Showing posts with label Filthy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Filthy. Show all posts

Friday, September 07, 2012

FANTASTIC NEWS!

(from M. Christian's Queer Imaginings)


I've said it before but it's worth repeating over and over and over again: I adore working with the great Renaissance E Books/Sizzler Editions.  

Not only have they brought back into print pretty much all of my queer books under the very special M. Christian ManLove Collection:






- and now, they'd released - as I've mentioned - a brand new edition of my Lambda-finalist collection Dirty Words


But that's not all!  Check out this absolutely fantastic video spot they just released for the whole collection!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

"Love" From Filthy Boys

Just 'cause, here's a story from my recently-released queer collection, Filthy Boys.  I have a certain fondness for this story as it was written as a kind of thanks to all the gay men I've known - and who've changed my life for the better.





LOVE

"You could have stayed with me," he'd said the first time I went to Seattle to see him, but stayed in a motel.  I hadn't even thought of it, and so the disappointment in his eyes.
I never went back.  After he got promoted there wasn't any point.
You could have stayed with me evolves into a fantasy in which those four days play out differently: an invitation made earlier, my discomfort of staying in someone else's house miraculously absent.  Fresh off the plane, strap digging into my shoulder (I always over-pack), out of the cab and up a quick twist of marble steps to his front door.  A knock, or a buzz, and it opens.
A quick dance of mutual embarrassment as I maneuver in with my luggage, both of us saying the stupid things we all say when we arrive somewhere we've never been before.  Him: "How was your flight?" Me: "What a great place."
Son of a decorator, I always furnish and accessorize my fantasies: I imagine his to be a simple one-bedroom.  Messy, but a good mess.  A mind's room, full of toppling books, squares of bright white paper.  Over the fireplace (cold, never lit) a print, something classical like a Greek torso, the fine line topography of Michelangelo's David.  A few pieces of plaster, three-dimensional anatomical bric-a-brac on the mantel.  A cheap wooden table in the window, bistro candle, and Don't Fuck With The Queen in ornate script on a chipped coffee cup.
Dinner?  No, my flight arrived late.  Coffee?  More comfortable and gets to the point quicker.  We chat.  I ask him about his life: is everything okay?  He replies that he's busy, but otherwise fine.  We chat some more.  I say that it's a pleasure to work with him.  He replies with the same.
I compliment him, amplifying what I've already said, and he blushes.  He returns it, and then some, making me smile.  My eyes start to burn, my vision blurs, tears threatening.  I sniffle and stand up.
He does as well, and we hug.  Hold there.  Hold there.  Hold there.  Then, break – but still close together.  Lips close together.  The kiss happens.  Light, just a grazing of lips.  I can tell he wants more, but I'm uncomfortable and break it but not so uncomfortable that I can't kiss his cheeks.  Right, then left, then right again.
But his head turns and we're kissing, lips to lips again.  Does he open his first or do I?  Sometimes I imagine his, sometimes mine.  But they are open and we are kissing, lips and tongue, together.  Hot, wet, hard.
But not on my part.  Wet, definitely – in my mind it's a good kiss.  A generous and loving kiss.  Hot, absolutely, but only in a matter of degrees as his temperature rises and mine does in basic body response.
Not hard on my part, but I am aware of his.  Between us, like a finger shoved through a hole in his pocket, something solid and muscular below his waist.
Does he say something?  "I want you," "Please touch me," "I'm sorry," are candidates.  I've tried them all out, one time or another, to add different flavors, essences, spices to that evening.  "I want you," for basic primal sex.  "Please touch me," for polite request, respect and sympathy.  "I'm sorry," for wanting something he knows I don't.
"It's okay," I say to all of them, and it is.  Not just words.  Understanding, sympathy, generosity.  All of them, glowing in my mind.  It really is okay.
I'm a pornographer, dammit.  I should be able to go on with the next part of this story without feeling like ... I'm laughing right now, not that you can tell.  An ironic chuckle: a pornographer unable to write about sex.  Not that I can't write about myself, that making who I am – really – the center of the action is uncomfortable, because I've certainly done that before.  I've exposed myself on the page so many other times, what makes this one so different?
Just do it.  Put the words down and debate them later.  After all, that's what we're here for, aren't we?  You want to hear what I dream he and I do together.  You want to look over my mental shoulder at two men in that tiny apartment in Seattle.
I'm a writer; it's what I do, and more importantly, what I am.  So we sit on the couch, he in the corner me in the middle.  His hand is on my leg.  My back is tight, my thighs are corded.  Doubt shades his face so I put my own hand on his own, equally tight, thigh.  I repeat what I said before, meaning it: "It's okay."
We kiss again.  A friend's kiss, a two people who like each other kiss.  His hands touch my chest, feeling me through the thin cloth of turtleneck.  I pull the fabric out of my pants with a few quick tugs, allowing bare hands to touch bare chest.  He likes it, grinning up at me.  I send my own grin, trying to relax.
His hand strokes me though my jeans, and eventually I do get hard.  His smile becomes deeper, more sincere, lit by his excitement.  It's one thing to say it, quite another for your body to say it.  Flesh doesn't lie, and I might have when I gave permission.  My cock getting hard, though, is obvious tissue and blood sincerity.
"That's nice," "Can I take it out?" "I hope you're all right with this." Basic primal sex, a polite request including respect and sympathy, and the words for wanting something he knows I don't – any one of them, more added depth to this dream.
My cock is out and because he's excited or simply doesn't want the moment and my body to possibly get away, he is sucking me.  Was that so hard to say?  It's just sex.  Just the mechanics of arousal, the engineering of erotica.  Cock A in mouth B.  I've written it hundreds of times.  But there's that difference again, like by writing it, putting it down on paper (or a computer screen) has turned diamond into glass, mahogany into plywood.
Cheapened.  That's the word.  But to repeat: I am a writer.  It's what I do.  All the time.  Even about love – especially about this kind of love.
He sucks my cock.  Not like that, not that, not the way you're thinking: not porno sucking, not erotica sucking.  This is connection, he to I.  The speech of sex, blowjob as vocabulary.
I stay hard.  What does this mean?  It puzzles me, even in the fantasy.  I have no doubts about my sexuality.  I am straight.  I write everything else, but I am a straight boy.  I like girls.  Men do not turn me on.
Yet, in my mind and in that little apartment, I am hard.  Not "like a rock," not "as steel," not as a "telephone pole," but hard enough as his mouth, lips, and tongue – an echoing hard, wet and hard – work on me.
The answer is clear and sharp, because if I couldn't get hard and stay hard then he'd be hurt and the scene would shadow, chill, and things would be weighted between us.  That's not the point of this dream, why I think about it.
So, onto sex.  Nothing great or grand, nothing from every section of the menu.  A simple action between two men who care about each other: he sucks my cock.  He enjoys it and I love him enough to let him.  That's all we do, because it's enough.
He sucks me for long minutes, making sweet sounds and I feel like crying.  He puts his hand down his own pants, puts a hand around his own cock.  For a moment I think about asking him if he wants help, for me to put my hand around him, help him jerk off.  But I don't.  Not because I don't want to, or because I'm disgusted, but because he seems to be enjoying himself so much, so delighted in the act of sucking me, that I don't want to break the spell, turn that couch back into a pumpkin.
He comes, a deep groan around my cock, humming me into near-giggles.  He stops sucking as he gasps and sighs with release, looking up at me with wet-painted lips, eyes out of focus.  I bend down and kiss him, not tasting anything but warm water.
I love him.  I wanted to thank him.  I hope, within this dream, I have.  The night that didn't happen but could have.
For me, writing is just about everything: the joy of right word following right word all the way to the end.  The ecstasy of elegant plot, the pleasure of flowing dialogue, the loveliness of perfect description.  Sex is good, sex is wonderful, but story is fireworks in my brain.  The reason I live.  The greatest pleasure in my life.
And he has given me that, with nearly flowing letters on an agreement between his company and I, between his faith in my ability and myself.  He looked at me, exposed on the page of a book, in the chapter of a novel, in the lines of a short story, and didn't laugh, didn't dismiss or reject.  He read, nodded, smiled, and agreed to publish.
Sex cannot measure up to that.  Bodies are bodies, but he has given me a pleasure beyond anything I'd felt: applause, and a chance to do much, much more with words, with stories.
He doesn't have a name, this man in my fantasy.  There have been a lot of them over the years, and a lot more in the future, no doubt.  Gay men who have touched me in ways no one has ever touched me before, by making love with my soul through their support of my writing.  Each time they have, this fantasy has emerged from the back of my mind, a need to give them the gift they have given me: passion and kindness, support and caring, and pure affection.
I worry about this.  I worry that they won't understand, take this secret dream of mine as being patronizing, diminishing them to nothing but a being with a cock who craved more cock.  I've confessed a few times, telling a select few how I feel about them, how I wish I could do for them what they have done for me, to be able to put aside my heterosexuality for just an evening, an afternoon, and share total affection together.
Luckily, or maybe there really isn't anything to worry about, the ones I've told, they smile, hold my hand, kiss my cheek, say the right thing and to this day, even right now, make me cry: "I wish we could too, but I understand.  I love you too."
Am I bi?  I know I'm physically not – I simply don't get aroused by men – but that doesn't mean I don't adore men, or for the ones I care about, the men who have touched my soul through their support and affection for my stories and writing, I wish I couldn't change.  More than anything I wish I could give them what they have given me.
With a cock or a pen, with a story or hours of wonderful sex, it all comes down to one thing: love.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Filthy (Boys) Reviews

As the new edition of my queer collection, Filthy has just been released by the wonderful Renaissance/Sizzler (now called Filthy Boys) here's a quick blast of some reviews the book has gotten.  Enjoy!


Erotica That Reads Like Literature
I have enjoyed M. Christian’s work for a long time. His solo collection Dirty Words and his two multiple-author anthologies co-edited with Simon Sheppard, Rough Stuff and Roughed Up, are among my favorite volumes of erotica.
Which brings me to Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica, a new collection of gay erotic stories by M. Christian. To say this is a great book is an understatement. It runs the gamut of emotions, from anger to sadness to ecstasy to envy.
Here are capsule reviews of some of my favorite stories from Filthy…
“The Greener Grasses” in one short story captures the entire paradox of trying to reconcile a leatherfetish lifestyle into the humdrum world of 9-to-5 jobs and dishes to be washed more than volumes of scholarly non-fiction ever has.
“Flyboy” is a wistful tale of a man who has two lovers, one flesh and blood and one as big as all outdoors. Guess which one gets him in the end. You might be surprised.
“Love” reads as a tender valentine to all the gay men, imaginary or otherwise, who have inspired the author over the years to create his amazing tales of erotica.
“Suddenly, Last Thursday” is a haunting, harrowing riff on Tennessee Williams’s play Suddenly, Last Summer.
And “Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel” is an amazing tale that gets my vote for one of the top ten best short stories ever.
Filthy transcends its genre of erotica and enters the realm of literature.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

#

What makes a good short story? Felice Picano, in his forward to Filthyhttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=reflectisedge-20&l=ur2&o=1 offers some of the more traditional takes: a deft handling of voice, of place, of character. But really, what makes a good short story - what makes a great short story - is a truly good idea.
Luckily for Christian – and luckily for us – truly good ideas are not in short supply in this collection.
A perfect example comes in "Sunset Boulevard," one of many tales that puts a queer twist on an old story. Christian, riffing brilliantly on the campness of the original movie, recasts the central fading screen siren as an aging gay porn star. And it might seem risible to allow the gloriously queeny Norman Desmond to intone, "I am big. It's porno that got small," but Christian pulls it off.
Christian isn't shy of a little shameless genre straddling with his startlingly imaginative ideas either. In "The Hope of Cinnamon" we enter a future world in which gay men have mastered the art of time travel in order to save their queer brothers from oppressive regimens of the past. But this tale is also a good example of how the short story format can be frustrating for the reader when presented with such a dazzling concept as this one. The idea is simply too big for the form. The problem presented – that the rescued men cannot cope with a life in nirvana – isn’t so much explored as thrown at us before we are hustled away for the next story.
This is where the book wears thin. The stories in this book are short, averaging ten pages of in-out wham-bam. After a while it starts to feel like Christian is torturing his readers, deserting his unsatisfied readers for fresh thrills before they have quite achieved emotional climax. Too much is left undone and unsaid. This collection could have featured just the five best ideas – including the wonderfully disturbing quasi-religious "Friday Night at The Calvary Hotel" – and served up five wonderful novellas.
In the final story – the most enjoyable of the whole collection – Christian once again attempts a daring feat and pulls it off neatly as he spins us a tale of a young gay reader so besotted with an author of outrageous gay erotica he takes a pilgrimage to his grave. Angered by his discovery en route that his hero was in fact in a relationship with a woman, he means to urinate over the author's last resting place, but ends up recalling too many of the author's purplest passages and doing something entirely different. It is no surprise when Christian reveals the name on the headstone of this soiled grave.
While Filthy is a wonderful book, and just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty), it's not the place to turn if you are more in the mood for a story that can go all night.
– Mathilde Madden, Reflection's Edge

