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Off Limits: Tales of Alien Sex Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her introduction to this volume, master anthologist Datlow (Blood is Not Enough) observes that science fiction "has traditionally been a bit hesitant about dealing with sexual and gender themes," but this collection of 20 short stories gives it a try and often succeeds in evoking the "alienness" of all sexual relationships. The best stories rely not upon interstellar orgies or futuristic sex toys but upon the sexual foibles of human beings on 20th-century Earth. "Oral," by Richard Christian Matheson, concerns a man who interacts with the physical world only through somebody else's description, and the woman who tries to provide that description. Matheson takes everyday, neutral objects like wine glasses and sea shells and infuses them with a sensuality that makes them seem alien and fantastic. In Bruce McAllister's present-day "Captain China," a young boy forced into prostitution faces a bleak reality that has timely and disturbing overtones. Of the more traditional SF stories, Neil Gaiman's darkly humorous poem/screenplay, "Eaten," features a PI whose search for a missing woman leads him literally to hell, while Simon Ings's "Grand Prix" is an action-filled account of a man who can neurally link himself to his race car. A few stories lose themselves in an attempt to be different?like "Sextraterrestrials," an eccentric but boring record of an E-mail poetry competition between Joe Haldeman and Jane Yolen. Overall, however, this is provocative reading not just for SF fans but for all those who sometimes feel that the opposite sex is just too strange to be from the same planet.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From Susan Wade's hypnotic tale of a tattoo artist's strangest client ("The Tattooist") to Bruce McAllister's disturbing story of a captive child's dream of freedom ("Captain China"), the 18 selections (including four previously published titles) in this anthology explore the alien dimensions of exotic sexuality. Although only a few stories deal with interspecies relationships, each selection explores the boundaries of love's strange territories. Large libraries might want to take into account the work's explicit language before adding to their sf or short story collections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441004369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441004362
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,780,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ellen Datlow has done it once again -- assembling disparate tales, spanning decades of writing and a multitude of writing styles, into an anthology that is thematically cohesive and offers a bit of something for everyone. Anthologies are often difficult to review because of the diversity of voices, but if the reader approaches this collection as a buffet (from which one may pick and choose) rather than a 12 course meal, there will be more than one can consume at one sitting.
Classic stories by Robert Silverberg and Samuel R. Delany have been intermixed with more recent works by Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Elizabeth Hand, and 17 more of today's leading writers. Off Limits includes provocative tales of close encounters -- love, sex and life -- and plays with your perceptions of what is truly alien. One piece of advice: skip reading the Foreward by Silverberg and the Introduction by Datlow as they unfairly offer judgements of what the reader will find between the book covers and tainted my desire to read further. I found much more depth and content to contemplate than Datlow and Silverberg gave the author's credit for
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Peter O'connor on August 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The best stories in this collection are the short ones for the simple reason that they inflict less suffering on the reader than do the long ones. Seldom has a sequel fallen as far short of the standards set by its predecessor as does this anthology which is the follow up to the highly regarded Alien Sex. It contains 18 stories, 16 of which were new for this collection in 1996. The other four stories go back as far as the sixties. There are also two poems.
The dominant theme in this anthology is prostitution. Almost half of the stories deal with this topic in one form or another. By contrast, in the original anthology, there is a much greater variety of subject matter.
No more than half of the stories in here merit inclusion in an anthology and the others range from poor to utterly dreadful.
I can recommend Brian Stableford's "The House of Mourning" and Elizabeth Hand's "In the Month of Athyr" as standing out from the rest but of the other 18 pieces, I awarded more lower rankings than I have ever done for any other anthology that I have ever read.
If there is one way in which collection is like "Alien Sex" it is the fact that this is not a book of of erotic writing. I doubt that any reader will feel aroused by the content of the book. That is not a criticism, it's just that some of the write ups on the jacket are misleading.
If you like the general idea of a collection of stories about alien sex, you should buy "Alien Sex" from the same editor. That is a far better book.
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By SapphireSkies on January 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This anthology includes enough excellent stories to make it worth the read, if you like odd, dark tales as I do. Best among them for me were the satisfyingly weird and scary "The Tattooist" by Susan Wade, the twist on the world's oldest profession in Brian Stableford's "The House of Mourning," Mike O'Driscoll's tragic "The Future of Birds," and Elizabeth Hand's moving "The Month of Athyr." Several were too strange and unpleasant for my taste, and others just didn't work for me.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on August 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Basically what it says. Not too bad though, and definitely not 'porn style'.

This is designed to look at the differences, ways to relate, problems and surprises associated with relationships between different species of people, let alone different races.

Also, there are a couple of supernatural type tales to be found in this collection towards the end.

Off Limits : The Reality Trip - Robert Silverberg
Off Limits : The Tattooist - Susan Wade
Off Limits : Dolly Sdom - John Kaiine
Off Limits : The Lucifer of Blue - Sherry Coldsmith
Off Limits : The Queen of the Apocalypse - Scott Bradfield
Off Limits : Orl - Richard Christian Matheson
Off Limits : Grand Prix - Simon Ings
Off Limits : The House of Mourning - Brian Stableford
Off Limits : Ftish - Martha Soukup
Off Limits : Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland - Gwyneth Jones
Off Limits : The Future of Birds - Mike O'Driscoll
Off Limits : Captain China - Bruce McAllister
Off Limits : Background: The Dream - Lisa Tuttle
Off Limits : Aye and Gomorrah - Samuel R. Delany
Off Limits : Ursus Triad Later - Kathe Koja and Barry N. Malzberg
Off Limits : The Dream-Catcher - Joyce Carol Oates
Off Limits : His Angel - Roberta Lannes
Off Limits : In the Month of Athyr - Elizabeth Hand

Bags of skin trio.

3 out of 5

Mutant tackle tattoo empathy.

3.5 out of 5

Coin full.

3 out of 5

Spanish Civil girls and quartermaster's stores.

3 out of 5

Adultery hate.

1.5 out of 5

Feeling it up, explained.

3.5 out of 5

Formula Zero carjcking off.

4 out of 5

Addicted to professionals.
Read more ›
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