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Heat, Vol. 0
edited by Russell Davis
Foggy Window Books, 320 pages

Heat, Vol. 0
Foggy Windows Books
Beginning on Valentine's Day 2001, Foggy Windows Books will be releasing 36 original novels and six anthologies per year. These stories will possess a high level of erotic tension and passion, but with one key difference: the characters are married. Foggy Windows is a six imprint line: Frontline set during wartime, Overdrive featuring action-adventure, Flintlock featuring westerns, Undercover with mystery and suspense, Afterburner with science fiction, and Chimeras with fantasy and horror.

Foggy Windows Books

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

Heat, Vol. 1 is a collection of short tales, in a number of genres, which have graphic sexual relations between married heterosexual couples as a common thread, along with a smidgen of romance. The sex, while not always well-integrated into the story, is not flagrantly gratuitous. As for whether it is hard- or soft-core, erotic or pornographic, that all really depends on your point of view. I personally found the material fairly tame, though not unenjoyable; but then again, others, I'm sure, might find it a sure ticket to perdition.

With this sort of literature the question becomes: is the sex most important or the story plot? Or as an analogy, does one fast-forward through the conversations or through the sex scenes? Certainly there already exist well-written examples at either end of that spectrum. These stories tend to at least attempt to place the sex within a reasonable narrative context, though not always successfully. In Sean McIver's "Into the Underground Temple," for example, the amateur archaeologist couple spontaneously decide to make love among the treasure (and attendant rats) they have discovered below Mexico City. Similarly, in Stephen Mertz's "Firebase Tiger" a couple reunited in the compound of an American reconnaissance unit in Vietnam, are off having sex while in a war zone, with a homicidal soldier on the loose -- just not very credible.

Some of the best stories have the least sex in them. "Who Killed Natalie" by Billie Sue Mosiman is the story of a sheriff still obsessed, years after, with discovering his daughter's killer. Interestingly, one of most inventive and original stories was written by a college junior, Allison Lawless, whose "Surfacing" is a tale of high-tech spying and big business interests set in a science fiction context. If not particularly graphic, it is light-hearted and fun. Perhaps the best story, though it might disturb some, is Gary A. Braunbeck's "Only the Dead Can Whisper Love." It is a tale of love from beyond the grave, with one lover deliberately choking to death (I'll leave you to imagine on what) to rejoin her partner. This story certainly goes a lot farther than Edith Nesbit's "John Charrington's Wedding" ever did!

While there are some good pieces, part of the difficulty in assessing these stories is that most are either excerpts or episodes from upcoming novel-length works under the Foggy Windows Books imprint, and quite clearly not independent short stories. As such many do appear like episodes, without the narrative closure of a good short story. Notwithstanding this, the few tales mentioned above do suggest promising novel-length material with the added element of some spicy relationships.

Contents (alphabetically by author)

David Bischoff, "Galactic Emissaries"
Gary Braunbeck, "Only the Dead Can Whisper Love"
Lindsay Hart, "Shotgun Wedding"
Allison Lawless, "Surfacing"
Wendi Lee, "With Malice Towards None"
Sean McIver, "Into the Underground Temple"
Stephen Mertz, "Firebase Tiger"
Jonathan Morgan, "Baskets and Bandits"
Billie Sue Mosiman, "Who Killed Natalie"
Daniel Ransom, "A Lie for Love"
Colin Vincent, "Sand on the Beach"
Tim Waggoner, "Breathtaking"

Copyright © 2001 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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