“Best American Erotica 2002” edited by Susie Bright (Touchstone, 2002)

Best American Erotica 2002starstarstar

This is probably the first official erotic book I’ve ever read; at least it is the first I’m admitting to having read, and while I was expecting this collection of basically heterosexual erotica, I was surprised to discover this and more, as well as various stories of a homosexual nature – both lesbian and gay.  In this context then, being a full-blown heterosexual male, I was not expecting like all the stories in this collection, and yet I did.

You know what: some erotic is really well written!  They are a lot like normal stories, except that they center on sex; as a matter of fact, some of the stories are really great.  Erotica is a genre that is often looked down upon for the simple reason that, like the porn movie industry, the stories are expected to have little plot and focus greatly in detail on the central sexual act or acts of the story.  But it is really quite the opposite.  All these characters are full and complete, they have real lives just like anyone else, except that – like a lot of regular fiction – they have something fantastic happen to them, and in erotica it tends to be of a sexual nature.  Enough chitchat, on to the stories.

“In “Joe” surprising sexual happenings take place in a detox clinic.  In Francesca Lia Block’s “Mer” the reader is taken into an unusual relationship between a surfer and a mermaid where aquatic fantasies ensue.  In Ernie Conrick’s “Backhand” we are in the mind of Anna Kournikova (fiendishly hidden behind the pseudonym of Anna Gramovitch) as she reveals her wet, slippery fantasies involving the other female tennis stars, and then finally gives into temptation with her mentor, Martina Navratilova.

Edited by Susie Bright, known for her work with erotica and the author of How to Write a Dirty Story, she has written seventeen bestselling books on sexuality and erotica and has been called “The X-Rated Intellectual” by the San Francisco ChronicleThe Best American Erotica 2002 is a book for simply everyone, whether you fully admit to liking erotica or not, whether you’re male or female, hetero- or homosexual.  Try it.  Be daring.  I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

CLICK HERE to purchase your copy from Bookshop Santa Cruz and help support BookBanter.

Originally published on May 6th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

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5 thoughts on ““Best American Erotica 2002” edited by Susie Bright (Touchstone, 2002)

  1. What a trip. Hi, I’m Susie, the editor of the book this young man has reviewed. His review originally appeared in the CSULB Union, where I was one of the original staff reporters. It was an underground alternative to the “regular” school paper, which was called the 49er.

    It’s interesting that he says this is the first “erotic” book he’s read. I would wager it’s the first book he’s read that used “erotica” in the title, as a marketing angle… but so much literature includes sexual content, it’s such a basic part of life, that this probably isn’t his first brush with intimate prose.

    Anyway, I’m thrilled he liked it. Not all books called “erotic” are literary fiction, with the surprises and honest characterizations that he enjoyed reading. You have to learn who the “good” names are so you can pick and choose. But I was thrilled he didn’t get thrown off his horse by the different points of view. My kinda guy.

    I often would get angry letters from readers of BAE, who’d scream, “No more ‘gay’ stories, How dare you!” like I had just put a roach in their soup. Of course they meant male gay stories, no one ever screamed about women’s stories of any description. And you know what? My overwhelmingly het-oriented readers picked an extremely gay story as one of their alltime top 5 favorites of the past 15 years, ’cause it was just so suspenseful and well-done it was irresistible. Great writing trumps sexual predilections every time!

    • Wow, what I honor. Thanks so much for commenting, and loved what you had to say. And howdy to a fellow Unionite, may I ask when you were a staffer for them? You should join Facebook group. And glad you liked the review.

  2. Those certainly were the underground years. Do you happen to remember a history professor by the name of David Hood, taught Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, who was always a big supporter for the Union, and was during my time there too. You should show up for their next big reunion. There were certainly fun times and good memories.

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