Best Fantastic Erotica
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by Cecilia Tan
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Science Fiction
Description: The best erotic science fiction and fantasy as determined by the annual contest run by Circlet Press. Rewarding originality and positive sensuality, the contest inspires well-known and unknown writers alike to excel in this provocative genre. Erotic sf/f combines erotic and sexual themes with magic, futurism, high fantasy, cyberpunk, space opera, magic realism, and all the many other sub-genres. The winner is a multi-genre writer from Canada Arinn Dembo, whose "Monsoon" draws on the mythic tradition of India. Second and third place went to two well-known erotica authors, both of whom have published with Circlet Press before, Thomas S. Roche for "The Night the New Hog Croaked" and Jason Rubis for "Circe House." Over 400 manuscripts were submitted and only 18 were chosen for publication.
eBook Publisher: Circlet Press, 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: March 2008
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [469 KB]
Reading time: 305-427 min.
"Cecilia Tan is simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature. It was her revolutionary, genre-breaking efforts decades ago that brought science fiction, fantasy, and erotic communities into the same literary room together."--Susie Bright
by Arinn Dembo
It was June in Maharashtra, and the monsoon would not come. The whole district lay panting in the heat, the burning sky clapped tight overhead like the lid of a tandoor oven. Lean goats stumbled down the narrow alleyways, udders hanging slack and dry beneath them; beggars cried for water in every village. Dust-devils swept over baked clay and through the dry weeds, whistling and shrieking. Hot sand blew into the eyes of torpid bullocks as they leaned into the yoke, whips snapping over their bony backs. A single stream crept along the valley floor, shrunken and muddy, and women stood ankle deep in its shallows, beating their laundry against rocks that rippled and danced in the sun.
Benton watched those women from behind his mirror shades, their saris wringing wet and clinging like crepe to their bodies. The trip to Wainganga by Jeep was long, particularly in a Jeep so old and decrepit as this one; any distraction from the heat and the choking clouds of dust was welcome.
He held up his fist abruptly and Charanjit brought the vehicle to a shuddering, squealing halt by the side of the road, burying the two men briefly in a whirlwind of fine grit. "How long, my friend?" the driver asked. He turned his wrist proudly, showing off the glittering face of a new watch.
"Das," Benton said, climbing out of the passenger seat with his cameras swinging around his neck. He could speak relatively decent Hindi, and Charanjit's English was impeccable, but the two men chose to communicate in monosyllables and hand signals more often than not; they had worked together before. Charanjit would now wait ten minutes before he began to lean on the horn imperiously, demanding that Benton return.
The white man limped down the hill toward the water, his right leg aching and stiff with travel. The women continued their work in the riverbed; he crouched beside a thorn bush and took several pictures of them, focusing his lens on wet bellies ... brown breasts ... flexing thighs ... streaming, sopping masses of black hair. It was a prosperous family, the daughters plump and smooth.
The shutter clicked and whirred like the wings of a locust. One of the younger girls looked up suddenly and saw him across the river. Her black eyes flashed. Just moments before her voice rang out in warning, Benton captured one last perfect image of her face, her pale pink tongue-tip passing over the ripe curve of her upper lip. Then all the women were standing, laughing, scowling, chattering to one another in Hindi ... all the while drawing the folds of their wet saris about them, arms crossed over their conical breasts to fend off his camera.
He turned away and went back to the Jeep, half-staggering on the incline. The passenger seat had been repaired so many times with silver duct tape that none of the original upholstery could be seen. Benton sat down heavily, letting his long, lean body drop into the burning chair. He massaged his aching thigh absently and drew his filthy red bandanna up to cover his mouth; the taste of dust was thick on his tongue, but he could not slake his thirst here.
Benton had been dry since Mombasa. His original plan had been to stop in the Old Town there. Among those twisting alleys there was an oasis where the caramel-colored daughters of the Faithful could be bought as easily as a dish of fried casava or a handful of sticky dates; it was one of his favorite haunts in the city. He liked the kohl-rimmed eyes of the dancers, lustrous and burning over their filmy veils. In the leaping shadows of the back room, he had drawn aside those veils more than once to kiss the forbidden lips of a Moslem girl.
Time had not allowed for his little diversion, however, and once again in Mumbai it was the same: no brothels, just an endless hurry through passport offices and transit bureaus to get his papers in order. As the Jeep jounced and rattled along the dirt road, Benton counted the days since he had laid hands on a woman.
Half the reason for his choice of profession was the love of women; he always devoured them greedily when he was abroad. He couldn't capture the flavor of a place until he made love there. The women were as inseparable from the mystique of a foreign land as its music, its language, its liquor and food. Every country offered a subtle variation on the eternal flavor--he sampled them all, like the alien fruit and curry in the marketplace.
The women he could not bring to his bed, he collected with his camera. If possible, he would always do both. He was paid to take pictures of mountains, rivers, rice paddies and ruins--but it was his dream to someday publish his thousands of photos of women. He would present the beauties of the world, all the bright vivid creatures from Mandalay to Manhattan: they would be his gift to the Arts.
For now, however, he was simply suffering, and it seemed that the whole earth was suffering with him. The sere hills of Pusad gave way to the Upper Bhima Valley and then the plain of Nagpur, a broad flat slab that stretched for miles in the blinding sun. The wind roared like a furnace at the nape of his neck. Dead, brittle cotton still stood in the fields; dry leaves rattled, and stinging dust slashed across the faces of water-bearers walking by the side of the road. The women and boys were black and thin beneath their ceramic jars, their arms and legs bent like wrought iron.