cover image Gents: Steamy Stories from the Age of Steam

Gents: Steamy Stories from the Age of Steam

Edited by Matthew Bright. Unzipped, $20 trade paper (262p) ISBN 978-1-59021-435-0

Bright (Threesome: Him, Him, and Me) amasses 20 gay erotic tales (most original to this volume) set in the good old naughty days of the Victorian era for this varied, sometimes uneven anthology. The best entry is Dale Cameron Lowry’s “The Whipping Master,” about a student aroused by his schoolmaster’s punishment. Dale Chase’s stimulating “The Romp” is a delightful bit of debauchery. Claudia Quint’s “Mr. Okada and His Calotype Camera” is highly satisfying, emphasizing seduction over sex. However, there are some misfires: Felice Picano’s “The Invincible Theatre,” about a young man involved in a threesome, never excites, and Jeff Mann’s “London, 1888” overreaches in its ambitious mix of Jack the Ripper, erotic abduction, and vampirism. Of the four extracts from longer works, the one from Jack Saul’s Sins of the Cities of the Plain is fantastic and filthy, but the pair from the anonymously written My Secret Life grow tedious. Many tales feature language of the era, from frig and spend to gamahuche, and the chapter openings are all illustrated with fabulous Victorian erotic art, a nice touch. Fans of the 19th century will find this a pleasing and diverting assemblage of works. (Sept.)