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No Safewords: A Marketplace Fan Anthology (The Marketplace Series) Paperback – March 10, 2015
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Table of contents:
*** A Thousand Things Before Breakfast by Marie Casey Stevens
***** The First by D. Alexandria
**** If You Try Sometime by D. L. King
***** Her Owner's Voice by Leigh Ann Hildebrand
***** Hiding in Plain Sex by Sassafras Lowrey
***** Delirious Moonlight, 1916: Mr. Sloan's Boy by Anna Watson
***** Pearls in the Deep Blue Sea by Jamie Thorsen
***** Coals for the New Castle by Marie Casey Stevens
***** Getting Real by S.M. Li O
***** Promise Me! by Elizabeth Schechter
The last longest short story made me think of the end of John Preston's novel, Mr Benson. This is a part that his publisher had asked him to lengthen a little his novel, whose length did not meet the criteria of the time. The short story here--as the last part of Preston's book--is about an abduction by Arab slavers. ;)
I noted above the number of stars for each short story. There are some faults in a few stories, reason for the withdrawal of a half-star (4.5). But I rounded it to 5 stars because I like too much everything about the Marketplace.
Of that eight I personally found Leigh Ann Hildebrand's "Her Owner's Voice" to be the most entertaining but "The First" from D. Alexandria was the most thought-provoking. Don't let the title of HIldebrand's tale fool you, this is about a dominant woman who shatters several stereotypes. Alexandria's work shatters our educated understanding of sex, race, and power. Both should leave you thinking as much as they turn you on.
Marie Casey Stevens has two works in this collection but I only liked the first, a speech that mirrors several I have had to sit through myself in "A Thousand Things Before Breakfast." Stevens attempt to tell a complex narrative faltered for me in "Coals for New Castle" where I found myself confused by what exactly was going on and how exactly it fit into the Marketplace at all. Of course a similar claim could be made about Anna Watson's "Delirious Moonlight, 1916: Mr. Sloan's Boy" where the the organization is never specified yet seems to reflect a possible time where such an organization might not always be at the same level of "consensual" as the late 20th and early 21st universe is.
Four of the rest of the stories by D.L. King, Sassafras Lowrey, Jamie Thorsen, and Elizabeth Schechter in order of their appearance in the book, seem firmly placed in the "probable and likely" by fitting neatly into the world of the Marketplace. Even though they deal with a wide range of orientations and situations for each of the slaves and owners each seemed to work in what Antoniou has told us about her universe during the course of five novels. Ironically "Getting Real" by S.M. Li felt the least realistic to me not simply because of nature of the "relationship" between owner and slave but also it just felt off in comparison to the Marketplace world even the harsher Asian part of the organization shown to us in "The Reunion."
I'm sure both of the stories I didn't find outstanding have their fans; clearly Antoniou loved them enough to include them. For me they just fell a bit short of the rest of the anthology's visions.
They were true to the world they sprang from, and joys of their own. I would recommend it to anyone who has read The Marketplace series. If you haven't read the whole series that is ok, but at least one book to have the best idea of the world the stories are set in would be best in my opinion.
This book is engaging, with a wide variety of stories, all set in the Marketplace world. All of the stories are well written, and have well developed characters and complex plots. These stories are, as I thought, the cream of the crop!
I highly recommend this book!