cover image Herotica 3: A Collection of Women's Erotic Fiction

Herotica 3: A Collection of Women's Erotic Fiction

Susie Bright, Various. Plume Books, $16 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-452-27180-7

In the savvy introduction to her third collection of erotic fiction by women, Susie Bright discredits the too commonly held view that feminists can't be sexual or revel in their sensual selves. Bright's 24 lusty selections not only advance her argument by showing that intelligence and sexuality go hand in hand, but prove that erotica can fulfill any variety of appetite, from literary to fantastical, from surrealistic to voyeuristic. Susan St. Aubin's ``Hope'' looks at how a woman moves from an open marrige into a promising, lesbian romance. In Emily Alward's ``Nicolodeon,'' a science fiction writer encounters one of her own creations, a man from an imagined galaxy. Other works feature magical landscapes, romantic triangles, and a fiercely honest look at a night in the life of a stripper. The few clunkers are redeemed by stories like Mary Maxwell's ``Trust,'' whose narrator shifts the balance by telling her male lover, ``I like knives,'' then proceeding to caress him with a suspenseful blade, and like Pat Williams's ``Tennessee,'' in which a young girl awakens to complex enchantment in the arms of a hermaphroditic playmate. Throughout this volume, graphic sex provides a fulcrum for examinations of personal and social identity, friendship and fidelity, not to mention good old fashioned love. Like Calla Conova's narrator, whose ``garden unfolds like a secret lover,'' readers will be seduced by Bright's array of pleasures and ideas, and will emerge satisfied that strong women are the masters of their own delights. (June)