedness makes us omniscient yet utterly incapable of knowing our deepest selves.
There is much to ponder and enjoy here. Enthusiastically recommended!