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Sex and comedy and even h/c by Predatrix. All A/B, obviously. Will probably not suit angst/tragedy/torture fans. More comedy than hearts-and-flowers romance, but more-or-less romantic in a cheerfully libidinous way. Thanks to: Nova, Helen Patrick, and Vanessa Mullen for help, hints and ideas, although all the mistakes are purely my own.
- "Striking Attitudes: Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance, Prudence" (8 pp)
- "Xmas Present" (2 pp.)
- "Wish This Ring" (13 pp)
- "Fifteenth of Boozious" (10 pp)
- "Eight Inches to Man-Size" (28 pp)
- "Addiction" (27 pp)
Reactions and Reviews
(The trouble with trying to writing a review is that that first line seems to say it all: puns, porn, and Pred: what more could anyone ask for? Just *go and buy it*, people.)
I bought this at Redemption and read it there and on the train home. My first impressions were that it was very hot; joyously, romp-ishly well-written (I wonder what the ratio of one-liners to orgasms is?); and in some stories with a lot more emotional range (okay, I mean angst) than I was expecting from the First Lady of Farce. After extensive further research, I can reveal that all the above is still true, but I would have to add that it is, in fact, very, very, *very* hot.
I don't know if they're still like this, but the last time I went into an Anne Summers shop I was slightly confused, because when you go through the curtain into the "adult" bit you're confronted by bondage gear (rubber full-face masks with integral ball-gags, leg-spreaders, nipple clamps) *and* hilarious novelty items like "boob pasta" and seaside postcards. I hope Pred won't be offended when I say this zine felt a bit like that, managing to combine absolute filth with jovial dirty-mindedness. As ever, too, it's a showcase for Pred's unique ability to keep Avon and Blake in character while writing happy, sexy, *fun* porn.
The six stories all mix the Dark(ish) Intensity of Avon and Blake's relationship with carefree sex rompiness, but in different degrees. Striking Attitudes, Xmas Present, and Wish this Ring (the first three) are fairly straightforward jolly sex-comedy. This is not a criticism, because God knows Blake and Avon deserve some straightforward jollity. Wish This Ring has some particularly good sex in it - in fact the last sex scene in the story is one of the places my copy of the zine falls open.
The second trio of stories are a little darker. Fifteenth of Boozious is a wonderful hurt/comfort story with a telepathic twist which makes for an ingenious variation on the "Avon doesn't talk about his feelings" theme. Another highlight is the lovely few paragraphs on Avon and Blake's relative cock sizes (sweet and sexy!), and the blissfully sweet ending.
Eight Inches to Man-Size and Addiction are my two favourite stories in the zine. Eight Inches because of the angst, the wonderfully plotted story which depends on Avon's self-delusion and horrible miscommunication between Blake and Avon (themes dear to my heart), and some lovely Furious Blake moments. Isn't he beautiful when he's angry? Also some great jokes and some *fabulous* sex, although because of the miscommunication there's a little less of the dirty dialogue which is another thing I love Predatrix for.
Addiction more than makes up for that, though. Blimey O'Reilley. Pred's focus on the ways Blake and Avon learn about each other's fantasies and kinks makes for another lovely psychological story. Also an absolutely filthy one. And although all the stories in the zine are sexy enough to almost qualify as PWP, the sex really *is* the plot - perhaps in Addiction in particular - and it's so well done. I love the way the boys have to learn about each other the same way the rest of us lowly mortals do - by talking, guessing, trial and error.That's the best I can do. I'm off for a little lie down now. Love, Ika 
Well, I *love* it, of course (as a confirmed R A/B SH, this will surprise absolutely no one), but it's not something I should read in public, even if there aren't pictures ... the uncontrollable laughter would *definitely* attract attention, and enquiries/curiosity/'can I have a look?' would be rather difficult to handle ...
Ika was absolutely right, the level of *amazingly* creative and joyously graphic smut is impressive. But what's equally impressive, for me, is the seemingly effortless humour*, something that is actually harder to get write (having read some hysterically *un*funny stories before now). Angst is good, angst is great, but truly funny and truly Avonish one-liners are a gift, and they're thrown around throughout the zine like confetti, even - and soooo characteristically for My Darling - in the *midst* of the angst. It's terrific to have Blake and Avon arguing and insulting and at times perfectly *awful* to each other and still (for the most part) so clearly *like* each other (well, some things about each other, and not just the obvious ones).
As to the characters themselves - I was expecting something fairly good, since Pred and I do - I think - have fairly similar views of My Darlings. Both Avon and Blake are *great*; Blake is every bit as obstinate, obstreperous, hot-tempered, warm and generous as I see him, Avon as charming (when he *wants* to be), self-conflicted, mostly unabashedly selfish, just occasionally selfless (I also love the ongoing discussions/arguments he has with different parts of his own anatomy and the way he always loses ...:-)). Both are wonderfully devious when they want to be, blindingly honest when they have to. I also have a soft spot for Pred's Gan, patiently clearing up and doing the work while his tempestuous crewmates argue (Striking Attitudes).
My favourite is the longer, more serious 'Eight Inches to Man-Size' which has some serious angst, a lot of self-delusion from Avon, and *very* nice hurt-comfort, with Blake being the hurt one, as in ill, possible dying, and Avon finding that this messes with his barriers as badly as expected; also 'Fifteenth of Boozious', in which Blake is able to read Avon's thoughts (a scenario, one would think, for *serious* blood-on-the-floor tension), and Avon actually finds the plus-side of being able to tell Blake exactly what he thinks without saying a word ...
