Monday, November 25, 2013

Turning the Tables edited by Kathleen Tudor

Please Note: The following review is suitable for adults only.

I'm always excited when a new Storm Moon Press title comes my way. There aren't too many publishers out there who can manage such an elaborate mesh of quality writing and sheer sexuality. Their titles are never afraid to walk that fine edge between taboo and trash where our imagination can run free, without fear, guilt, or shame.

Kathleen Tudor has pulled together four very different authors, with four very different stories in the Turning the Tables anthology. I would have altered the order of stories slightly - Double Dealing is a difficult story to kick things off - but I can't find fault with any of them.

Like I said, Double Dealing is a difficult tale. It's a very dark, very cerebral sort of science fiction tale, one that bends you over roughly and pegs your mind as much as your behind.  It's a bit hard to follow, and the mix of emotions carries with it a heavy sort of emotional detachment, but it makes the eroticism even more powerful.

Permanency is an altogether different kind of tale, full of light, hope, and romance. It's the story of a healthy, polyamorous relationship where the kids are delighted to have a mother, a father, and a special uncle. As strange as it is to explore a little anal pegging in such a wholesome context, the story works because of the romance. It's a feel good tale that touches heart, head, and loins all at the same time, and has one of the loveliest conclusions a gurl could ask for.

While Phallusy marks another significant change of pace, this time involving sexual magic, it's an altogether fantastic one. My personal favourite, it takes the old fantasy trope of a medieval society where women are little more than conquests and completely twists it. It introduces us to a female-led Amazon-like society where men are pegged as much for pleasure as to keep them under control. It's a humorous story, but also an extremely sexy one. It walks that taboo line, flirting with issues of rape, consent, and a sort of magical mind control, but overall it's very empowering . . . and arousing.

The collection ends with Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant, a sexy take on the old tale of pirate booty - except, in this case, the pirate is a strong, powerful, dominant Arab woman, and the booty in question belongs to a desperate, submissive British Captain who finds himself at her mercy. It touches again upon the themes of romance and empowerment, and echoes many of the sentiments of Phallusy , but without the tongue-in-cheek element.

Sexy and erotic, this is a wonderful collection that's as well-written as it is kinky. Any one of the stories would be worth the price of admission but, together, they make Turning the Tables a total delight.

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