Too often trans stories have been written from a cis perspective, with a cis reader in mind, addressing cis concerns about trans people rather than our own concerns. This is especially true when it comes to erotica: literature that deals necessarily with bodies, with our relationships to them, and with our relationships to one another.
Edited by Tobi Hill-Meyer and published by Instar Books, NERVE ENDINGS: THE NEW TRANS EROTIC features thirty writers connected to trans community telling thirty distinct stories about the erotic and our relationship to it.
I am so incredibly excited to talk about Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic with you today! You may have seen the Kickstarter – as of right now, the book is being printed, and soon many of the backers will be receiving their copies. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, so here we go! (Please note that I am cis, so everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt. Once a trans blogger posts their review, I will link it here.)
This anthology blew me away (no pun intended). There was such a delightful mixture of stories. There are stories about committed relationships, anonymous hookups, and innocent kisses. In many, there is no sex at all, but rather are more about the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings towards intimacy. However, this is primarily an erotic anthology – and many of these stories are hot. My personal favourites were Feelin Myself, Little, and A Clean Shirt. I will mention here that many of the more explicit stories involve BDSM, so if that’s really not your thing, consider yourself warned!
Also, this was so obviously written for trans readers, which was amazing. There are often mentions of realities like transmisogny and body dysphoria, but without making them the main focus. The authors never take the time out of their stories to explain what stage the protagonist is in their transition, unless it is relevant to the story, and I never got the impression that the trans characters were being exoticized or fetishized.
Later stories did tend to be science-fiction, which in some cases worked. In others, like The Sorcerer’s Summons and To Rebalance the Body, I felt like they should have been longer, because there wasn’t much time to world-build. The one story that I did not enjoy was Hookup Culture, because there were a couple of nasty comments about mental health and bisexuality that made me a bit uncomfortable. However, in every anthology, there will always be stories that I like more than others.
You can pre-order Nerve Endings at: http://instarbooks.com/books/nerve-endings.html. I wholeheartedly recommend this anthology if you’re looking for an inclusive and (very) sexy read.
NB: My choice for the trans MC in a romance for Diversity Bingo 2017