Erotic horror can be a tricky genre. Striking that perfect balance between scary and sexy can be difficult, unless you have perfect control over the sErotic horror can be a tricky genre. Striking that perfect balance between scary and sexy can be difficult, unless you have perfect control over the story. Slumber Party Succubus is one of those rare stories that strikes that perfect balance, matching the atmosphere of horror with the human element of erotica.
Sakura von Sternberg opens the story on a surprisingly tender note, as Alexa and Isabelle prepare for their annual slumber party of bad horror movies and boxed wine. Best friends for years, it was Isabella who supported Alexa through her coming out as transgender, but there may be a spark of something more developing between them. When the lights go out, they discover that their shared dreams of a futa succubus are more than just dreams.
The language here is absolutely sumptuous, and the descriptions exquisite. You can feel the Gothic sense of dread surrounding the scene, at the same time as you can feel the sensuality emanating from the trio. Cold stone and sharp rocks. Hot bodies and soft flesh. The terrifying sexual dominance of Ardat-Lile and the delightful sensual submission of Alexa and Isabelle. It all works, with the fear and the drama serving to accentuate the lust and the excitement. It may have come a little too late for Halloween, but Slumber Party Succubus is still a gorgeous read.
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is probably one of the most frequently retold novels of the 19th century, with countless spin-offs, sequels, and retJane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is probably one of the most frequently retold novels of the 19th century, with countless spin-offs, sequels, and retellings on both page and screen. It is a timeless story, and one with a dual appeal. Yes, there is the romantic aspect of it, but there is also the story of manners behind it, which looks at how proper young women are made, not born.
It is from that idea that Kit Scarbrough's Pride and Prettiness - A "Reluctant Transgen" Tale from Arcadia Island - springs forth. Taking place in the year 2021, the story deals with the Gender Shift movement, which has propelled the island nation of Arcadia to a position of power as the world's first Female Led Nation . . . a world in which the feminization of young men is not just accepted and encouraged. Here, proper young women truly are made, in a physical sense as well as an intellectual one.
In Part 1 of the story, Scarbrough introduces us to the family of Cleo Sherwood - Mayor, Vice Presidential Candidate, and Househead of a Female Led household. She is happily married to her pregnant wifeboy Jennifer (thanks to a uterus implant), and a proud mother to her four sheboy children, Victory, Alex, Candy, and Erin (who are kept young and soft through a combination of puberty blockers and chastity tubes). Erin, the youngest, is a bookworm obsessed with fairy tales and princesses; Candy is little princess, enthusiastic about his transition and in love with everything frilly and feminine; while Victory and Alex are the most reluctant of the children, rebelling against their impending transitions.
For the two oldest sheboys, it is less a rebellion against anything physical and more sociological. Part of the appeal in Arcadia is that it is a gender-swapped version of 1950s America. Sheboys are expected to become polite, docile house wifeboys, completely dependent and legally owned by their Househead. If they want to have a career, it will be as a secretary, a grade school teacher, or a waitress - and only until their implanted uterus is artificially impregnated. With strong memories of their lives as boys back on the mainland, Victory dreams of being a scientist, while Alex longs to become a doctor, careers which are denied to them by their newfound gender.
Scarbrough does a remarkable job of building an entire society in which we can both believe and even envy. It is not a perfect society, but it is a progressive one with some very open-minded ideals. Professional women across the world have flocked to Arcadia, embracing the opportunity to escape glass ceilings and sexual harassment, while transgender individuals have done the same, accepting the restraints upon their future in exchange for being openly accepted and appreciated. While there are some rumors of forced feminizations, Arcadia is not a world of sinister science-fiction conspiracies. Sheboys are accepted, but are still in the minority, and less than 10% of all marriages are Female Led marriages.
In addition to introducing us to the world and the Sherwood family, this opening chapter also sets up the budding romance of Alex, who fills the role of Mary in the story (while Victory serves as the gender-swapped version of Elizabeth).
QUILTBAG Content: As the title suggests, we have two young transsexual women here, both at different stages of their transition, and with different goQUILTBAG Content: As the title suggests, we have two young transsexual women here, both at different stages of their transition, and with different goals in mind. Sarina is committed to becoming a "complete woman" someday, while Deidre likes "being a girl with a cock." Harry is the most interesting part of the triangle, being a straight man with plenty of doubts and reservations, but enough curiosity to play along.
Fetish Content: In different hands, the whole scenario could have been played as a fetish encounter, but Marlene Sexton doesn't fall into that trap. Hers is a story of two women and a man, and neither their gender nor the sexuality it fetishized.
Literary Quality: Actually, there's a nice bit of story here, and even some legitimate character development. I like the way Harry is established at the beginning, especially with all of his doubts about why two young women are so interested in him. I really didn't expect much from Sarina and Deidre at the start, but they have real personalities, and they're both women you could sit and have a conversation with. There's even a hint of actual romance to the story, with a nice tease at the end.
Spank Bank Rating: Yes, it's sexy and romantic, but there's also plenty of spank bank goodness here. First time exploration, a threesome, oral sex, anal sex, and lots of heavy petting. Everybody gets to give and take, so there's straight, lesbian, and bisexual appeal here.
Overall: I like it when a cover blurb pays off, and Harry and the Transsexuals really is "a hot, sexy and romantic tale of sex on the wild side." It's also sincere and respectful, which I think many readers will appreciate. A good story, well developed characters, and a bit of romance mixed in with the sex? You can't ask for much more from a short story.