hard to believe that these stories were published in various erotic magazines in the 80s. they push boundaries that i didn't even realize existed. at this point i don't even know what i'm going to say about this collection. except that i will probably have nightmares tonight about vindictive sex torture, transformative (literally) sex torture, gray area but basically good-time quasi-sex torture that still made me feel like i needed to shower off a creepy feeling of wrongness; exploited and abused teens & adults, delicate coming of age reminiscences; Michel Foucault, Ancient Rome, Clive Barker, Louisiana, John Preston; buried self-loathing made sexy (i suppose) in a handsome trucker, anti-americanism paving the way to the torture and sexual destruction of an american abroad - many, many years before Hostel & Turistas; blue light is terrifying, kudzu is terrifying, southern cops are terrifying, the Turks are terrifying; a game of cards; piss, semen, and big dicks; public humiliation in diners, the leather world, secret polaroids and disturbing paperbacks, a road trip, a trip to Italy, a mind-trip; things that are hot, things that are intellectually fascinating, things that are so appalling that they sorta make me die inside a little bit. oh and a headless torso that is watching itself as it is sexually wrung out and then literally de-sexed (not castrated: de-sexed). the writing is way beyond what i expected. highly intelligent. atmospheric. Dennis Cooper minus the wimpy blankness & collegiate postmodernism. De Sade & Bret Easton Ellis & Jim Thompson & Poppy Brite all got together and had a baby named The Flesh Fables. acclaimed historical author Steven Saylor writing pseudonymously as villainous pornographer Aaron Travis. surprisingly serious and seriously sadistic, with a few uncomfortably light touches to close out all the tortuous intensity. extremely challenging, in a good way... but also in a way that made me feel sick to my stomach and sorta hollow, sorta mentally & emotionally & morally cored out. Travis mines the unconscious like oil drillers rape the land - sometimes with a lot more subtlety but always with an ample amount of crude brutality. should erotic fiction have the cumulative effect of making you feel like a bad person? this collection, summed up in a word: memorable!
but oh, this cover, ugh: