This book was a challenge, to say the least. I try to assess erotica according to how successfully it would appeal to its intended readership, but The Raptures of Time is such a tangle of genres that it was hard to get a handle on just who that readership might be. The science fictional element of a time loop with some vague connection to long-gone aliens doesn’t have enough consistency for serious science fiction fans, and those whose main interest is gay anal sex may appreciate the variations made possible in an alternate world, but get impatient with trying to follow the twists and turns and gaps in the plot.
Still, the book has a certain elusive charm to it, especially in the earlier parts, and eventually it dawned on me that the right mindset for appreciating it is very similar to the suspension of disbelief that makes (or made—does anyone read Edgar Rice Burroughs these days?) The Land That Time Forgot a fun read. Don’t try to make sense of it; just go with the flow (and, in this case, the occasional blow.) So what if a vicious predator in a hundred-and-thirty degree jungle setting has white fur? Why fur? And why on earth white? Never mind. Just tap into your inner adolescent and enjoy the ride, and be happy that these days you can get fantasies of endless buttbanging and addictive semen and rectal orgasms along with your adventure story.
The world-building is based around gay sex being the central focus of the various cultures encountered, often as a type of religious ritual. The first couple of tribes encountered are described in detail with some plausibility; male-on-male (and male-in-male) sex makes sense as a means of limiting population in a hunter-gatherer society where nature supplies enough food for limited numbers, and there’s no need for agricultural laborers. But as the book goes on, there seems to be less and less attempt to make sense of the world, and in the scenes set in the future, the major difference depicted is just the great advance in underpants technology.
As far as the sex scenes go, you do certainly get plenty of buttbanging for your buck. You get creativity too, to the point where you might wish the author weren’t trying quite so hard. A reader whose blood has been diverted from the brain by the exceedingly (and sometimes impossibly) hot sex may well not care what happens in the intervals in between, but as the story goes from culture to culture in this alternate world (or worlds) it gets more and more likely that some of the details will exceed your squick-out tolerance.
My favorite aspects of the book involved the occasional sly commentary on politics and religion. The use of “Raptures” in the title (and frequently in the sex scenes) was clearly a dig at the current “Rapture” cult, and my one laugh-out-loud moment came when the main character wonders whether, if he ever gets home again, he’ll be able to register as a Republican. “After sucking cocks and taking them up my ass, I might have to register as a Democrat.”
All in all, if you think your horny inner adolescent would enjoy a science fictional adventure story filled to bursting with gay sex, you could do worse than reading The Raptures of Time. Just go with the sensuality and don’t try to make much sense of the plot.