Remember that not all the stories in the list will be of a kind I would normally recommend on here, so read with caution - and enjoy! Here is the link to the full list.
I'm going to review two stories which I can whole-heartedly recommend - one of them being my own and the other by Hypoxia.
I had wanted to read Hypoxia's stories for quite a while, however being short of time and since most of them are in categories I don't normally look at (like Incest), I hadn't got round to them. When I saw he was planning a botanical tale for Valentine's and looking for an editor, I was unable to resist. I was richly rewarded, as The Botanists: An Adventure is a wonderful jaunt through California and along the San Andreas Fault Line. Hypoxia has cleverly taken the real life romance of two early botanist pioneers: Townshend Stith Brandegee and Mary Katharine Layne Curran, and woven a charming tale from their passion for plants and for each other.
One fault (apart from the San Andreas one!) which I ought to mention, is the issue of racism. There is a comment complaining of 'racial slurs', but Hypoxia does warn us in his introduction that he is using historically accurate nomenclature. I feel he handles these reasonably well. What is more difficult is the character of Mary Curran's Chinese maid. I'm sure she is historically accurate as well, however I put it to Hypoxia that it's well-nigh impossible to represent a secondary character of this kind without doing so in a way that becomes offensive. Her dress, habit of giggling and general demeanour jar for today's readers. Hypoxia argued that he needs her for a sequel he has planned, so she had to stay.
Hypoxia's scholarly writing style is very well suited to this kind of story. I loved reading about the plants and other historical details. (One comment says: "I am flabbergasted at how believable I find your imagineering of this period and these people.") I also enjoyed how T.S. and M.K. took their love affair slowly. And I whole-heartedly admired the adroit way in which Hypoxia introduces Samuel Langhorne Clemens - yes, Mark Twain himself, and some historically accurate condoms into this perfect period piece! Excellent job.
|An Esther Howland valentine|
from Victoriana.com. She was
the first person to mass produce
cards for sale in North America.
My story is based not on real life characters but on a Victorian myth. I had read a while back that the vibrator was supposedly invented by Victorian doctors for the relief of hysteria among delicate young ladies of the era and I thought that was a spiffing plot device for an erotic story. It was far too good to throw away when I found out that in fact the Victorians weren't quite so enlightened about hysterical women, so I wrote the story anyway.
I'm very pleased to have had comments saying that I got the "formal, flowery tone" of young Victorian women's speech right. I worked hard at Maud as a character, imagining how it would feel to be so constantly repressed that you no longer dare to admit what you would really like to do, even when it's the most natural thing in the world. Of course, that sort of thing doesn't happen nowadays ...?
I had a couple of fun period pictures which I also put into Maud Comes for Valentine.