Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: Tales From The Sexual Underground by Rick R. Reed (MLR Press)

This was the first collection of short pieces from Rick that I've had the pleasure to review; I dove into it immediately, eager to see to which dirty corners of the backrooms of his mind he would lead me.  And I wasn't disappointed.

I knew that Rick would excite and titallate me with this collection.  What I didn't expect was how uncomfortable some of the subject matter would make me.

Rick is very upfront in his introduction and tells us that he "wanted to write about people that were not just out, but out there, people who lived their sexual lives in ways most of us could only imagine...and for whom the flavor vanilla had absolutely no appeal."  And he covers this ground quite well, delving into topics like different sexual fetishes, the lure of the internet and thought provoking pieces that examine love,sex and monogomy in relationships.  Then there are the stories where he looks at gay men and drugs and bad judgement and HIV and it is here with these tales that I felt myself start to squirm a little.

To be sure, Rick isn't saying here that all gay men act as some of his characters have.  But the reality is those who haven't are in the minority.  Who among us hasn't seen a "sex god" and wanted to do whatever we had to to get into his pants?  Or been too high from a night of partying that we didn't think of the possible consequences of our actions?  Those consequences can be devastating as seen in "Negative. UB2", "Stranger Danger" and "Getting a Workout At The Health Club".  These stories made me shiver as I read them because the danger in them is very real.  The sexual underground indeed because we know the risks but ignore them for the more immediate gratification.

Equally chilling are "Meat Mallet" and "Craigslist", which had a cliff hanging ending that made me scream and then scream in frustration for wondering what happened next.  And there are the funny, laugh out loud tales as well: "The Truth-And The Myths-About Being A Slut", "Sick Day" and I am now waiting for Rick to collect all of the adventures of his friend Pete Thickwhistle ("Big And Sexy: A Late
Night Tale", "Glory Hole Grabber") into one volume, they are that hilarious.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and the ride Rick took me on in its pages and would absolutely recommend it to readers of horror and gay lit.  It definitely isn't for everyone but if you proceed with caution, you will be titillated, amused, thrilled and chilled.  Open your mind (or your legs) and you will enjoy the ride, too.


  1. Hmmm, not for the faint of heart then. Have to check this one out.

  2. P.A. I know you do not fall into the "faint of heart" category. Besides, you can write it off as research for your own books!

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