When Pat McCraw asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing her Erotic Fantasy Short-Stories collection, her first work to be translated into English, I was curious . . . but hesitant. Depending on context, the phrase "erotic fantasy" can have two very different meanings. On the one hand you have fantasy stories that happen to be erotic, and on the other hand you have . . . well, erotic stories that happens to involve fantasies.
So, I took at look around her Duocarns site, which incorporates some amazing fantasy artwork, noted that she mentioned Marion Zimmer Bradley as her favourite author, and took it for granted that there would be at least some fantasy element to the stories. Besides, I was in the mood for something different, so I let my curiosity get the better of me - and I'm glad I did.
There are 6 stories in the collection, half of which embrace Pat's love for fantasy. For starters, we have Like At Mothers, an odd little science fiction tale with an final scene that comes as a bit of a shock, but which is an altogether amusing surprise. The Monster offer up a tale of duelling wizards and magical destruction, complete with a monstrous lover who could have crawled straight out of the Bizarro genre. At first glance, Lizzard Love is a pretty straight-forward adventure tale, featuring a woman with a pet iguana fetish, but despite being the most subtle and suggestive of the stories, it packs a final scene that both shocks and amuses.
As for the other stories, they all do something interesting with the whole concept of fantasies. The opening story, The Visit, features a dominatrix who invites the reader into her head, sharing the personal fantasies that drive her professional sessions. In the the two shortest stories of the collection, Black Devil introduces us to a woman who only discovers the power of her own fantasies through her husband's indiscretion, while Cat Food introduces us to a man who has physically become his mistress's feline fantasy.
While the English translation is a bit imperfect, with a few awkward word choices and grammar oddities, it doesn't detract from the stories themselves. They are carefully constructed little gems, completely original, with some exceptionally entertaining moments. For the price, it's definitely worth checking out, especially with the amazing artwork that accompanies the stories.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins