Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review of "House of Sable Locks" and "Tales from the Arena: Opening Gambit" by Elizabeth Schechter

Writers must read. This is a truism, already deeply internalized by all but the greenest of beginners. Reading is the fuel of the imagination. We hear it echoed everywhere from classrooms to on-line discussion boards. Our jaded eyes sweep across a sidebar passing it off as unique wisdom in yet another of those “how-to-be-a-fabulously-successful-writer” pulp-fodder manifestos from authors and agents we’ve never heard of. We crane our necks to hear it mumbled in listless c-list panel discussions at every over-priced seminar with a cash bar and third-rate swag. Serious writers are serious readers. Yet how often do we recognize the virtue of simply reading for pleasure?

In my own regular constitutional routine, carefully developed to optimize physical and mental health, I’ve learned to set aside the last half hour of each day to indulge myself with books that I want to read, after getting through the latest chapters in the ones I have to read. Lately I’ve been leisurely working my way through the first five books of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones); dipping into Junot Diaz’ short story collection This Is How You Lose Her, and laughing and nodding at linguist Geoffrey Nunberg’s Ascent of the A-Word among other things. There is something to be said for the restorative and quickening power of reading for fun. These last couple weeks have been especially enlivening, as the two books I “had” to read for review here also happened to be the kind of delightful, magnetically engaging page-turners I’d choose if I was looking for pure down-time enjoyment; things to take with me to the beach if I ever got to go on vacation, or peruse by the fire if I actually had a fireplace.

Elizabeth Schechter fuses diverse genres with such artful subtlety that we barely notice the genius at work before our eyes. Steampunk, erotica, fairytale romance, horror, sci-fi; Schechter does it all so deftly, blends it all so seamlessly, we are left wondering by what weird and wonderful magic such stories are created. Her latest novel House of Sable Locks is based on The Succubus, one of the most hauntingly memorable short stories in the D.L. King-edited Carnal Machines, an anthology of steampunk erotica which was included on my Best of 2013 list here on EFTBB.
The original short story, related entirely from the melancholy perspective of a dominatrix-automaton in an exclusive London brothel, becomes the first chapter of the novel, virtually without alteration. But now, Schechter has expanded her somewhat narrowly defined steampunk/BDSM story-verse as well as her narrative point-of-view into the realms of alternate world history, gothic horror, mystery and romance. We learn The Succubus’ fascinating and disturbing backstory along with that of William, the young man she comes to love and long for as no other. An artificer or mechanical scientist, William just on the cusp of majority, is a virtual prisoner in his own home, under the sway of his grasping uncle, his life, present and past, not wholly his own.

The brothel itself, a sort of Victorian BDSM Disneyland, complete with automated pirates in one of its many sexy theme rooms, becomes a virtual character in the story; the too-long neglected machinery in its dusty attics and crawl spaces akin to a beating heart, keeping everything in operation, yet vulnerable and, at times, dangerous. William is drawn to the house as much by his scientific curiosity as by his need for physical release and psychological clarity. The very-human soul of The Succubus longs to help the young man overcome the demons of his past:

“Read it aloud,” Rupesh commanded, an odd note in his voice. William hesitated, surprised by Rupesh’s sudden intensity. Rupesh scowled and snapped, “read it!”

Obediently, William went back to the book and slowly started to translate. “There are two kinds of people of . . . of the third nature: those that are disguised as males and those that are disguised as females . . . Rupesh, what’s the third nature?”

“The third nature . . . that is what we call men who love men, women who love women,” Rupesh said, his voice deep and gravelly.

“Men . . . with men?” William asked, stunned. The very idea was both shocking and thrilling at the same time. Men loving men . . . so he wasn’t strange for desiring Rupesh?

Schechter is not only an engaging storyteller, but a perceptive and intelligent observer of the human condition. (Can we say icing on an already tasty cake?) Among other things, I was refreshed and delighted by the author’s sensitive, beautifully naturalistic treatment of William’s bisexuality; the luminous descriptions of the polyamorous m/f/m relationship he enjoys as a student in Paris, and the romantic white-knight chivalry in his endeavors to rescue The Succubus and be united with his love. Amazing! Fantastic! Glorious! All this and more. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter as each day drew to a close, and I suspect that readers with more unregimented time on their hands may gobble it up in a single sitting.  Enthusiastically recommended!


Quite different, though in its own way no less diverting, is Schechter’s futuristic Sci-fi-adventure/BDSM-romance mash-up, Tales from the Arena: Opening Gambit.  In order to keep their animal side in check, a group of genetically enhanced soldiers, The Swords, are allowed to enjoy a recreational facility known as The Arena, where trained submissives (The Collared) make themselves available for high-tech bondage as well as older-fashioned forms of play. Beautiful Iras is the mother-figure, heart and soul of the Arena, and most accomplished of The Collared. Gavir is one of the toughest and most highly respected Sword commanders. Romance may well be inevitable, but, of course, dark secrets from each other’s past and the politics of rigid caste-society are there to complicate things in the most entertaining way possible.

“I . . .” Iras stopped, her hands in Gavir’s shaking. “It was when you brought me the books.”

“What was?”

“When I fell in love with you.” Her voice was quiet, trembling almost as much as her hands.

Gavir squeezed her fingers tightly then gave in to his own need and pulled her across the space between them, pulled her into his arms. She molded herself to him, kissing him hungrily, her fingers working at the catches on his coat. He leaned forward, letting go only long enough to help her push the heavy coat off of his shoulders and down his arms, tossing it into the back-seat before pulling her back into a tight embrace.

Mistake. Her hands trailed down his chest to his abdomen and found the heavy compression bandages that his singlet did nothing to hide. She pulled back and looked down at him. “What . . . you’re hurt?”

“You knew I was hurt, Iras.”

“But that was weeks ago. You were in regen up north—” she stopped, a puzzled look on her face

It’s probably not possible to reveal any more without dropping a spoiler. Suffice to say, the mysteries here are well worth the delving. As the title suggests, this is the first in what may well become a classic series of short novels. I, for one, can hardly wait for more, and wholeheartedly commend Tales from the Arena and House of Sable Locks, to all readers, but especially to all readers-for-pleasure.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review of "Like a Trip Through the Mirror: Lesbian Love in Alternate Realities" ed. Kathleen Tudor

The five stories in this intriguingly focused collection of f/f erotic romance, draw inspiration from a wide range of fantasy and speculative fiction, everything from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass to The Butterfly Effect, True Blood, Quantum Leap, and the famous Mirror Mirror episode of the original Star Trek series. While authors seldom like to be reminded of their influences—“Gosh! You write just like [insert name here] . . .”—it is the true artist who knows how to take good preexisting story-stuff and rearrange its atoms into something dazzlingly novel. The great Twentieth century composer Igor Stravinsky once remarked, “a good composer does not borrow, he steals.” What Stravinsky didn’t mention—no doubt being too infatuated with his own drollery—is that a great artist coopts the older material in such a way as to make it wholly his or her own. (Then too, Fantasia notwithstanding, Stravinsky didn’t have a legion of Disney Corp. lawyers bound and determined to plug every loophole in the copyright statutes.)

Alternate realities, whether glimpsed fleetingly in a fitting room mirror (as in R. Anne Sawyer’s So Quite New a Thing) or experienced to their sensual full (Reflections by Kate Dominic) offer a fascinating and diverse range of ideas for fiction. Quantum possibility (new parallel realities theoretically created by each choice we make) and alternate personal history are explored with poignant and powerful effect in Annabeth Leong’s  The Universe Where Katie Lived, in which orgasm itself brings new dimensions into existence—an experience to which many lovers can well relate. In Kathlene Tudor’s Into Tipera—perhaps the most heavily traditional-sci-fi influenced story of the lot—a scientist defies authority and risks her life to prove her theories concerning the possibility of travel between alternate space/time dimensions. Vivian Jackson’s Game Fae is a delightful contemporary fantasy tale wherein an overworked video game designer finds herself drawn into a world more fascinating and sexy than the most extravagantly imagined cyber environment. 

Her whole body was electrified, ablaze, and needing. In this place she wasn’t alone, the only girl, the only gay girl, the only anything. She was part of the greater whole. Part of the faerie queen. A tiny fae tugged at her earlobe, shishing into her ear, tweaking a sweet spot of sensation just below, next to her head. Another found the pulse point in her neck and rubbed against it. Felt like the rough tongue of a cat, but warm and slick. God, to feel something like that on her clit. Laughter trilled in her mind. “Now you’re getting it. We aren’t bad faeries, we just like fucking. Open your eyes.”

Just one of many delights to be found in this marvelous collection. Enthusiastically recommended.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review of "Of White Snakes and Misshaped Owls" by Debra Hyde

Here’s something fun. Award-winning author Debra Hyde cleverly appropriates the Victorian detective thriller, making it very much her own in the process. A briskly-paced literary divertissement with a sly tip of the hat to Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous fictional creation, Of White Snakes and Misshaped Owls will appeal to mystery fans as well as discerning readers of well-drawn f/f erotic romance.

Hyde sets her story in New York City during the early 1880s. Chester A, Arthur is president following the assassination of James Garfield, and the infamous Boss Tweed is rotting in prison, convicted on more than two hundred counts of corruption, though Tammany Hall and the old political patronage system are still in full operation, with the tentacles of influence reaching deep into the poorer quarters of Manhattan, the fast-rising tenements of new immigrant communities and nativist conclaves alike. The phonograph, the telephone, and the electric light bulb are all in their curious infancies. A fascinating and colorful era to be sure, witnessing the birth of much that the world would come to know as “modern”. Yet there are some things even this most self-congratulatory “forward-looking” of times was hardly ready to acknowledge, let alone accept. Portraying detective Charlotte Olmes and her assistant/companion Joanna Wilson as a lesbian couple in the deeply closeted culture of the Gilded Age lends an element of dramatic tension and transgressive intrigue to the story, the threat of humiliation, blackmail and “ruin” lurking behind every dark corner. (I hope Hyde will explore these issues in greater depth in subsequent stories, especially as she so skillfully avoids mawkishness, or cheap titillation in her realistic and likeable portrayal of this relationship.)

And I do like these characters, not simply because it’s fun to recognize their roots in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Hyde’s quirky, brilliant, moody Charlotte Olmes could well hold her own against Doyle’s eccentric genius. She is an example of a type that still fascinates to this day—a tradition stretching from Hypatia of Alexandria to George Sand, Calamity Jane and Gertrude Stein—the strong, independent, freethinking woman, unafraid to break the rules, which are, after all, made by and for men. Particularly in the Victorian period, such women were looked upon with suspicion and outright condescension—perhaps masking a deep-seeded dread—their accomplishments all-too-often redacted from “official” record. It’s then something akin to a stroke of genius for Hyde to make Olmes’ partner, Joanna, the top in the bedchamber.  

A few small quibbles. One involves narrative point-of-view. The book opens with a portrayal of a crime, related in third person. With no clearly delineated section breaks, readers are then immediately immersed in Joanna’s Dr.-Watson-like first-person account. Again, without clear breaks or new chapter headings, we are tossed from time to time back into third person, following the criminal as he moves towards his inevitable capture and downfall—a portrayal which seems neither necessary or particularly effective.  This sort of shifting would be acceptable, but without some typographical device to offer fair warning it tends to induce vertigo. There are some basic (face-palm inducting) copyediting oversights and examples of poor formatting here and there, which, readers may hope, will be corrected for the subsequent print and further electronic editions. (And how difficult is it, after all, to revise an e-book?)  

Granted, I do tend to pick up on small details, which faster, more casual readers might simply never notice.  Most who read for pleasure are quite willing to forgive the occasional typographic faux pas if there’s a good story to be enjoyed.

But all bad-tempered-inner-copyeditor complaints aside, there is most assuredly a good story here. And if my prognosticative skills are anywhere up to snuff, I foresee Debra Hyde’s Charlotte Olmes series becoming a very popular and successful franchise, the new de regaire for vacation and beach-reading, or just the thing to curl up with by a warm fire on a bleak winter’s night; the perfect literary snack, light, refreshing, digestible and delicious.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review of "Domme Chronicles: Erotic Tales of Love, Passion and Domination" by Sharyn Ferns

There’s some genuinely beautiful prose in this copious collection of D/s flash fiction from Australian author Sharyn Ferns, and the overall quality of the writing is pleasingly consistent throughout. More a gathering of vignettes than formally-structured stories, these pieces have the cursory feel of journal entries or diaristic meditations, a few epigrammatic strokes elucidating the author’s most acute observations of small, seemingly mundane details, and the luminous after-images of fleeting emotions.  

I like having you smell me also, and I know you bring the scent to your nose when you want to feel close and I feel you breathe in deeply, sucking me into your lungs to bring and keep me there, touching every cell, unwilling to let the air back out, trying to taste the scent on your tongue and all the way to the back of your throat and inside you.

I wonder if you can smell me in your sleep and in your wakeful moments and when you aren’t paying attention and when you are and when you see something that makes you think of me and when you see nothing and are thinking of me.

Have I marked you with my scent enough so that you just smell me, anyway and always?

So far, so good. Yet, while downright delightful when imbibed in moderation, collectively there is a creeping quality of sameness from one section to the next. The reader may experience a cloying sense of déjà vu when encountering quite literally hundreds of “I do this; you do that” constructions. Yes, for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction, but some of these pieces begin to read like a checklist for an oil change, or a clinician’s lab notes. The novelty of second person point-of-view wears off very quickly, and should be employed sparingly, if at all. An author who doesn’t understand this runs the risk of boring her readers or pissing them off. After I-don’t-know-how-many “I do this; you do that”s I found myself saying “no, the fuck I don’t!” which, I’m sure, is not the reaction the author intended to elicit, though, I suppose, anything is better than indifference.

In a more charitable mood, I would ponder this question; how does an author—any author—create variety in an erotic narrative? How does one develop the essential literary element of conflict in portraying a stable power-exchange relationship in which every action and reaction is, in effect, predetermined?  I hope next time out Sharyn Ferns will address these issues in a wider-arc form, a slightly longer, more traditionally structured short story or even a novel—preferably in first or third person. She certainly has the talent and the potential to bring it off beautifully.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review of "Jacked In: Transhumanist Erotica" ed. Gabrielle Harbowy

Erotica at its best invites readers to open their minds, to explore the rich quantum multi-verse of the human condition, correlating our most basic instincts with our most complex emotions, finding the wormhole-like connections between the subtlest physical stimuli and the deepest wellsprings of thought. Science fiction, too, at its finest, tells a richly human story from a uniquely informed point of view. Whether we call it sf, sci-fi, futurism, or speculative fiction, the genre is ultimately “about” illuminating uniquely human truths, exploring the limits of human potential, ethics, and the nature of imagination itself. 

The science in sci-fi must be good science—the sounder the better—though it does not necessarily have to be “hard science”; the fictional dimension allows for speculation and even visionary flights of fancy. If we can imagine it, it’s ultimately possible after all. Yet no amount of fancy “tech” can ever substitute for the story itself, the narrative, the plot, though it be old as legend itself, wrapped in whatever dazzling new guise the author may choose, must always, in the end, illuminate, enrich and enliven our present human condition. (At a certain point  in my young adulthood, I came to see Star Trek less as an idealized vision of the future, than as a kind of sanitized cautionary tale about the dark side of technology. The show (especially from The Next Generation onward) seemed to offer weekly visions of humans frustrated and victimized by the very technologies designed to serve them. Especially in the case of Star Trek and its various spinoffs, contemporary futurism tells us more about the time in which it was envisioned than it ever does about the unfolding of the future. Sci-fi is more often than not a metaphor for the present, an elaborate projection of its creator’s most immediate fears and prejudices. In retrospect, we think more about the sexist Mad Men-era attitudes of Captain Kirk than about the quaint retro portrayals of Twenty-third century computers and communicators, all outstripped and rendered obsolete by reality within a few short decades.)

There’s nothing new about sci-fi-inflected erotica or the exploration of erotic themes in mainstream sf. One need only reach for a copy of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love or, his glorious valedictory novel, To Sail Beyond the Sunset to discover an engaging, literary speculative fiction that positively teems with sex. What is particularly refreshing about Heinlein is his unapologetically sex-positive attitude, though sometimes it seems, his portrayals of communal free-love, open marriage, polyamorie, pan-sexuality, and guiltless incest were included more for their shock value at the time than for their contribution to serious intellectual discourse or the expansion of human consciousness, a good sharp poke at the reactionary fringe, rather than a “how-to” manual for the hippie generation. That these books did help expand the consciousness of an age, provide inspiration and impetus for broader visions of love and community, was certainly all to the good, though undoubtedly not the author’s primary objective.

