Pros: Some strong stories that pack a lot into a little space
Cons: Quality varies wildly; could have used another round of editing
Rating: 3 out of 5
Erotika: Bedtime Stories is a collection of very short pieces of erotic fiction from a variety of authors. It contains graphic sexual material and is definitely for adventuresome adults only.
To be honest, many of the stories in Erotika made me shrug. Maybe it’s just me, but I need to feel a spark of genuine passion and character chemistry in a story in order to enjoy the heat of it. Unfortunately too many of these tidbits felt clinically constructed to fulfill one niche or another. I felt as though I was checking stories off of a list as I went: this is the foot fetish story; this is the exhibitionism story; this is the dom/sub story with kink #18… What can I say. I’m sure there are readers who will enjoy such an approach to an erotica anthology, but it doesn’t really appeal to me.
Luckily the anthology was rescued by a handful of stories that did contain that passionate spark. In particular some of the later stories in the book jumped out at me, such as Gwen Masters’s ‘Ghosts of Virginia’ and ‘Dry Tinder’ (both as much about emotion as they are about sex), Ralph Greco, Jr.’s ‘The Fruits of Mark’s Confession’ (involving an unusual emotional and sexual triangle), and Cullen Dorn’s ‘The Professor’ (an unusual and vaguely mythical story).
Erotika is a slender book containing some very short stories. If you’re looking for technically well-written tidbits that set out to deliberately explore a wide variety of fetishes and interests in the erotica genre, you might well enjoy it. If you prefer a hefty dose of passion, spark, character and chemistry in your erotica, much of this book will fall unfortunately short. It might be worth a read, however, for some of those pieces I mentioned earlier.
As an aside for those readers who care about such things, the book could also have used another round of editing. If you don’t tend to notice minor misspellings, misplaced apostrophes, and the like, don’t worry about it. If you’re the kind of book perfectionist who’s driven nuts by that kind of stuff, some of the stories in here definitely fare better than others.