#

I read a guide to reviewing books recently. It said a reviewer should be impartial. I can see that point of view; the work should be judged on its own merit. However, it's impossible for me to pick up a book by M. Christian and not have expectations that are based on previous works I've read. So I guess it's only fair to begin this review with full disclosure: I'm a fan.
I'm torn over the idea of erotica as a distinct genre, and M. Christian's work is fuel for this internal debate. In The Hope of Cinnamon, a future society rescues gay victims from Nazi death camps and brings them forward in time to a sanctuary. Gen, one of the Helpers who works to integrate the Rescued into their new home finds out that few of the Rescued successfully survive the transition. He decides to travel back in time to experience the death camps for himself so that he will have a better understanding of why the Rescued fail to thrive in a society that fully accepts them. While this story does touch on sex and sexuality, it is a great example of speculative fiction that prompts further examination of our time and how current and future gay generations need to be aware of the history of gay culture and see it in proper historical perspective instead of viewing it, and judging, through hindsight.
As much as I hate the term coming-of-age tale, Utter West is a near-future story that shows a character coming of age, and more. Pony is the narrator's hero, the one who escaped their suburban hell and went beyond it to something wonderful and mystical - or so the narrator wants to believe. Unaware that he's destroying the beautiful myth that's grown around his disappearance, Pony comes back as an ordinary adult, prompting the narrator to break free and take the journey Pony failed to make into the beyond of the Utter West.
If noir is more your style, enjoy M. Christian's homage to Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard, or sink into the corner pocket of the night world of pool hustlers in The Hard Way. That Sweet Smell is really the scent of corruption, but keep telling yourself it's success, because in this story, that delusion is all the narrator has to cling to.
Moby is purely tall tale, told with the flair of real yarn-spinner. Could anyone stink that much, be that cussedly mean, or be that hung? It's all in the telling - joyously and outrageously over the top.
Or maybe you're in the mood for bittersweet romance and love. Flyboy is the soaring romance we all long for, crashed down to earth by the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. And Love is a writer's story, about how much it means to us when our stories are wanted, and how hard it is to separate the pure love of acceptance from the physical.
And then there's horror. Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel is the hardest story to read in this collection for it's intense mix of sadism, masochism, religious imagery and sex. Stories like that cling to you long after you've put the book down. You decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I like that. Suddenly, Last Thursday is horror of a different stripe - lush and gothic, where you might have to read a line several times before your brain accepts what it's telling you. That slow dawning of realization is delicious and shivery.
In the movie Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis says, "Sometimes it's interesting to see just how bad bad writing can be." Yes, but it's gratifying to see just how good good writing can be too. It's unfortunate that erotic writing has a reputation for bad writing, but sit down with this collection and let M. Christian change that prejudice.
– Kathleen Bradean


