Rosen, Rob, editor. “Lust in Time”, MLR Press, 2013.
Lust and Love Through Time
Rob Rosen brings us a collection of short stories about love and lust over the course of history. It covers from Ancient Israel in 1000 BCE through 1969 and there are sixteen stories that capture the periods of time in which they are set. The stories do not carry titles but they are named for the year in which they take place and each story is about m/m love. Here are brief synopses of the stories in no particular order.
“1000 BC” by CC Williams looks at the story of David and Goliath min which David kills the giant Goliath to show his love for Jonathan and save his life.
“496 BC” by Kayla Jameth is the story of Galen, a freed-slave who has lived with his Prince, Alexios for more than half of his years and they have been lovers for a short time. Galen is jealous of the attention that Lykos, Alexios’ mentor pays to him but he also knows that he cannot give Alexios what he can get from Lykos.
“27 AD” by Tilly Hunter is the story of Lucius, a Roman centurion who along with his soldiers has been defeated in battle by barbarians. He is tired of war and submits to Finian, preferring not to die. He becomes submissive and he tells Finian all he needs to know to defeat the Romans. This is a somewhat kinky look at ancient times. Lucius becomes subservient to Finian, his arch enemy. However, he gives in with a sort of smile and enjoys the sex as Finian sexually uses and abuses him.
“130 AD” by Julian Siminski tells of eleven year old Antonious who has been chosen to be a page in the court of the emperor, Hadrian Augustus. He becomes Hadrian’s lover but as he matures into adulthood, he understands that citizen will not accept his relationship with the emperor and it could cause serious problems and he makes the ultimate and necessary sacrifice for Hadrian.
“794 AD” by Stevie Woods takes us to England where Aland and Garrick, best friends are called before Lord Leander in order to defend their country against invading Norsemen. They defeat the enemy and take a little time to enjoy each other.
“1066 AD” takes us to Norway as Jeff Mann introduces us to Thorir and Eirick, Viking warriors who are forbidden to love each other and put themselves at great risk which could involve death. As they were splitting the spoils of battle Eirick is shot and dies in Thorir’s arms. Thorir then goes to the king after burying his lover. He wants to die an honorable death so that he can join Eirick in Valhalla.
“1576 AD” by Kenzie Matthews is set in Renaissance Italy during the time the Black Plague ravaged the country and Jews were both reviled and feared. Cesare, a nobleman, becomes angry with Tuviya and accuses him of stealing money from his family. Tuviya, while Jewish, comes from the aristocratic Montefiore family who has been serving the Barbarigo family for years as accountants and attorneys. It seemed that Italians wanted to blame the plague on the Jews and Cesare Barbarigo uses the opportunity to blackmail Tuviya Montefiore when money was missing from his family’s accounts. This was how he could get the young Jew to submit to having sex with him.
“1822 AD” by James Thorpby is the story of Charles McCloud, King George’s physician. He has been working very, very hard to keep the king healthy even though he is tremendously overweight. The job has all kinds of perks but the one he likes the most means that the king will have to go away so that Charles can enjoy the young, good-looking servant Mosby.
“1865 AD” and the American Civil War is the subject of K. Vale’s story. Ben lost his hand fighting for the Union. He and Ammon, his best friend and lover, have been secret about their lives together as they are afraid of discovery and the war. The story is bittersweet set against the backdrop of war. The two men struggle to fight and stay alive as the Civil War envelops the country.
“1881 AD” by Michael Roberts is a look at time travel. Eric invented a time machine and uses it to go back and forth in time to meet people from the past, seduce them and send them back. Things change, however, when he meets Billy the Kid.
“1889 AD” by Salome Wild is about a young Russian Jew who flees from the czar’s army and comes to America. Here he meets a young man who feels that the United States should fulfill its promises and our émigré is fascinated by this man. The two men are soon lovers and the legacy of the Jewish family is lost forever.
“1890 AD” by Steve Rudd is about Shem, a young man who takes a job cooking for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and there meets Wayne Smithson, the guy who takes care of the horses. He soon realizes that the west is still wild.
“1909 AD” by Barry Brennessel is about Jesse Ostermann who after dropping his parents off at the train station to go to the inauguration of President Taft comes home to find his friend Newton Brabinger waiting for him outside of his home. The two have not seen each other in two years but they make up for that very quickly and being stranded by a snowstorm made it that much easier.
“1916 AD” by Richard May takes place in France during World War I. Jack Simmons and his men have been fighting and Jack is over it all. He is tired of war and tired of death. He goes to England on furlough and meets Gerald Higgins and the two men get together and ignore the regulation keeping them apart because one is an officer. But it was all just momentary and the war sees to that.
It seems like a long time but we finally get to modern times.
“1957 AD” by Landon Dixon is about a private eye who is hired by a television executive to find out if a game show on a competing network is rigged. The detective sleeps with whomever he has to get what he needs but he gets much more including a trip to Hollywood and a job as a game show host.
“1969” by editor Rob Rosen is set at the Woodstock Music Festival where Steven and his friends have come. He meets Glenn and they begin my enjoying the music and some good grass but then move on to more intimate things. Somehow they lost each other in the crowd but some forty years later when Steven comes back to the tree where they marked their names, he finds Glenn’s phone number and they come together again.
There is something for everyone here and this is a fine collection about love and lust over the ages.