Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.There are books that you read, books that you enjoy, and books that you experience. It's the difference between merely consuming the random assembly of dead letters on a page, and being consumed by the illusionary world they create. For the all-too-brief span of a single evening, One Good Turn was one of those books, sinking its teeth into me, holding me close, and refusing to let go until we both lay spent and empty upon the final page.
Bryce Calderwood is, quite simply, a true master of erotic horror. The imagination demonstrated here is astounding, but the quality of the writing is even better. It's a combination that makes for a deliciously deceptive read, with the writing itself almost too good for such weird, wild, wanton material. There's a passion to the storytelling that doesn't often make it through the interference of mainstream editors and publicists.
There are two narrative threads here, one dealing with supernatural monsters, and the other with human monstrosity. Ashima is a fascinating character, and one who embodies the very idea of rebirth and transformation. The greed and cruelty of a Saudi Arabian sex-slave ring transformed her the first time; the wealth and perversity of Japanese businessmen transformed her the second time; and the hunger and lust of Futanari* Vampires transformed her the final time. She is a complex woman, mentally and emotionally scarred from her childhood experiences, with the issues of power and control driving her in interesting ways. Her final transformation is not one that comes easily or instantly, and the way that supernatural seduction plays out is really the heart of the story.
This is a story that has its bloody, chilling, violent moments. As erotic and seductive as the vampires may be, Calderwood doesn't let us forget that they are monsters first - impossibly strong, bloodthirsty, dangerous creatures. Making them futanari vampires adds a whole new level of kink to their erotic aspect, however, and that's where the imagination of the story shines brightest. It's also where the theme of transformation gets a twist, in that the vampires looking to transform Ashima were themselves transformed into futanari by the doctor. Musette and Ashlyn's seduction of Ashima is breathtaking in its perversity, with acts that are as intoxicating as they are impossible, but the narrative strengths keep it from ever descending into mere literary porn.
If you have an open mind, a sense of erotic adventure, and an admiration for the beauty of imagination, then One Good Turn is worth checking out - and, if your first taste is to your liking, the full length novel Enthralled is already available, with sequel on the way later this year.
Published May 31st 2016 by Bryce Calderwood
* If you are unfamiliar with the term, futanari is a Japanese word meaning 'dual form', and it most commonly relates to women with both male and female sex organs. It's a mythological, imaginary third gender, only found in fiction.