Embraces: Reviews Publishers Weekly, Nov 6, 2000
(starred review)

In vogue several years back, erotic horror has fallen on lean times. One too many Hot Blood anthologies or knockoff thereof may have choked the market, already gasping from the general downturn in the genre through the 1990s. But now horror is coming back, and perhaps erotic horror along with it. In any case, this fine anthology would have made a mark in the leanest of years. Unlike many of its dumbed-down predecessors, this book presents, as stated by Guran (producer/editor of the acclaimed horror e-newsletter Dark Echo), "something a little dangerous, stories that take a chance, and... draw blood with writing." Several big names--Poppy Z. Brite, John Shirley, David J. Schow, Nancy Holder and Steven Rasnic--headline the anthology, but all 20 contributors deliver, albeit with varying degrees of skill, unexpected and disturbing and, in many cases, highly sexy yet literate (or highly literate yet sexy) fare. Some stories are like hot dreams (Holder's "You Give Me Fever"); others, like Schow's "Saturnalia," are outright shocking; a few (for instance, "Seeing Things," by J.R. Corcorrhan) are more traditional in approach, yet offer a jolt. Particularly notable are Rob Hardin's "Before the White Asylum," a strong commentary on power politics of sex; Brite's punch of a tale, "Home Wrecker," and, particularly, John Shirley's "Learn at Home! Your Career in Evil!," which concludes the collection and is a brilliant short story that, for its inspired core premise of evil as a communicable essence, merits recasting as a novella or novel. Provocative, intelligent, subversive and, above all, artful, this is a horror anthology that every discerning admirer of the genre--or of erotica--will want to embrace.

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