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To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Circlet Press, Fantastic Erotica presents the very best erotic science fiction and fantasy short stories published by Circlet in the past five years. Chosen by popular vote by the readership from among all the stories published by Circlet from 2008 to the present, these favorites are the cream of the crop.
A winner and two runners-up were chosen. N.K. Jemisin’s “The Dancer’s War” shows us the sensuous magic not of a stock fantasy medieval Europe, but of an Africa that never was. Bernie Mojzes “Ink” combines H.P. Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler into a surprisingly soulful story of sexual transformation. And our winner, “Ota Discovers Fire,” by Vinnie Tesla pokes gentle fun at all the traipsing into exotic lands depicted in fantasy quests. Sometimes the traveler you meet on the road is nothing like what you expect.
Featuring stories by Frances Selkirk, Elizabeth Schechter, Kierstin Cherry, Angela Caperton, Sacchi Green, Kal Cobalt, Elizabeth Reeve, Kathleen Tudor, Monique Poirier, Sunny Moraine, Clarice Clique, Nobilis Reed, David Sklar, Michael M. Jones, David Hubbard, Shanna Germain, N.K. Jemisin, Bernie Mojzes, and Vinnie Tesla.
“The best of [these stories] fully integrate sex with SF/Fantasy and provide erotic heat… it’s imaginative and a cut above most such offerings.”
So this is good news in an otherwise difficult week: Circlet Press is going to release a print anthology of the best of their digital library in honor of their 20th anniversary (yay Circlet!), and my 1001 Nights retelling in space, “Catch and Release”, has made the shortlist. The final ToC of the anthology will be decided both by Circlet’s editors and by a reader poll. So if you read “Catch and Release” and you’d like to see it in print, you can go here and vote for it, as well as up to four other stories. And you should – there are some fantastic stories and equally fantastic authors on that list.
Circlet’s made a business of putting out not only top-notch erotica but also top-notch writing, period – I’ve been continually impressed by the quality of work that I’ve seen them put out, and it’s been an honor to be a part of the anthologies in which they’ve included me. They were actually my very first publication ever and I’ll always be grateful to them. Congrats, Circlet. Here’s to many more years of SFnal porny goodness.
I’m including a lengthy and NSFW excerpt of “Catch and Release” below the cut.
I’m foregoing the semi-usual Muse Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Whenever-The-Hell-I-Write-It post in favor of one in honor of a release I have today: Jane Litte’s (of Dear Author) BDSM-y anthology Agony/Ecstasy. You can pick up a copy here and I highly recommend it, because I’m in some extremely good company.
I’m also a bit of an oddball, though, and I’d like to mark the release by talking about why.
“Wetwire” started out just straight-up erotica, but part of the way through the inception process, something interesting happened: I started to think about Themes. Those themes eventually expanded to fill most of the mental space of the story, until I ended up feeling like the sex was mostly a way of talking about something else. Two primary something elses, actually. They are:
– William Gibson’s idea of how “the street finds its own uses for things”. “Burning Chrome” is one of my favorite short stories ever, and Gibson is one of my favorite authors ever, so of course, setting out to write cyberpunk porn, it makes sense that he would be lurking in the background (not like in a creepy way). But the idea is interesting to me beyond that. What I ended up writing about was that initial moment in the emergence of a new form of technology – or a new evolution of an existing one – when it’s not yet widespread or widely commercial, when the only people making much use of it are techies and hackers. At those moments, its actual use might be extremely up for grabs – people might use it for a whole set of things for which it was not originally designed, and for which it may not be used by the public in general once it goes mainstream.
Jane has the list of contributors for the Agony/Ecstasy anthology up over at Dear Author, plus short blurbs about each story. She has some very nice things to say about my story “Wetwire”. “‘I was free-drifting the night Kim neuroburned me.’ Different, unique, fresh is what I thought when I read this short.” Yay.
Check it out, along with tantalizing hints regarding what other goodies are in store. The whole thing is going to rock, basically.
Got an email tonight that I was hoping for and very happy to get: My odd little bit of cyberpunk erotica, “Wetwire”, has been accepted to the Agony & Ecstasy anthology coming out next fall from Berkley Books.
The thing that kills me is that it’s such a weird little story, I honestly never thought the editor would take it. I was mainlining William Gibson when I wrote it–more than normal, even, because it’s a Thing That I Do–and what started out as porn in my head turned into the exploration of two ideas that struck me as insanely interesting:
- The people who occupy the liminal space between when a new technology is introduced to the world and when it finds a mass commercial use. Because in that space, innovators play with it and take it apart and use it for all kinds of crazy shit that didn’t occur to anyone. That kind of environment is where Apple and Microsoft were both born, and where the first internet communities sprang up. It’s where the really neat stuff happens.
- The connections that technology can forge between the mind and the body. Cyberpunk is full of occurrences of the trope of technology freeing minds from bodies. I wanted to play with the idea of a kind of technology that would reconnect someone who feels like she’s losing touch with her own flesh.
I got so caught up in this stuff that I almost forgot the sex, and I was worried that the story lacked a center because of that. But apparently not. Apparently it’s good enough, anyway.
The anthology itself won’t actually be out in print for another year. But right now I’m more thrilled than impatient, so yay. As always, watch this space for news.
Like a Veil: Erotic Tales of the Arabian Nights, which features my story “Catch and Release”, is now officially out in a variety of formats from a variety of places. It’s an awesome little collection.
My story is a science fiction retelling of the 1001 Nights story “The Fisherman and the Jinni”. It’s a very rough retelling, adopting more the spirit of the story than sticking close to the original plot, and at first I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it. But I drew some parallels in my mind between djinn imprisoned in lamps and strange, powerful alien entities imprisoned in drifting capsules, and taking the story and giving it a scifi bent seemed like an interesting way of going after it. The story itself turned into something of a fable regarding wanting to belong while at the same time rebelling against the things that threaten to tie you down to the merely conventional. The setting of a rebuilt, futuristic Baghdad, constantly in the background, served as a nice focal point for these two warring strands of past and future, the impossibly ancient and the profoundly new.
I also love the idea of Suleiman drifting in the solar winds, picking up all the trash that our space-faring descendants would doubtlessly generate. It’s an image that’s stuck with me long after the story was done.
NSFW excerpt under the cut.
This was written as a quick exercise in tattooing kink and posted in another, more personal writing blog that I have, but I figured it could go here as well. At 723 words it’s quite short, but I think it’s a nice little taste of something and it was fun to write.
It’s m/f, femdom, and probably not safe for work, though there’s nothing particularly raunchy in it.