|My Darling Clementine by Elizabeth Stewart|
Nathaniel had been searching for a special fembot through many stores, but had found nothing that caught his interest. His last stop, O'Shea's Discount Bot Shoppe, is the worst of the lot. But he finds something unexpected there, in a closed off room in the back. He finds Clementine, a genius's last bot, his pet project. She is not as beautiful as other fembots, nor does she have the nicest body. But her face is sweet and her eyes seem to indicate intelligence. That's what catches Nathaniel's interest. He wants a companion, not a sexual toy. But when she is delivered naked, he can't help but think she is more gorgeous than the most expensive fembots. She is also different from any other bots; she can sing and seems to be able to express emotion.
My Darling Clementine was an intriguing tale, with sweet romance and sensual love scenes. The characters had an appeal that is hard to explain, perhaps because of a certain vulnerability to both of them. There was an incredibly surprising twist to this story, something I didn't remotely expect. I'm always pleased when a book manages to shock me with a plot twist! I can't even describe what a charming, emotional romance My Darling Clementine was.
Batteries Not Included by Cassie Walder
That night after their date, Miranda and Tim make love. She begins falling in love with him. But the next day, she realizes he is one of the bio-mechanoids. How can she love a machine? Even one that is so obviously alive?
I liked the story but was somewhat disappointed when Miranda began a sexual relationship with both Tim and Jean, the female bio-mechanoid. I'd been expecting a one-on-one romance. I was also surprised as Miranda never once let on that she was interested in a woman or a threesome until the mechanoids brought it up; it almost seemed as though it was thought up after the beginning of the story was written. I did enjoy the science-fiction of the novella more than anything. The writing was very well done, and one of the subplots kept my attention fixated on Ms. Walder's part of the anthology. I'd have loved for Batteries Not Included to have been longer, though there was nothing left hanging, as I did greatly wonder what happened after "The End."
Illicit Programming by Jennifer Dunne
The planet they are going to has no surface water and no breathable air. They are to find out if there's geothermal energy the mun colony could use. They'll also have to find fuel within the planet. Needless to say, it will take some doing to survive. They'll be given two androids to help on the mission. They get them from O'Shea's Discount Bot Shoppe. Sean, the male android, helps distract Maeko from being space sick, similar to sea sickness, by arousing her, something she'd never experienced before. She begins wondering what it would be like to have Koie do it. When they finally get to the barren planet, they learn about the planet itself and about sexual pleasure for the androids.
Illicit Programming was had a much more in-depth science-fiction plot than the other two novellas in the anthology. It had a smooth, flowing style and the characterization of Maeko and Koie was excellent and in tune with what one could expect from their kind of society. Had I not known otherwise, I'd have assumed the novella came from a sci-fi anthology, rather than a sci-fi romance anthology.
I didn't really consider this an erotic romance, though it did end in romance, but rather a science-fiction erotica. Although I almost never enjoy erotica, with the exception of two authors, I found I loved this story. For those readers who like erotica, this story had some of the hottest love scenes I've read in a long time!
Reviewer: Tara Black
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