Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
Sex and LoveSex and Love
By: I. J. Miller
Fanny Press
ISBN: 1603814965
July 2011

Reviewed By: 'Nathan Burgoine

I’m going to let the cat out of the bag right off and say that, with Sex and Love, I.J. Miller has written some of the best literary erotica I’ve yet to come across.

For me, character and narrative are king (and queen) of my enjoyment of a short story. In Miller’s collection, almost every story has a captivating character (or two) and a narrative that takes you on a journey you look forward to completing. Opening with “Lonely Man” – where the action begins with a man in bed with a woman who has a knife at the ready – Miller immediately captures your attention, and then weaves a series of stories that move throughout the gamut of poignancy, sadness, strength, tenderness, and self-realization. The tales are very different from one another, though they loosely link with the title of the collection; these are all tales of men or women somehow struggling with love, sex, or the strange gray area between the two.

As in any collection, there are standouts and stories that grab you more or less than others. Indeed, the opening tale, “Lonely Man” left me impressed with Miller’s writing style, but not so sold on the story itself – but luckily the next story up to the plate blew me away. “Cell” – narrated by a straight woman out with a friend is hit on by another woman who leaves her cell phone in the narrator’s purse – has a wonderful set up, a strong follow-through, and then twists “just so” at the end to leave you moved.

“The Professor and the Biker Chick” is another strong tale, where the main character – a self-professed boring writing professor – is drawn into an attraction of a woman in his class for the first time. This story had my favourite “twist” of all the stories, and left me with a real smirk on my face at the clever move.

“Single Woman,” a much longer story that almost tipped me into feeling I was reading a novella, was phenomenal. In it, a woman and her friend go out to celebrate their win-win: one is pregnant, the other (our heroine) has just turned thirty and has become engaged. A drunken egging-on leads the newly engaged woman to have a fling with a handsome man the two spy – and the course on which this leads her is superb. These characters lived and breathed for me, and I adored Miller’s dedication to making the fallout realistic and yet still providing me with a denouement I could truly enjoy.

Other stories aren’t as impactful, but still please. “Tennis Pro” is a cuter tale with such a stereotypical set-up that you’re not sure it’s possible to make the story fresh, but Miller breathes enough character into the tale that you don’t mind. “Cyberslut” takes a few turns and twists before giving you an abrupt halt. “Husband and Wife” and “The Night of the Wedding” are two stories that deal with the endurance of love – and the potential fading of sex – and how the two intersect in a couple.

I should also take a moment to mention that the erotic in this literary erotica is exactly that – Miller takes mostly average people and turns the eroticism up high (extra credit here for using these mostly typical people, though of course the perfect breast or the washboard abs do pop up from time to time). The steam is indeed steamy – but Miller weaves this within the wonderful narratives and characters I praised earlier.

Last in the collection is “Longing.” I fell in love with this story, which so delicately spins a compassionate tale told by a straight man who had a gay friend in his youth, and the sense of unfinished fulfilment that has hung in the mind of the narrator ever since. Their connection is beautiful and loving without feeling forced or unreal, and it is a superb place to end the collection, which walks the fine line between the two things which all these souls are trying to navigate: love and sex. Miller completely charmed me, and I look forward to more of his work.