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Tales from the Sexual Underground Paperback – March 3, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: MLR Press (March 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608201406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608201402
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,388,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rick R. Reed does it again. I admit I'm biased toward his work, but still, for me, this collection was satisfying on a number of levels.

Reader be warned, this is not a collection entirely of fiction. It is a mix of short stories and essays, and some of the subject matter isn't for the faint of heart. It isn't for someone looking for a m/m "romance" story. It is, however, well-worth the time and money spent reading it, and I imagine I'll be revisiting it again in the future.

Some of the stories were laugh-out-loud, beverage-snorting funny. Some were so creepy and disturbing I still get the willies when I think about them. He bounces around the spectrum from horror to hysterical and back again, and the truth is some of the stories are all the more disturbing because they could be true, even if fiction. That fragment of reality that pulls you in and suspends your disbelief and tells you yes, this could happen.

What Reed does best in the fictional stories is lays out (sometimes literally, haha) characters you can absolutely visualize. No cardboard stereotypes, no fake dialog. You can picture these as friends and family and co-workers. People you think you know but truly don't, anymore than they really know you. The short stories are tight (like some of the body parts mentioned...) and sometimes drag you kicking and screaming to the ending you wish wasn't going to happen, but still enjoy all the same. I prefer writers who are selectively sparse with their prose, who know when to paint with delicate brush strokes with loving details, and when to break out the Sharpie Marker to sketch the way, and Reed invariably delivers that, to this reader, with perfection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I viewed this product on and off since last August, and finally purchased a copy. After receiving it and reading through, I must pronounce myself disappointed with it. Many of the stories are well-written and told well, but there are a number of them without a proper ending, some that aren't stories at all (obviously direct from the magazine in which they first appeared), and some that are just plain dull. At least a couple of 'how-to' stories are included.

The stories range from comedic to tragic; from horrifying to ambiguous. None of them are what I consider 'bad', but more was expected, both in detail and content. Some of these stories I would not consider to be "sexual underground" - they are average and more commonplace than anything. I certainly don't care about the uneventful travelogues, or interviews with porn stars, and these, perhaps, should not have been included.

If you're looking for new ways to play with your partner, this book is not for you. If you don't mind occasional gore or the occasional meaningless tale, then you might enjoy this book. The biggest downside is that I can't find a replay value to the book - who knows if I'll ever read its stories a second time?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Reed is best known for his work in horror.
However, his skill at storytelling, his eye for for details, and his ability to draw us in to characters we may never meet, but might possibly live down the street, blossoms and excels within this book.
This collection of stories can be a difficult read for those who prefer to believe life is vanilla. Mr. Reed's masterful prose opens the reader's mind to some harsh and, yes, some beautiful views of the world and people around us.
Buy this book, enjoy... and learn.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Tales From The Sexual Underground: Fact, Fiction and Stranger Than Fiction" by Rick R. Reed is a daring and provocative collection of 43 short non-fiction essays and fictional stories that explore the fringe of gay male sex - "fetishes, porn, misdirected affection, misguided objects of affection, polymorphous perversion or just plain perversion." Both the title of the book and much of its substance are borne of a weekly column Mr. Reed wrote for a Chicago entertainment magazine called Nightspots. These non-fiction essays are complemented by the author's favorite fictional dirty stories and the collection represents some of Mr. Reed's best writing to date.

The essays and stories themselves are grouped thematically exploring such themes as the power of sexual fantasies and solitary pursuits, sadism and masochism, various taboos, promiscuity and sexual thrill seeking at any and all costs. In addition to interviews with rent boys, "cum" sluts and gay porn stars like Jeff Stryker and Dawson, Mr. Reed also provides witty "how to" pointers on, among others, rimming, bondage toys and the hosting of an orgy. He also provides insightful commentary on a wide variety of issues pertaining to gay sex and sexual culture, including, on the politics and etiquette of cyber-dating and hook-ups, infidelity and monogamy, drug use, the gay porn industry and the truths and myths about being a slut.

All of the stories are extremely well written and Mr. Reed alternates perspectives between the first and third person in his fictional accounts. The author also provides a brief introduction for each story that cleverly hints at its subject matter but doesn't reveal a thing.
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