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Sodomy! by Simon Sheppard   by Reviewed by T. R. Moss

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Nobody writes erotica like OutPersonal's Simon Sheppard does. No one. "Sodomy!", his third and newest collection of erotica, sounds like a musical. Sheppard thinks of settings and characters that are truly unique, and this collection includes plenty of hot sex, thoughtful writing and raw sex despite the risk. Yes, there are pirates, wrestlers, the leatherman from the Village People, frat boys, writers, imposter writers, real leathermen, hippies, beatniks, marines, and a Cuban revolutionary.

Simon Sheppard's characters live on the edge, and many of them bareback, but they are always risk-aware. Many of the stories have death and mortality as the quiet, pulsing background.

This isn't soft-focus romantic erotica. Simon Sheppard writes full-on smut, but he makes you think along the way to the orgasm.

This collection has everything: an erotic Sodom and Gomorrah setting with a nude, pagan homoerotic orgy in "Salt;" a sweaty pro wrestler hooking up backstage with his devoted fanboy in "Brutes;" and a leatherman claiming to be JT LeRoy who tops and humiliate the freelance writer narrator in "I Was JT LeRoy's Buttboy." The JT LeRoy impersonator (or it is really JT?) gets the line, "That's it, you fucking freelance writer, you suck that...notorious cock." After the epic drama of the JT LeRoy scandal, this story provides some serious tension relief.

Along the way, he references Nabokov's Lolita in "A Retired Writer in the Sun;" creates revolutionary, historical porn in "Marcos y Che;" pens a transcendent ode to gay beatnik poets in "Daddy-O;" writes a great, cynical parody in "Brokeback Mountain;" and has a tense, frantic, hot encounter between a tattooed marine on shore leave and a civilian during WW II in the moving "The Hula-hula Girl." In "Break on Through," an "overeducated hippie" gets stoned with his frat jock crush and thoroughly tops him while Jim Morrison is on the record player. Add to that the hilarious, grotesque and heartbreaking take on the homoerotic pirate genre as dreamed by a man dying of AIDS in "A Pirate's Life for Me" and the collection is a great, varied mix of edgy stories.

There's a little BDSM too. Solo rope play features in "The Man Who Tied Himself Up" and the Village People leatherman makes a visit to an AIDS patient in "The Village Person."

Sheppard explores the reasons behind risky sex, as well as indulging in the raw details, in "Barebacking" and "The Suburban Boy," which offer raw sex along with the very real possibility of HIV transmission. "About Gordon" features an older man who meets a supposedly 18-year-old teenager online and seduces him over the phone, until their hot Daddy/boy scene is so perverted that it scares off the older guy.

"Three Places in New England" features three encounters from a top with a fetish for cutting off dirty underwear (both boxers and briefs), but returns to his partner, who tries to rouse his interest with neon nylon thongs. It's a trademark of Sheppard's stories to be just twisted enough to leave you both turned on and a little queasy, just a bit uncomfortable. It's refreshing and makes each story new and different.

History is turned on its ear in "Marcos y Che", an imagined encounter between the Cuban revolutionary, Che Guevera, and the masked Mexican subcomandante, Marco. Two young men, Jakov and Simcha, board a ship to America at the turn of the century to sail to America in "The New World," and discover each other below decks. It takes a lot of writerly chutzpah to write historically accurate smut about the immigrant voyage to America of two German Jews. Take that, American Tail!

This anthology has a bit of everything, and all of it creative and amusing. It'd make a heck of a musical.