The Catalyst - book by Mystic Rose Books - review by Michael Wiersing Sudau

The Catalyst

Book by Mystic Rose Books

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The Catalyst review

Reading "The Catalyst" I would think that every reader can find in the collection what he or she is looking for.
Published:
Rating by reviewer:
3
useful review
It is harder to define the moment when a certain author becomes a respected quality writer, than seems at first sight. Obviously, the listing of the current best-sellers gives you a clue of whom has achieved some momentous of stardom in the field of popular fiction. Translations into foreign languages are a sign that there is obviously a demand for a certain author’s ideas existing far away from his or her place of residence. So much as to mainstream popular fiction. However, with specialized literature of whatever content it may be, to accept the notion of popularity achieved by the man or woman behind it, is much more difficult when you are not part of the group of readers who have been following the scene closely. Popularity on the one hand, quality-seeking on the other. How can you trust the appraisal of someone’s achievements in specialized literature set out on the back cover of a book, when you have not yet read a single word by the author him or herself ?

At least this were my feelings when I read about Laura Antoniou, a writer I had never come across so far, and who was described by her publishers as "America’s premier sexual storyteller". This sounds pretty pretentious, and automatically one is intrigued by the opportunity to search out if such a promising reference can really live up to reality. Similarly, calling "The Catalyst" a book full of "passionate erotic tales", with "steamy scenarios coupled with insightful reflections", "a must have anthology", the potential buyer feels that the publishing house really needs to base its argument on very solid grounds, if it does not want to discredit itself in the eyes of the readers.

When it now comes down to the joys of actual reading, one is first of all surprised by the lengthy list of works included in the volume. Not least than 33 works, all signed by Laura Antoniou are an astonishing catalogue, all the more when on top of this you find an eight-chapter short novel included. Laid out on 300 pages, "The Catalyst and Other Works" is indeed a fair-trade arrangement conceived by the publishers, much fairer than first was apparent to the eye. The deal is like this: For your money Mystic Rose Books gives you the chance to read quite a comprehensive selection of works by their author, samples from here and there, allowing you to indulge yourself in the role of a literature critic. When, after reading this collection you are really disappointed with the Queens-born essayist and novelist, then you will possess enough arguments, reasons and material, to back up your dislike. You might then, indeed, be in the position of denouncing the advertising quoted above as utterly wrong. But I suppose that this is rather rarely the case.

Reading "The Catalyst" I would think that every reader can find in the collection what he or she is looking for. The great variety of stories and essays not only shows, that the author is well able to write for different purposes, that she is in a way multitalented, and knows her stuff in both writing about the reasons (if this is the right word) associated with bondage literature, and the creation of bondage fiction. As the author remarks herself, "Lesbians still write to me asking when I started to write 'straight' fiction. Straight people wonder why I’ve written so much 'gay stuff'. And of course, gay men turn pale when they find out I’ve written quite a bit for them as well." All to be find in "The Catalyst", where the author recalls a branding she received ("Note: I have three of them now. Considering a fourth."), the samurai tradition in an SM context, and wonders about "Grrrls, Women, and Goddesses".

I personally drew the most enjoyment from a contribution Laura Antoniou did to the University of Washington’s Center for Human Sexuality called "Writing my body; Glimpses of the Persona", where she describes her very own way into SM and bondage literature. In this account she repeatedly analyzes her own life in such an intimate, and sometimes brutal fashion – recalling her adolescence she notes, that "there were no sexual feelings without dreams of rape, suffering, beating, torture" – that it demands respect for her will to actually make her readers know who she is. Other essays in this field in the book include "Defending pornography (for real this time)".

Whereas many other SM-writers still prefer a pseudonym and rather hide away from to much attention, one must give credit to Antoniou for standing up for her art, still considered by many on the margin. It would be great if the author in the future could venture even further into self-decodifying.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Comments
  • dvd all
  • Nashville
    "Not least than 33 works" .. that's an absolute lot of reading!
  • SiNn
    sounds liek a lot of great reading
  • M121212
    Thank you for the review!
  • Mihoshi4301
    Thanks for the review.
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