The seven stories in this stimulating, sometimes disquieting collection of erotic speculative fiction portray diverse futures for humanity, some Bladerunner-ishly bleak and gritty, others stark and sterile as the gleaming civilization portrayed in Huxley’s Brave New World, though all of them conceive realms in which technology has either enhanced or fundamentally altered the physical and psychological boundaries of the sexual experience. Transhumanism, as editor Gabrielle Harbowy explains in her introduction, is the “belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology. . .

Our minds and bodies are machines, and like machines they wear down. Things break and need replacing. Or new innovations can inspire upgrades that significantly enhance capacity or potential. But what good is living longer, stronger and harder if we’re not playing longer, stronger and harder, too? . . . (these stories) explore what we might become when the ability to augment our bodies is equally a means to augment our pleasure-seeking experience.

In each story, the reader is invited to imagine and explore the fascinating erotic potential of these technological enhancements. Telepathy and shared sensations become a simple matter of neural interface, as in J. Pape’s Sweet Memories, and A Trap Self-Sprung by Nalu Kalani, offering a macabre twist on the conventional D/s narrative, with a bit of tentacle titillation thrown in for good measure. Sex and virtual reality (and yet more tentacles!) drive Nobilis Reed’s Cheese, though the writing is a bit too tech-heavy to sustain erotic interest. Sasha Payne’s pulsing, punkish A Sweeter Science is reminiscent of some of the great post-apocalyptic epics like Bladerunner and Akira—especially the former in its portrayal of forbidden human-robot love. Docking Maneuvers by Cynthia Hamilton may be the most purely entertaining story of the bunch, relating a steamy f/f encounter with some extremely imaginative writing about sex toys of the future.

Peter Tupper’s Upgrade is a beautiful, melancholy, elegiac but ultimately uplifting tale of one man’s final memories of physical sensation before transitioning to a new form, leaving behind and transcending the body in order to become a being of pure intellect. But not abandoning human curiosity.  “When there is no possibility of loss,” Tupper tells us, “action becomes trivial. Even if we can’t die, We can feel fear, and feel even more ashamed because of that fear. We need to try new things. We need to find something that scares Us.”

Here, readers are at last invited to ponder some of the ethical dilemmas posed by Transhumanist (H+) philosophy. What does it mean to sense, but not to feel? Has rapid technological advance ultimately doomed humanity in outpacing the natural course of our evolution? Can even the most sophisticated enhancements ever truly displace the sublime, simple pleasure of human touch?

“Yes.” She reached across the table and laid her hand across mine. I inhaled and willed my hand not to jerk away. Her fingers curled around the back of my hand. “That will be lost when we’re giant interstellar squid Buddha demigods or whatever. I don’t know if I want to say goodbye to that.”

That has cost her, I realized. Being so forward was a huge effort for her, just as it would have been for me. Apparently neither of us were early adapters. Never really comfortable with our current job, relationship, family. Endlessly thinking about alternatives, but rarely if ever acting on them.

Harbowy has perhaps saved the best for last with Peggy Barnett’s marvelous, lyrical, horrifying Teneo, Tenere, Tenue. Pygmalion meets grunge in this vision of a world in which have-nots are forced to scrounge and scavenge while the privileged classes cast off their corpses, preserving their heads to await a brighter, even more heavily enhanced future. Here, a young, lonely artist forages medical-waste dumps, seeking body parts for a new, daringly macabre sculpture, the face like the image of the Madonna in an ancient icon, the body that of a many-armed goddess with the discarded hands of dead women.

Hands are the most human part of us, the part that reaches and gives and takes. They are the parts that made us what we are, homo sapiens, the dominant species: the opposable thumb, the ability to hold a paintbrush and make marks on the side of a cave, to strike flint, to lay fire, to gather wheat and pound flower, to sew warmer clothing and lash together thresh roofs, to build spears and point out wounded animals, to skin and flay them. Hands built tools which built brain capacity which built speech, which built communication, which built laws, which built civilizations, which created kings and emperors, the poor and the rich, which created the disenfranchised, the discontent, the disagreeable, which created revolution and war, and weapons to tear down walls, and regimes, and lives. Hands strike strings, drums; hands craft horns and flutes; hands notch pans and dance along keys. Hands can wrap a bristle, grind ink, plane a handle, smooth out paper, cut a nib, write a poem. Hands can weave and cut and sew. Hands create and creation becomes culture, becomes meaning, becomes mutual understanding and compassion. Hands have made us. And in the end, hands unmake us.   

Science writer Ronald Bailey has called H+ “the movement that epitomizes the most daring, creative, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity.” He might well have been describing the stories in Jacked In as well. Recommended.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New from TAS: "A Song for the Girl with the Almond Eyes"

In his brilliant treatise on screenwriting, appropriately enough entitled Story, Robert McKee makes a simple but stunning observation; if a writer changes one of her characters, she changes the story as well. Likewise, changes to the plot necessitate changes to the chief characters who act it out. In the best dramatic narrative, character and plot are so inextricably bound up, that to change one is to essentially alter the other.

Yet, how many genre outings have we all read in which, it seems, story and character are little more than menu items—traits and plot points chosen at random from Column A, B, or C—mechanically interchangeable cogs, fungible, generic “plug-ins”? To be sure, there are a lot of accomplished, very smart, and exceedingly well-compensated people doing this sort of assembly-line writing, seemingly building their stories with stencils and flowcharts, churning out their highly successful cookie-cutter products with impressive regularity.  I do not begrudge these writers their success; there’s clearly a place for what they do in the contemporary commercial scheme of things, though, the handful of them that actually give a rat’s tuchus should know that their books will never be reviewed on EFTBB. 

I was thinking about McKee’s observation as I approached, for what seemed the hundredth time, yet another reworking of my first novel. Changing the ethnicity and personality of the main female character necessitated a good deal of revision, not to mention a lot of continuity editing, though it wasn’t quite as tedious as it might have been. I have lived with this book for so long now, one would think I’d have grown weary of it, put it aside once and for all, and moved on. Yet something about it has retained my interest over the years. It was never badly written, only awkwardly structured with, perhaps, a bit too much philosophical padding. A good, lean story was always there, even if the narrator’s obsession with explaining everything made it look fat. (The original first draft of what became Last to Leave Parts 1 and 2 weighed in at 152,000 words!) In the beginning I had many stories to tell, and tried to tell them all at the same time; lots of ideas, too, which I simply couldn’t resist going on about. It took a while for me to learn that good storytelling isn’t so much about what a writer puts on the page, but what he has the humility, the courage, and the sheer ruthlessness to leave out. What is that oft-repeated advice about killing our beauties—or is it our darlings? (Ginsberg was it? I’ve heard it attributed to Faulkner as well.) In the end, effective self-editing is essentially an exercise in healthy self-criticism. The sooner a writer figures this out, the happier she will be in her chosen profession.

At 72,000 words, A Song for the Girl with the Almond Eyes is the new, leaner, sleeker iteration of a work that has occupied me off and on for the better part of a decade. A young man, coming of age in the suburban upper-Midwest of the 1990s, deals with overwhelming feelings of sexual obsession, and in the inevitable denial of his desires, a crushing frustration, which he must find a way to work through if he is to move on with his life. I have tried, in this novel, to elucidate an honest, thoughtful male perspective on sexual desire. My aim, as with everything I write, is to explore the human condition through those thoughts, feelings and emotions that accompany sexual experience and physical sensation. I categorically reject the oft-repeated criticism that, when it comes to telling stories about sex, “all men are assholes.” Certainly, some men are assholes—including a few portrayed in this book—but that’s hardly a fair indictment of the whole class of male authors. Admittedly, those in search of gossamer romanticism, candlelit seductions, hearts and flowers, sugar and spice, will not find it here; nor will most readers find the sort of blithely unexamined, facile adolescent obsession with merely “getting in and getting off” that characterizes porn. Some may complain that I have exaggerated, or even that, when it comes to recording dialogue among women, I don’t know what I’m talking about; but be assured this story is based in part on my own experiences, as well as things I’ve heard and seen while sitting at the edge of the crowd. It is, when all’s said and done a labor of love. As such, I hope it will not go wholly unappreciated.


Next month here at EFTBB, we’ll be getting back to a regular schedule of reviews and commentary.