Carnal Machines

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Dildos and Corsets are a Girl's Best Friend

While I will not say this is a hardcore tour through the realms of sexy Steampunk, it does give a nice nod in that direction adding some spice to these erotic tales. If you are a fan of corsets, clock-work dildos and steam powered love machines, then this book will not disappoint.
Published:
Pros:
Written from male and female points of view
Hetero and Homosexual couplings
Cons:
Not all stories "Steampunk"
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review

Content / Style / Audience

"Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica" presents an anthology of 14 sexy and sensual stories centered around the ever growing genre of Steampunk. What is Steampunk you may be asking? Well if you have the time Wikipedia, as it often does, has lovely article that goes over the basics. In a nutshell though, the term Steampunk is generally used to represent a sub-genre of Science Fiction that focuses on an alternate Victorian era where steam power reigns supreme, airships rule the air and space, and often there is a magical element in the form of the occult and/or alchemy.

While some of the stories hold true to this genre, like the amazing opening story "Human Powered", the slightly sinister "Lair of the Red Countess" and the beautiful finale "Succubus", it does seem most stories just really use the idea of Steampunk as an excuse to write about corsets and mechanical dildos. While that is fine with me (who does not like corsets and dildos?) those who are more into the genre may find themselves annoyed with some of the stories included.

The average length of each story is 10 to 15 pages. This gives each story plenty of room to give you a side of story line and character development with your arousing sex scenes. All the stories are written well and are quite accessible. However, I did find myself a bit more contemplative after each story than I would after reading a short story about down and dirty sex. Because of this I liked reading the book before bed, or as mental foreplay before a solo session. All in all I would not pick this book up as a quickie during lunch or on the go.

A theme that runs in many of the stories is the treatment of Hysteria. Oh, who does not love hysteria? Back when fainting and being weepy meant a trip to the doctor and a lovely pelvic massage! For being so prim, the Victorians were awfully preoccupied with sex. One of these stories actually involves the famed Mr. Watson and how he acquires an amazing mechanical dildo that helps him relieve many suffering and noble ladies of Britain. Would I call it Steampunk? No, not really. Would I call it hot, especially for fans of Mr. Watson? Oh yes!

One story features another famous literary figure, but I won't say who because it will blow the ending. This person appears in the story "The Perfect Girl" which I sadly say is just an awful story. Thankfully it is the only awful story in the whole anthology, but I mean, it is truly terrible. The story itself makes little sense, and while there are some arousing scenes, any positive feelings one may have held are completely shattered by the absurd and nonsensical ending. Since this story is the 6th one in, I was expecting another hot encounter involving satin and brass, but was horribly shocked at how not sexy it was. Read this tale with no expectations and perhaps you may not be disappointed.

This anthology provides great variety as well. Stories switch from being written from the female perspective and the male perspective. This book also features three stories that deal with same-sex couplings. Now two of those stories focus on lesbians, but I cannot tell you which. Both stories hinge on the mystery of who the lesbian couple is. However, the one story that focuses on two young, hot men studying to become engineers is wonderful. This story is titled "Infernal Machine" and it follows these two passionately in love men and their bit of a misadventure involving a mysterious steam powered chair, but their trouble is rewarded with mind blowing orgasms of the steam powered nature!

If you want something a bit kinkier there are tales that will deliver that as well. "Mutiny on the Danika Blue" features a young captain who has just taken control of a starship, but we soon learn he likes to be quite submissive in the bedroom. Another tale features a sentient machine that is called Succubus, and the story holds the same title. This massive machine has the uncanny ability to discover what you most desire. The Succubus lives at the top of a brothel, and all new clients must first have a meeting with this mysterious machine. During this story we meet the Succubus as she waits for a new client.

So no matter your taste or preference there is bound to be at least one story that trips your trigger, but I am sure you will actually find several you will enjoy time and again.
    • Erotica
    • Fiction

Design

"Carnal Machines" is a standard soft cover trade paperback. The cover features a rather pale young woman wearing an elaborate pair of goggles and what seems to be a leather top. While there is a bit of under boob, I did not actually notice it until I was examining the cover quite closely. Other than the fact that the cover does say "Steampunk Erotica", it does appear towards the bottom of the cover, and all in all I don't think most people would notice.

Experience

This book had me at "Hello!" The first tale was so hot I had to go bother my husband, and when he said he was busy I quickly picked up the book and went for my toy drawer! While I may not re-read all of the stories in the book, I will be reading quite a few. I found most of the stories had characters that either greatly fascinated me or that I related to on some level. Combine that with some novel story lines and some really nice sex scenes involving complicated steam powered toys, and I am pleased as punch. Also, my desire for a corset went from passing interest to full-blown desire!
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This review was edited by
  • Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
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Comments
  • Kynky Kytty
    Kynky Kytty  
    I read this book too, and you brought up a few things I had noticed as well, although I didn't mind as much the focus on corsets and dildos. My favorite is still the Mutiny on the Danika Blue. Very interesting review.
  • Ivy Wilde
    Ivy Wilde  
    Thanks for the review. I, too, loved the first story.
  • Chris15461
    Chris15461  
    nice review
  • Blooddragon
    Blooddragon  
    TY
  • darkkitty
    darkkitty  
    nice review!
  • pinkzombie
    pinkzombie  
    Thank you for the review.
  • Aydios
    Aydios  
    thanks
  • SexyRayne
    SexyRayne  
    Fantastic review
  • limitless
    limitless  
    Thanks for the great review!
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