The Full Ride: Bottom Boys Get Play – Gavin Atlas (Lethe Press)

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Sometimes running this blog is such a no-brainer. I get to beat the drum for my favorite authors and promulgate…well, smut. That’s right, smut. I love it, and I don’t know many gay men who don’t. If they deny it, look under their mattresses. Those bitches lie. For all the non-sexual M/M romances, spec fic, YA, New Adult, and literary fiction (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those), sometimes you just have to let the written word carry your libido away. And no one does this better than Gavin Atlas, the bottom’s bottom. His latest collection, The Full Ride, only adds to his reputation.

Full disclosure: I’ve published two of these stories in anthologies I’ve edited. “Il Circo Dei Fiori” appears in Tented: Gay Erotic Tales from Under the Big Top, and “Engine of Repression” appears in Riding the Rails: Locomotive Lust and Carnal Cabooses, and I’ll go ahead and say that “Engine of Repression” is one of my favorite stories of all time. Nowhere else will you find a closer glimpse into Atlas’s mind–trains, injection of rape pellets, and a dream about pirates all conspire to form one of the wittiest, strangest, and oddly erotic pieces I’ve ever read. And the recent public discussion of rape culture gives this an added political dimension it didn’t have when I first published it. It’s no coincidence this piece ends the book. There’s nowhere else for it to be, because nothing else can follow it.

Getting to the end, however, is a treat in itself. One might assume a book about nothing but bottom boy stories might seem rather one-note after a while, and this might have some merit were we not talking about Gavin Atlas, here. His situations are brilliantly creative and his erotic follow-through never less than perfect. In particular, I loved the bottom who had to fuck his way through all the casinos in Las Vegas (alphabetically) to win a casino of his own from a rich man in “Three-Way at the Western,” and the chocolatier who shows his love for the bottom in “Fair Trade” by creating a special candy bar especially for his boy. “And Brawley Threads the Needle” explores rough, angry sex and championship tennis, while the narrator driving naked in “Tanner’s Tuck-In Service” provides a great community service by relieving small-town men who can’t sleep until they get a little something.

But really, anywhere you plop yourself down in The Full Ride, you’re bound to find your jaw dropping at the variety Atlas is capable of. It’s one-handed reading at it’s finest. Or maybe you should just get the audiobook and use both of them.

© 2014 Jerry L. Wheeler




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