Vampire mania seems to be the norm. Unfortunately this doesn’t translate to quality and that isn’t a reference to Twilight. I wouldn’t class the Twilight saga as erotic. Darkly romantic, yes, but not erotic. So imagine my surprise when I waited – eagerly waited mind you – for my recent online book purchase and experiencing a heavy dollop of disappointment shortly after reading the first five stories in The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica.
There were many thoughts that collided. I did make an effort to push myself through the collection of stories but found that I couldn’t, not after an absurd and rather pussy-whiped depiction of Count Dracula (Stoker’s character) and a gay male rape scene. Actually, when I read The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Douchette, I wondered if there is any quality control. As far as I am aware, rape is not acceptable. As for the particular scene in this short story, I really doubt that it was totally relevant to the development of the story line. Most of the stories in Cleis anthologies are short. There is no real time or word space for detailed plot development, or enough to justify a rape scene where two male vampires effectively violate a third man anally. What was more irritating was how the author justifies the rape by (the unrealistic) transformation of the victim; in one breath, he is in agony, expressing his non consent and then, after the rape is over the victim conveniently discovers he is aroused or enjoyed it.
It’s insulting and more appropriate for trash (romantic) fiction where women are depicted as masochistic doormats.
And that is my beef. I expect a publication to be erotic and if that publication proclaims to publish quality erotica, I can understand that stories vary, but character development is a standard that writers should be aware of and a few writers published in this anthology can’t lay any claim to respecting character development. I like dark stories, but there is a limit where rape is concerned. Many reviews conveniently ignore this detail. One writer friend of mine expressed their disgust, mentioning the hypocrisy of publishers (or editors). Standard erotic fiction submission requirements from publishers explicitly state that rape is unacceptable, but there appears to be a glitch in this anthology.
Ultimately, I felt that this anthology was fast-tracked to take advantage of the recent wave of Twilight-mania that is sweeping the globe. There’s nothing wrong with fast-tracking books. Many novels are fast-tracked. Unfortunately, the quality, plot and character development of the stories within this anthology are cliched and some of the dialogue (“Midnight at Sheremetyeo”) may as well have been taken from TV shows such as Moonlight, it’s so predictable and familiar (‘being turned’).
Ah…I suppose it’s back to standard classic vampire fare. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles are more erotic.If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed.