Wild Boys: Gay Erotic Fiction
Despite the salacious title and the obligatory hard-body dude glowering on the cover, the boys that tumble through this anthology of contemporary gay fiction are rarely wild. And even though a surplus of nothing-left-to-the-imagination verbiage is used to describe the sexual encounters that punctuate each story, the overall quality of the writing feels passive instead of aggressive.
Typical of the problems with the book is Martin Delacroix' "The Boy from Willow Creek," in which an older San Francisco resident finds himself with a sexy young computer geek roommate. But the younger man has a myriad of lingering issues and personal problems, and his increasingly anti-social behavior creates friction that ultimately leads to his eviction. It is an interesting idea for a story, and the slow souring of the relationship offers the kernel of a mature idea - something that is frequently absent in erotic literature. Alas, a meandering tone and a too-convenient wind-up (in Cincinnati, of all places) gives the effort a hollow ring.
Roscoe Hudson's "Cosby Kids" also seems like an interesting idea, with a pair of African American college students stranded in a rural area with a surly yet hunky redneck. The story brushes over racial and socioeconomic elements that are not typical for the genre. But as with the Delacroix story, it lumbers along without any particular energy.
It is easy to have great expectations for Dale Chase's "The Outlaw Paulie Creed," which takes the well-worn Western tale of the diligent sheriff in pursuit of the attractive bad-boy bandit. But instead of playing the genre for camp or offering a straightforward Western tale with an added sexual tension, the story evaporates into connect-the-dots erotica barely wrapped around an Old West motif.
Of course, no one comes to erotic fiction expecting remarkable wordplay or richly defined characters - even E.L. James would acknowledge that. But when story after story plants the seed of an intriguing encounter before harvesting a been-there/done-that result, it is easy to get frustrated at the book's selection.
Perhaps the only time the book comes to anything that involves unapologetic carnal heat is a beefy threesome's romp in Daniel W. Kelly's "Sometimes Sex Just...Happens." The writing style is crass, but at least it is consistent in its crassness, and Kelly details every flip, slurp, slap, poke and moan with an intense overkill. Even the purple dialogue - with excessive lines such as "the fucker and the fuckee vocalized in unison" and a bottom's passionate plea of "Fuck me, hot Ken" - is too much of a good thing. It is a guilty pleasure, to be certain - and even though its cheery vulgarity inspires more giggles than scintillation, at least it leaves the reader happy in the end.
Richard Labonté (editor)