Jolie du Pre (ed.), Swing!: Adventures in Swinging by America’s Top Erotica Writers (Logical Lust Publications, 2009)
Pretty simple premise here: it’s an anthology of stories about swinging. As with most anthologies, that means there’s a pretty wide variation in talent to be found between these covers. Mama always raised me to say nothing at all if you can’t be nice, and I usually ignore that, but here I am going to gloss over the truly awful pieces—the less said about them, the better—in order to concentrate on some of the better ones. A lot of authors approaching the subject from a lot of different ways, from TreSart Sioux’s new-kids-in-town finding kindred spirits in the proprietors of a local bookshop (and how can you go wrong there?) to Ashley Lister’s almost-romance about the Twenty Minute Rule and how one of its most devoted followers finds herself tempted to break it when she finds herself in the hands of a truly talented partner. Then you’ve got the stories where there’s a veneer of silliness covering a truly tender heart (Claudia Moss’ ultra-snarky “One Weekend in Toronto” comes just a few stories after Amanda Earl’s “Ghost Swinger”); there are as many approaches to the material here as there are authors to write it.
I will kind of bend the rule I set myself above in mentioning Rick R. Reed’s “Initiation”. It’s only bending the rules, not breaking them, because this story, as all of Reed’s other fiction I’ve read, is very well-written indeed and I would have no problems recommending it in most circumstances. Problem is, it’s pretty specifically not a swinger story (our protagonist tells us right up front he’s breaking one of the cardinal rules, as his longtime partner doesn’t know he’s gotten involved in the online affair that has led him to the events covered in the story). So in other words, very good story…for a different anthology. Here it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Overall, I believe the good outweighs the bad here, and if you’re interested in the subject matter, either in theory or in practice, it’s worth picking up and having some fun with. Just be prepared for some consistency issues. ***