Tag Archives: clive barker

The Mammoth Book of Erotica edt. by Maxim Jakubowski

The Mammoth Book of Erotica has been sitting on a bookshelf somewhere in my vicinity since I was a teenager. I started reading it back then, killed a hundred pages, and then walked away. I still had an old piece of ripped paper marking the spot where I left off. Maybe I was afraid of my mom busting me or something. Who knows?

But I finally came back and finished the job. 1319904

As with all anthologies, TMBOE had it it’s ups and downs (tee hee). Rarely did I find any of these stories arousing or titillating (I love that word) but many of them were entertaining outside of the sexual spectrum.

Some of my favorites included:

  • The Isle of the Dead by Thomas S. Roche- Queen of the Damned meets transgender lead singer. 
  • Beauty’s Punishment by Anne Rice- An excerpt of Rice’s famous Beauty BDSM trilogy.
  • Hollow Hills by Michael Hemmingson- Six youths get frisky in the back of a 1971 Mustang.
  • A Carcass of Dreams by Marco Grassi- His “story” was several separate individual pieces. Some were of strange subject matter, but all were well written. (Coprophilia, anyone?)
  • The Girl in Booth Nine by Adam-Troy Castro- One of my favorites of the whole anthology. A sci-fi thriller about a guy who visits viewing booths at a XXX store and how a virtual video vixen gets her revenge.
  • The Safety of Unknown Cities by Lucy Taylor- Sodom and Gomorrah meets hermaphrodite meets evil sorcerer. My other favorite.
  • Violent Silence by Paul Mayersberg- A poolside desperate housewife meets dangerous stranger and they get down in a cabana. (It’s much more intriguing than it sounds–don’t judge me!)
  • Equinox by Samuel R. Delany- Bisexual pirate love! Need I say more?
  • Baubo’s Kiss by Lucy Taylor- A vacationing lesbian stumbles upon a mythical goddess and magic ensues.
  • The Age of Desire by Clive Barker- A secret lab experiment goes horribly awry and an insane man with an insatiable sexual appetite is unleashed. Loved this one.
  • L’Enfer by Alice Joanou- A kept man and his mistress visit a hidden erotic club and things turn violent. Very Jack the Ripper-esque.

So, I guess seeing as how 11 out of 30 stories were very well-written or entertaining, 1/3 of this HUGE book was really good. These were all worth reading. The rest were either boring or rambling. Don’t expect arousal though, because these aren’t smut. They’re graphic, but they’re more erotically-themed short stories than out and out raunchy porn.

4 virtual video vixens of 5

(I think I’m just going to work “virtual video vixen” into as many conversations as possible from now on…)

Abarat: Absolute Midnight by Clive Barker

Oh… Clive Barker, you had me fooled, you tricksy devil! Here I was sitting around, waiting for years for the third and FINAL installment in the Abarat series to come out, and what do you know? You leave a freaking cliff hanger at the end! A clear opening for another book! *sigh* And now I get to wait some more… 

I’ve been following this series for about six years now, and I believe that Barker’s work is one of the most sprawling fantasy epics produced in a long time. Plus he paints all of the art work for his books himself, which I really respect. Not quite as magical as Harry Potter (which has pretty much achieved classics status at the point) but pretty amazing nonetheless. I can picture this as a great CGI movie in a few years.

Absolute Midnight is the third and heftiest book in the series thus far. The tension between Candy Quakenbush and co, Christopher Carrion, and Mater Motley has reached an all time high and war has erupted over the 25 islands of their world. (One island for every hour of the day–set up like a clock face–with an ocean in between. Plus one hour to grow on, duh.) Carrion has disappeared, and is presumed dead and Mater Motley has risen to power. She intends to blot out the sun, the moon, and every star in the sky, imposing Absolute Midnight on all of Abarat and thus achieving total domination. Pretty intense stuff.

I really enjoyed this book, although I will say I didn’t get to read it properly. I had to consume it in 15 minute time blocks a few times a week during lunch break. Because of this, it took a looooong time to read. Plus, I made the executive decision not to re-read the other two simply because I don’t like to repeat myself and I didn’t want to eat up time on something I’d already read. Oh well. I still appreciated the story.

However, as is typical in any series, I still feel like the first book was the best. There were parts of Absolute Midnight that seemed to drag a bit, and some scenes I felt weren’t needed at all. I also didn’t like how quickly and randomly a love interest was thrown in the mix for Candy–especially directly after a conversation with Carrion about love. It just seemed too convenient.

Everyone should give Abarat a whirl at least once, maybe twice if you liked it. And any die-hard fan should definitely read book three. It wasn’t my favorite, but we’ll just have to see what Clive Barker has left up his sleeve in another three years…

3 of 5 stars