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Sex Is All Metaphors
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Backstage Passes: An Anthology of Rock and Roll Erotica

Edited by Amelia G

Book Review by Kathleen Bradean


Backstage Passes

Where were you in the mid-nineties? Who were you? Are you a little, or a lot, sorry now that you didn’t dare go into that club, live for the night, or wear those skin-tight red plaid pants with the low-slung, studded black leather belt around your hips? Backstage Passes was originally published in 1996, but if, like me, you missed it the first time around, this is your chance to glimpse what might have been. Thankfully, words don’t grow stale. Stories like these still have the ability to confront and arouse. They may take you beyond your comfort zone. If the erotica you’ve read lately seems a little too safe, this is the anthology for you.

Erotic poetry doesn’t get enough attention. Lyrics are poetry, and this is a rock and roll themed anthology, so I was pleased to read Johnny Chen’s "Chanel No. 5." It’s the only poem in this anthology - a pity -but it sets the tone perfectly.

Regret and mid-life angst are familiar themes in erotica, probably because most erotica writers spend a lot of time thinking about sex but don’t transfer that energy into real life any better than non-erotica writers do. (Sorry to kill that fantasy) In John Shirley’s "When Enter Came," an ex-rocker finds his suburban life too stifling to bear. He’s aware that he’s never really contacted with another human, but isn’t sure how to make up for lost opportunities. With a little sex magic though, his wife breaks through to him.

Thomas Roche’s name is probably familiar to you. I’m always glad to see his name among contributors to an anthology. In "Sticky Fingers," a woman slips backstage with a counterfeit pass that doesn’t fool anyone. She wants to be caught by security though, because she has a plan that will get her closer to the band.

"Temporary Assignment" by Will Judy doesn’t really fit the theme of this anthology, but it’s damn good, so I don’t care.

Cecilia Tan of Circlet Press fame is currently running a free read rock and roll story on her Live Journal. Like "Rock Steady," her free read is a behind the scenes look at life on the road.

Nancy Collin’s "Demon Lover" is one of the paranormal stories in this anthology. Kind of creepy, but still sexy.

Do Goths dress like vampires, or do vampires dress like Goths? The worlds collide so well in our fantasies. In "Music of My Damnation" by William Spencer-Hale, a lonely vampire meets his soul mate in a club.
A chiropractor in a private sex club goes beyond a profession relationship with one of the clients in "Bodie" by Sephera Giron.

In Sarah Oakes’ "Accept No Substitutes," a man sets up the girl he wants with another guy, but the idea of them together torments him.

Amelia G, the editor of this anthology and owner or BlueBlood Books contributes "Dreamgirl." Years before, a teenager summoned a sex demon in a ritual that ended badly, to put it mildly. Now that he’s on the verge of becoming a rock star, she’s hunted him down.   

Andrew Greenberg’s "Not Another Groupie" is the only gay story in this anthology. A rocker finds the boy he wants in the crowd at his show, but backstage, the seduction doesn’t go as planned.

Blood play isn’t one of the big erotica taboos, but not many writers are willing to go there.  If you’re disturbed by it, Althea Morin’s "The Ceremony of Loneliness" isn’t for you.

In L’s "To an Excellent Slave", a programmer leaves work late and on a whim goes into a club. The Domme he meets takes him home for a gender bending bondage fantasy.

T.D.K’s "Private" moves between the viewpoints of two people who hook up at a party. This is one of the few stories written in the I/You style that works well that way.

"Lacerations" by Yon Von Faust is another blood play story, although this one is more intimate than The Ceremony of Loneliness. If a touch of masochism and a lot of blood doesn’t bother you, this one offers up a scene sure to get your notice.

In Shariann Lewitt’s "Pipe Dream," a rock star is supposed to be working on his third album, but inspiration eludes him. With blood ritual and some magic, he summons his muse, only to find out that she views him as hers. I’ll let you read it to find out which famous artist he connects with through time.

The final story is "America" by Poppy Z. Brite. Poppy doesn’t write anymore, a real pity. Hearing Poppy read "The Cocksucker Suit" from Love, Bourbon Street, was one of the highlights of the Saints and Sinners Literary Conference in New Orleans several years ago. In America, Poppy delivers once again with his amazing voice and sense of humor.

In some of these stories, music or a club setting is an important element, in others, it isn’t. What ties them together is the glimpse they offer into subcultures you might, or might not have, been part of. Beneath the Mohawks, ink, and piercings, past the blood play and pounding music, it all comes down to what John Shirley showed in the first story, "When Enter Came "– connection. You might not recognize the scene, but you’ll understand people trying to connect.   

Kathleen Bradean
October 2010

Backstage Passes by Amelia G (Editor)
(Blue Blood, June 2010; ISBN-10: 0984605312)
Available at:  Amazon | Amazon UK

© 2010 Kathleen Bradean. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Who is Kathleen Bradean? Read her bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website.

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