#

“Filthy” is subtitled “Outrageous Gay Erotica”, it could also be called “the book that stole my Saturday”. It arrived in the mail and I intended to slot it into my reading queue after several other books that have been waiting patiently for my attention. I flicked over the somewhat dry preface to the first story and it was all over.
In 'The Greener Grasses' M. Christian shows us immediately that this is not a collection to be trifled with, picked up and put down. I was thrust immediately us into the point of view of a real flawed, sexual, vulnerable protagonist. The sexuality is always frank but blended with charming love stories like 'Heart in Your Hand' or '2+1' or folksy fables like 'Moby'. The writer’s skills are perhaps best shown in the apt blending of sexuality with darker threads such as in 'Bitch' where one man’s bitterness and hate escapes his control or 'Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel' with its queasy look at the blend of sadism and sexuality in religious symbolism. I found the homage stories 'Hollywood Blvd' and 'Suddenly, Last Thursday' just a little heavy handed but still engaging reading.
The stand-outs for me were simple stories, but perfect in their parts. 'Oroborous' uses a botched tattoo to contrast the pain and trouble of “fixing” what is “wrong” about us (not what we would choose) with the joys of embracing it what we are. After reading it I had one of those moments staring at the wall and letting it sink in. And there were actually tears in my eyes at the end of the tragic love story of 'Flyboy'. The speculative stories are also strong: 'Utter West' gives a new meaning to the youthful desire to get out of a dead-end town and 'The Hope of Cinnamon' shows a far future gay community that rescues persecuted gay men from the past and is shown, through their eyes, what may be missing from their apparent utopia.
All of the stories have a strong concept as well as explicit sexual content. I would quibble at calling it “erotica”. Erotic, yes, but not quite in the step-by-step manner intended for one handed reading. It’s one of those oft-quoted phrases that our biggest sex organ in our brain; I’m willing to bet that author M. Christian would agree. Almost every story in this collection is perfectly constructed for the intellect: set up, satisfaction and pay off within a few short pages. Some stories are unapologetically erotic and others nostalgically sensual, only obliquely erotic at all or proudly a little perverse—but the erotic is there to serve the story in the manner and amount the narrative requires.
If you are looking for sexually-charged fiction that also has heart and intelligence “Filthy” is the collection for you—just don’t pick it up until you have the free time to read it from cover to cover.
– Emily Veinglory

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Out Now: Filthy Boys - Sizzling Gay Male Erotica

Remember how I mentioned that my queer collection, Filthy (now called Filthy Boys: Sizzling Gay Male Erotica), would be coming out in a brand new edition from the always-fantastic Renaissance/Sizzler?  Well, guess what - it just came out!  It will be on amazon very soon (and a print-on-demand version coming in a few months) but check out the new edition here.

"M. Christian's stories are the fairy tales whispered to one another by dark angels whose hearts and mouths are brimming with lust. He goes beyond the pale, ordinary definitions of sexuality and writes about need and desire in their purest forms. Readers daring enough to stray from the safety of the path will find in his images and words a garden of delights to tempt even the most demanding pleasure-seeker." –Michael Thomas Ford, Lambda Award winner
  • "To say this is a great book is an understatement. Filthy transcends its genre of erotica and enters the realm of literature." -Donovan Brown, author My Brotha My Brotha
  • "While Filthy is a wonderful book, and just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty)." –Mathilde Madden, author Reflection's Edge
  • "The hottest explosion since the Big Bang." -Ian Philips, author See Dick Deconstruct
  • "If you are looking for sexually-charged fiction that also has heart and intelligence “Filthy” is the collection for you." –Emily Veinglory, author Lovers and Ghosts

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cover Of The New Edition Of Filthy [Boys]

Now THIS is cool: check out the new cover of the re-release of my queer erotica collection Filthy [Now titled Filthy Boys], coming VERY soon from Sizzler Books.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Another Reminder -

- that I have (ahem) a few books out right now. Please support this humble pornographer by buying a few ... please?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Touching Praise for FILTHY

From Amazon (review by Donovan Brown):


Erotica That Reads Like Literature
I have enjoyed M. Christian’s work for a long time. His solo collection Dirty Words and his two multiple-author anthologies co-edited with Simon Sheppard, Rough Stuff and Roughed Up, are among my favorite volumes of erotica.

Which brings me to Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica, a new collection of gay erotic stories by M. Christian. To say this is a great book is an understatement. It runs the gamut of emotions, from anger to sadness to ecstasy to envy.

Here are capsule reviews of some of my favorite stories from Filthy…

“The Greener Grasses” in one short story captures the entire paradox of trying to reconcile a leatherfetish lifestyle into the humdrum world of 9-to-5 jobs and dishes to be washed more than volumes of scholarly non-fiction ever has.

“Flyboy” is a wistful tale of a man who has two lovers, one flesh and blood and one as big as all outdoors. Guess which one gets him in the end. You might be surprised.

“Love” reads as a tender valentine to all the gay men, imaginary or otherwise, who have inspired the author over the years to create his amazing tales of erotica.

“Suddenly, Last Thursday” is a haunting, harrowing riff on Tennessee Williams’s play Suddenly, Last Summer.

And “Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel” is an amazing tale that gets my vote for one of the top ten best short stories ever.

Filthy transcends its genre of erotica and enters the realm of literature.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Reflection's Edge Likes Filthy

Mathilde Madden over at Reflection's Edge has a very nice review of Filthy:
What makes a good short story? Felice Picano, in his forward to Filthy offers some of the more traditional takes: a deft handling of voice, of place, of character. But really, what makes a good short story - what makes a great short story - is a truly good idea.

Luckily for Christian – and luckily for us – truly good ideas are not in short supply in this collection.

A perfect example comes in "Sunset Boulevard," one of many tales that puts a queer twist on an old story. Christian, riffing brilliantly on the campness of the original movie, recasts the central fading screen siren as an aging gay porn star. And it might seem risible to allow the gloriously queeny Norman Desmond to intone, "I am big. It's porno that got small," but Christian pulls it off.

Christian isn't shy of a little shameless genre straddling with his startlingly imaginative ideas either. In "The Hope of Cinnamon" we enter a future world in which gay men have mastered the art of time travel in order to save their queer brothers from oppressive regimens of the past. But this tale is also a good example of how the short story format can be frustrating for the reader when presented with such a dazzling concept as this one. The idea is simply too big for the form. The problem presented – that the rescued men cannot cope with a life in nirvana – isn’t so much explored as thrown at us before we are hustled away for the next story.

This is where the book wears thin. The stories in this book are short, averaging ten pages of in-out wham-bam. After a while it starts to feel like Christian is torturing his readers, deserting his unsatisfied readers for fresh thrills before they have quite achieved emotional climax. Too much is left undone and unsaid. This collection could have featured just the five best ideas – including the wonderfully disturbing quasi-religious "Friday Night at The Calvary Hotel" – and served up five wonderful novellas.

In the final story – the most enjoyable of the whole collection – Christian once again attempts a daring feat and pulls it off neatly as he spins us a tale of a young gay reader so besotted with an author of outrageous gay erotica he takes a pilgrimage to his grave. Angered by his discovery en route that his hero was in fact in a relationship with a woman, he means to urinate over the author's last resting place, but ends up recalling too many of the author's purplest passages and doing something entirely different. It is no surprise when Christian reveals the name on the headstone of this soiled grave.

While Filthy is a wonderful book, and just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty), it's not the place to turn if you are more in the mood for a story that can go all night.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kathleen Bradean loves Filthy

Here's a delightfully glowing review of Filthy from the ever-great Kathleen Bradean:
I read a guide to reviewing books recently. It said a reviewer should be impartial. I can see that point of view; the work should be judged on its own merit. However, it's impossible for me to pick up a book by M. Christian and not have expectations that are based on previous works I've read. So I guess it's only fair to begin this review with full disclosure: I'm a fan.

I'm torn over the idea of erotica as a distinct genre, and M. Christian's work is fuel for this internal debate. In The Hope of Cinnamon, a future society rescues gay victims from Nazi death camps and brings them forward in time to a sanctuary. Gen, one of the Helpers who works to integrate the Rescued into their new home finds out that few of the Rescued successfully survive the transition. He decides to travel back in time to experience the death camps for himself so that he will have a better understanding of why the Rescued fail to thrive in a society that fully accepts them. While this story does touch on sex and sexuality, it is a great example of speculative fiction that prompts further examination of our time and how current and future gay generations need to be aware of the history of gay culture and see it in proper historical perspective instead of viewing it, and judging, through hindsight.

As much as I hate the term coming-of-age tale, Utter West is a near-future story that shows a character coming of age, and more. Pony is the narrator's hero, the one who escaped their suburban hell and went beyond it to something wonderful and mystical - or so the narrator wants to believe. Unaware that he's destroying the beautiful myth that's grown around his disappearance, Pony comes back as an ordinary adult, prompting the narrator to break free and take the journey Pony failed to make into the beyond of the Utter West.

If noir is more your style, enjoy M. Christian's homage to Sunset Boulevard,
Hollywood Boulevard, or sink into the corner pocket of the night world of pool hustlers in The Hard Way. That Sweet Smell is really the scent of corruption, but keep telling yourself it's success, because in this story, that delusion is all the narrator has to cling to.

Moby is purely tall tale, told with the flair of real yarn-spinner. Could anyone stink that much, be that cussedly mean, or be that hung? It's all in the telling - joyously and outrageously over the top.

Or maybe you're in the mood for bittersweet romance and love. Flyboy is the soaring romance we all long for, crashed down to earth by the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. And Love is a writer's story, about how much it means to us when our stories are wanted, and how hard it is to separate the pure love of acceptance from the physical.

And then there's horror. Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel is the hardest story to read in this collection for it's intense mix of sadism, masochism, religious imagery and sex. Stories like that cling to you long after you've put the book down. You decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I like that. Suddenly, Last Thursday is horror of a different stripe - lush and gothic, where you might have to read a line several times before your brain accepts what it's telling you. That slow dawning of realization is delicious and shivery.

In the movie Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis says, "Sometimes it's interesting to see just how bad bad writing can be." Yes, but it's gratifying to see just how good good writing can be too. It's unfortunate that erotic writing has a reputation for bad writing, but sit down with this collection and let M. Christian change that prejudice.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Thanks, Emily!

Emily Veinglory just sent me this wonderful review of Filthy.
So, you know I have been intending for some time to update my gay and vampire review website. Here is the first full length review I will be listing. It is also what happened to my day--zip--gone. Oh well.

“Filthy” is subtitled “Outrageous Gay Erotica”, it could also be called “the book that stole my Saturday”. It arrived in the mail and I intended to slot it into my reading queue after several other books that have been waiting patiently for my attention. I flicked over the somewhat dry preface to the first story and it was all over.

In 'The Greener Grasses' M. Christian shows us immediately that this is not a collection to be trifled with, picked up and put down. I was thrust immediately us into the point of view of a real flawed, sexual, vulnerable protagonist. The sexuality is always frank but blended with charming love stories like 'Heart in Your Hand' or '2+1' or folksy fables like 'Moby'. The writer’s skills are perhaps best shown in the apt blending of sexuality with darker threads such as in 'Bitch' where one man’s bitterness and hate escapes his control or 'Friday Night at the Calvary Hotel' with its queasy look at the blend of sadism and sexuality in religious symbolism. I found the homage stories 'Hollywood Blvd' and 'Suddenly, Last Thursday' just a little heavy handed but still engaging reading.

The stand-outs for me were simple stories, but perfect in their parts. 'Oroborous' uses a botched tattoo to contrast the pain and trouble of “fixing” what is “wrong” about us (not what we would choose) with the joys of embracing it what we are. After reading it I had one of those moments staring at the wall and letting it sink in. And there were actually tears in my eyes at the end of the tragic love story of 'Flyboy'. The speculative stories are also strong: 'Utter West' gives a new meaning to the youthful desire to get out of a dead-end town and 'The Hope of Cinnamon' shows a far future gay community that rescues persecuted gay men from the past and is shown, through their eyes, what may be missing from their apparent utopia.

All of the stories have a strong concept as well as explicit sexual content. I would quibble at calling it “erotica”. Erotic, yes, but not quite in the step-by-step manner intended for one handed reading. It’s one of those oft-quoted phrases that our biggest sex organ in our brain; I’m willing to bet that author M. Christian would agree. Almost every story in this collection is perfectly constructed for the intellect: set up, satisfaction and pay off within a few short pages. Some stories are unapologetically erotic and others nostalgically sensual, only obliquely erotic at all or proudly a little perverse—but the erotic is there to serve the story in the manner and amount the narrative requires.

If you are looking for sexually-charged fiction that also has heart and intelligence “Filthy” is the collection for you—just don’t pick it up until you have the free time to read it from cover to cover.

Saturday, February 10, 2007