All the stories, both the cheerful (and sexy) romps and the more serious (but still sexy) character pieces, work a treat for me. Sorry if the lack of criticism makes for a light-weight review, but there it is ...
These reviews are all written, of course, with a more than usual eye on the fact that the author will likely be reading them. That's why I wouldn't review if I didn't largely like...
Erogenous Zine The plot of almost all of these fics is that Avon thinks he is using Blake for sex (sex aka his massive cock) and then realises he's in love with him (this is also the plot of 'Groundhog Lay' and 'Living Doll')(and 'Endless Farce', if you really want to know). I pretty much approve of this plot (it commits hard to Blake being worth loving), so that's fine with me.
Predatrix is clearly an Avonstan of the highest order, but for all that she does what very few writers do and writes a really sexy, handsome, amusing, and clever Blake ... who also has a massive cock. I like this - the sexiness, that is. Even I get a bit weary of the cock stuff. Another thing she does that few others do is write a Jenna who is interested in Blake, but gets over it with a few cool, yet cutting comments. I also like this. Obviously she also writes a very funny Liberator, where people get along underneath the insults - this, too, I like.
In general, I really enjoy 'Erogenous Zine', although it doesn't contain any of my particular favourites.
"Striking Attitudes: Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance, Prudence": This is the weakest in the zine, but also funny (plus - 'putting on a play' is the kind of trope I am keen on). For this fic to work you have to assume that both B and A are sex maniacs (which is clearly registered as the conceit you need to bear in mind by author's notes, etc, rather than presented as realistic characterisation) and that they needed no relationship negotiation at all before beginning to have sex, but it's 8 pages mostly about costumes and lols. So - that's fine.
"Xmas Present": Playscript (a format few have experimented with). I like this a lot despite it being really short - I particularly like that Vila helped tie Avon up but had to close his eyes while doing it so he wasn't horrified.
"Wish This Ring": Silly premise, but I really like this one (again, a fun Jenna - who ends up with Gan, one of my secret weird pairings). The fairy has a lot to give - three wishes aren't enough! One round of weird sex toys isn't enough! Let's exploit this conceit for everything it can give! (Why wouldn't you?) Nice avoidance of the major events of the series due to talking things out (one of my favourite tricks), and Avon realises he's into Blake properly quite early on - which I also like.
"Fifteenth of Boozious" (10 pp): This fic ambles all over the place, including Christmas (sort of) again! And also Valentine's Day. It also includes Blake getting sick (which we see again in the next fic) so Avon can face his feelings through the power of H/C - and also telepathy (Blake can hear Avon's thoughts!) Predatrix never saw a trope she didn't like - again, I sympathise. Indeed, it's not at all hard to see the influence of these and other Predatrix fics on the stuff I've written for this fandom.
That said, I feel like again a tightening of themes and plot elements would have helped this particular fic - the Christmas stuff at the beginning and the Valentine's stuff at the end aren't really necessary. Additionally, I probably would have split these two fics (15th and 8in) up in terms of zine placement, rather than put them side by side. It makes it difficult to distinguish what happened in which.
"Eight Inches to Man-Size" (28 pp): Avon tries to keep himself aloof from Blake as he wants to remain faithful to Anna - this fails repeatedly, and causes Avon to be a jerk. Various occasions conspire to throw them together (near death prison experience? Back massage? Sharing a bed? Y/Y), and Blake is irritated as a result. V nice idea, and well executed. I also really enjoy the dodgy B masturbation scene where A pretends to be asleep and uninterested (good sex-talk too - we get more of that in the next zine, but it's something I definitely approve of: Blake sex-talk. Avon generally doesn't talk so much in sex, but he isn't the rebel-leader/orator with the nice voice). Not quite so sure about the hallucinating fake-university years stuff, but it puts a different spin on the traditional H/C scenario. This is the fic that I think works the best in EZ, although I also like...
"Addiction" (27 pp): Generally I don't like fics that are about the kink, rather than the people, but a) this isn't - it's just another way of saying Avon thinks he wants sex but actually wants Blake etc and b) Avon does wear a lot of leather. So I think hypothosising that he could be a leather fetishist is a fairly reasonable deduction. Blake as voyeur is less immediately obvious, but i like it as a fetish, so... that's OK too. Also c) both characters are obsessive, and I'm pretty sure that as well as being about kinky sex, this fic is also a metaphor. Many many nice lines, obviously, but perhaps one that most sums up this collection:
"Only you, Avon," Blake said, "would regard being in love as some form of mental problem."
This time I like the gift-giving as it's directly involved with the plot, and also does something interesting in that Avon gets upset when he gets the gift. As you'll see from the previous comments, while I do like sprawling fics as well, for this length I generally like them to be tightly focused - this is, around Avon's underwear ;) Also - B and A give each other more presents at the end! This latter gift-giving involves Blake doing some spiffy physics, and Avon doing some spiffy computer stuff. Hm, perhaps after all I like this fic best - though Eight Inches does have a lot of awesome tropes.In this fic for once Avon doesn't know that he likes to bottom... Blake soon sets him right there (that's something I miss, btw, in these fics full of sex. There's one Avon-tops-Blake variation in 'Endless Farce', and an off-screen mention that it happens in this one, but that's about it. If you like Blake topping Avon, though, are you in for a treat with these fics - or indeed, many treats).