THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1993 by Susie Bright

THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1993

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Another blow in the battle to legitimate literary titillation: an anthology more militant but less preachy than similar collections edited by Lonnie Barbach (Erotic Interludes, 1986) and Michele Slung (Slow Hand, 1992). In her introduction, editor Bright (Herotica and Herotica 2--not reviewed), after the obligatory review of the debate between the labels ``pornography'' and ``erotica,'' emphasizes the distinctive quality of ``femmchismo''--``the aggressive, seductive and very hungry sexual ego of a woman''--in the emerging new erotica. And her selection of 20 tales, including seven reprints from previously published hardcovers, offers plenty of evidence throughout (check out the Contributor Notes, in which one author describes herself as ``a fairly studly white trash bar dyke who writes the way she talks''). Mostly, though, the contributors have been assembled as painstakingly as Bill Clinton's Cabinet to look like America, all America, at play. In addition to predatory females (Anne Marie Meredith, Trish Thomas, Lisa Palac), there are epiphanies of gay love (Leigh Rutledge, Carter Wilson, Samuel R. Delany, Carol A. Queen) and lesbian (Pat Williams and Blake C. Aarens), sadism and masochism (Bob Flanagan and Pat Califia), exhibitionism (Barbara Gowdy), high-tech coupling (Ronald Sukenick), and of course frustrated vampirism (Anne Rice). Sadly, despite the all-American heterogeneity of the participants, there's little sense of play here: except for Magenta Michaels's ``Rubenesque,'' Anita ``Melissa'' Mashman's ``Five Dimes,'' and a piece from Nicholson Baker's Vox, there's more tristesse than joy on display. That isn't to say that the stories don't deliver on their promise of titillation. But whatever you may think of sex, erotica seems--for the moment at least--to be serious business.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-684-19627-1
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




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