Best Lesbian Erotica 1997

Jewelle Gomez, Editor, Tristan Taormino, Editor
Jewelle Gomez, Editor, Tristan Taormino, Editor Cleis Press $14.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-57344-065-3
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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It is always difficult to live up to the expectations that the word ""best"" suggests, and this is far from an outstanding collection. Taormino's introduction is predictable, touching on early 1980s feminist attacks on pornography, the impact of the far right on lesbian sexuality and the inherent radicalism of representing lesbian sexuality in print. Only a handful of the 27 stories that follow are truly arousing. Some writers, including Vicki Lewis, Kathleen E. Morris and Lauren Voloshen, reduce the erotic content to an obvious culmination of a weak plot. Other stories-particularly those by Karen Green, Heather Lewis and Dolphin Julia Trahan-err in the opposite direction with complicated plots and characters overwhelming erotic subtexts. Most of the satisfying entries come from established writers of lesbian erotica. Laura Antoniou has a simple, sexy story about various possible first-time bondage scenarios. Carol Queen's ""Ariel"" is a hot and tender rendition of a lesbian/transgender pick-up. Mickey Laskin's ""Julio"" is an original, sensual tale of a young woman's first night with her girlfriend, coached by a concerned and experienced friend. In Raven B. Kaldera's erotic SF entry, a woman from a sexually repressed culture gets indoctrinated into a dream culture of sex and ecstasy. Among the newcomers to watch, Bree Coven writes suggestively of the butch-dildo relation; Dawn Milton offers an intriguing mixture of erotic-religious tension, adolescent lesbian desire and a cowboy-daddy fetish; and Robin Bernstein brings a lesbian twist to a fantasy about a Hasidic wedding night. But all in all, this makes pretty bland erotica. (Mar.)
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