Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bam Gives Erotique a B

Erotique reviewed by Dionne Galace (a/k/a "Bam"):

You know what this short story (28 pages) reminded me of? That movie Waxwork starring Zack Galligan. [clipped] Anyway, Erotique reminds me of that movie because the heroine in this short story inherits a sex shop that features ancient sex toys that are possessed; like if you touch a dildo owned by Cleopatra, you will get a psychic image of Cleopatra sticking that dildo into Julius Caesar's ass. Or something. I know what you're thinking. Another story about a sexually-retarded heroine inheriting a sex shop and learning to explore her own sexuality, right? Nope. What's great about this story is that the heroine isn't a neurotic, frigid schoolmarm type that wouldn't know the business end of a dildo if it smacked her in the face. Heh. Dildo is a funny word.

The plot is very simple. In fact, as Bruce, the love interest of the heroine says, it's very "Scooby Doo". It's like this: Mandy, the heroine, conditionally inherits Erotique from an eccentric aunt who died under questionable circumstances. Mandy gets to keep Erotique if she stays within the store by herself for a full night on the next full moon. If she can make it through the night, Erotique is hers fair and square. If not, then not so much. Mandy finds outs that the sexual artifacts in the store all bear psychic imprints of their users from a previous life and she is both horrified and sexually fascinated by what she sees. As she explores the history of each object, Mandy finds herself caught up in them, even as they threaten to devour her. Mandy suspects that the objects may have caused the death of her aunt, but she is unable to keep away from them. Even as Bruce worries about her, Mandy realizes that she will do anything to keep Erotique even if it means her own destruction! Dun-dun-dun...

The premise may make it sound like a twisted Twilight Zone episode crossed with an above-average Blaze book, but this was really entertaining. Though the first few pages of the story are a little clunky and loaded with exposition (like the history of Erotique) that is revealed through dialogue (ugh!), Brio hits her stride by page 6 and it becomes a much smoother read. The interaction between Bruce and Mandy feels real and their verbal bantering is very amusing. They seemed like people you meet in college and hang out with. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've woken up next to someone like Bruce before and slipped out the door before he woke up. I'm polite like that. It's too bad that this story is too damned short because I wish I could have gotten to know Mandy some more. What are her motivations? Why couldn't she see what a catch Bruce was until the story is almost over? Why was Bruce single if he was such a big catch? Will Mandy and Bruce continue to see each other after the story ends or will they get together once, have really awkward sex, avoid each other for months, then gradually get back the friendship they had before? Am I projecting again? Man, I should really stop that.

P.S. Despite the cover, this story doesn't feature elves, vampires, or bad CGI hermaphrodites.

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