Thursday, May 10, 2012

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Tagging Angelia Sparrow’s ADVENTURESSES

ADVENTURESSES is a collection of new and reprinted f/f erotic speculative short stories by Angelia Sparrow:
Ten tales of lesbian adventure take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the science fiction convention down the road, from a steampunk west to a world where the Confederacy got nukes. Come along and fall in love with a waitress or a pirate or Medusa herself.

I’ve been wanting to read more lesbian sci-fi romance, so having enjoyed the author’s erotic steampunk romance SKY RAT I was excited to learn that her latest release featured such stories.

As far as reader expectation, my thought is that ADVENTURESSES makes for a fun way to sample Angelia Sparrows' work. This is an eclectic mix of stories and the writing consistently popped. The collection is not just about adventuresses—it’s for adventurous readers who enjoy stories beyond the mainstream.

While some form of romance is present in all, the short form might present a challenge for readers who want something meatier.

All of the stories have erotic elements. That said, the erotic aspects range from mild to sizzling. Since the erotic element cuts across all the stories, I thought I’d have a little fun tagging other aspects, especially since many of the tales feature detailed worldbuilding. Here they are in the order they appear in the anthology:

ADVENTURESS: (steampunk) A young woman has a naughty encounter with an airship pirate. This story features the best description of a female airship pirate I’ve ever read. Ever.

BURNING FOR EIGHT DAYS: (near-future) In this tale, a lawyer has a virtual reality encounter with a famous rock star from the past.

THAT TIME THEY TALK ABOUT: (post-apocalyptic) A woman mutated by a past nuclear/environmental disaster searches for a lost love in slaver territory. Features gunslinger action and winged birds as steeds. The bleak setting is tempered by romantic flashbacks and an HEA.

REWRITING OLD SONGS: (contemporary) This is a story about a trucker and a half-Cherokee waitress who fall in love. It features a cool truck and a sex toy, but that’s about as skiffy as this one gets.

CHANGE OF PLANS: (contemporary) This tale is a continuation of the previous one and puts the couple in jeopardy. Beware triggers as the antagonists threaten the couple with acts of violence.

STILL ROLLING: (post-apocalyptic; zombie): This story is a continuation of events in REWRITING OLD SONGS and CHANGE OF PLANS, but with a horror/speculative bent.

Some time after an event referred to as “The Change,” trucker Yolanda and her wife Alice rescue a man from zombies while on a delivery run. We learn that scientists created zombie laborers, but that eventually led to economic troubles. Then the zombies acquired a taste for human flesh. You know how that type of thing goes.

STILL ROLLING mixes humor with social commentary. The ending is of the painfully bittersweet-bordering-on-tragic variety. Definitely thought-provoking.

INDUCED PAROXYSMS: (contemporary; cos-play) This story is about a couple who dress up, steampunk style, to enact a “treatment of nervous hysteria” before a live audience at a convention. Features bondage, BDSM, forceps action, and an elaborate, somewhat sinister steampunk vibrator.

RECOVERY: (space opera) This futuristic tale is about an alien humanoid primate’s efforts to save her injured lover, a humanoid cat, after their ship crashes on a distant planet. This is kind of a “day in the life” adventure of this couple, so it’s more about preserving their romance—and their lives—rather than the development of one. It has a strong theme of heroism and love against the odds.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: (western steampunk romance) Zombies have infiltrated a frontier settlement, and it’s up to the heroines and their neighbors to defeat them. For me, this story had the most to offer in terms of a complete romance and an exciting external plot.

Other elements include a forbidden romance, zombie splatter, gunslinger action, steampunk weapons, and tender romance. There are children of various ages in the story, but the Western setting combined with what I knew about the roles children had in frontier settlements went a long way toward tempering the zombie/threat/suspense elements.

ROCK US ALL DOWN: (fantasy/mythology) Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Gorgon Medusa and Rapunzel fell in love? That’s this story in a nutshell. If you like CLASH OF THE TITANS, then you might enjoy this twisted fairy tale. The plot, conflict, and pacing are low-key, and there’s a strong focus on sensuality and the lush setting.

Happy reading!

Joyfully yours,

Heather