“Trust Me” by Elizabeth Hyder: pure sci-fi, this story follow “futuristic” college boys in a military academy; all people in the academy are some sort of alien, and Koit is a breed with human body but with sparse brown scale. Plus he is completely bald. Koit’s best friend, Sera, thinks he should try a same-sex relationship, mostly since, from what I understand, Koit is not taking seriously any of the one night stand he is having with female. Being gay, lesbian or straight is more or less like having blond, black or red hair, and so it’s not that Koit is against the idea, I think he is reticent mostly since he knows that Sera is right, and that his true feelings are in danger if he finds the right man. Sexuality and sex is pretty natural in this futuristic world, and Koit has not so many trouble in finding men willing to let him satisfy his curiosity. I liked the feeling of this story, it was “modern” (as in futuristic) without being too “strange”, and in the end, even if half-alien and living in a spaceship, these guys and girls were basically like any other college boy or girl living far from their family for the first time.
“Alpha’s Pride” by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet: in a fantasy world, Alec and Nahele are half-man/half feline creatures living in wild packs in a hierarchic society. Nahele is the Alpha and he has been for centuries and Alec, and others, think he has lost focus, he has settled down in their comfortable situation, thus endangering the pack. Alec is Nahele’s best friend with benefits, when they want, and like, Alec shares Nahele’s den and furs, and he plenty enjoys it. But even if he loves Nahele, like a friend, a lover, a brother, Alec is also aware that he will have to betray him, challenging the other for the Alpha’s role. Alec’s only hope is that Nahele will not destroy their bond in the event of Alec winning the challenge. A little warning to readers, this tale has non con sex, even if it’s tamed by the awareness that both men have deep feelings for each other, but in one only occasion, sex will be used as a mean to prove the other’s high authority on a submissive member of the pack.
“I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside” by Wayne Mansfield: a strange urban fantasy tale about a young Greek man, Panos, with a long-hidden secret: he is scales and gills on his body like a fish. He doesn’t know his own origins, he was found by his adopted parents, and aside from that, he is like any other man, and as such, with the desires of any ordinary man. So, maybe hoping to finally find a suitable companion, Panos opens his house to Jason, renting him a room, but also letting the man near him, enticing him, until the day Panos judges Jason is ready to know the truth about him. I liked how the author didn’t stress so much the “paranormal” nature of Panos, it was like Panos has some sort of “mark”, but that didn’t make him an alien creature.
“Opening Worlds” by Cari Z.: a sweet and almost old fashioned romance (wait until the last word and you will understand), this novella follow spaceship captain Jason falling in love for Ferran, a young alien. Ferran comes from a matriarchal society, and since he is sterile, he was destined from his birth to be, more or less, a male housekeeper. He has a docile streak and as usual among his people, he is very sensual, and they see sex like an ordinary expression of deep feelings. Jason in comparison is more reserved, maybe even a bit aloof, but it will be impossible for him to resist to Ferran, even if they know their love is doomed by the impeding due of Ferran, to go back home and marry a woman chosen by his mother.
“Songs for Guitar and French Harp” by Angelia Sparrow: in a post-apocalyptic world, Arthur and Gordon are “constructs”, that means they are built in a lab mixing human body part with animals. Arthur is an half-bear and Gordon an half-lion. As expected, they are working as “freaks” in a travelling carnival, but Arthur got luckier than Gordon; Arthur’s mother, fell in love with a human, and even if they can’t legally marry, Daddy Frank treats Arthur and his mother like people and not property. Gordon instead was bought and as such he is no more like a stab of meat for his owner. Even if Arthur and Gordon are still teenagers, they will have to face hard times, separation, fear and abuses. I liked the feeling of innocence the author managed to preserve for young Arthur even if he was facing a world that resembles an hell. The terrible things Gordon has to face are very clear to the reader, but the author didn’t feel necessary to put them on your face, and I approve of her choice.
Amazon: Wild Passions
Amazon Kindle: Wild Passions
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (June 17, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
Cover art by Nathie