by Jen Harker, horror (2013)
Dominant Other Press, $6.99, ISBN N/A

Slenderotica has 42 pages, of which only 34 pages touch on the story. That makes the $6.99 cover price steep indeed to me, until I realize that this one is actually quite niche. It operates on the same reason why pornography could be expensive before the explosion of free and pirated pornography on the Web - if your tastes fall under the Rule 34 umbrella, you may be willing to pay more for your preferred choice of titillation.

Jen Harker is selling, through Slenderotica, titillation by tentacles. It's more in flavor of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu's Slime-soaked Lust Festival than Hentai Love Forever, so I suppose $6.99 may be a fair price to pay for this very slim story if all the free translated-to-English Japanese tentacle comics available not-so-legally online are not your thing.

If you have been here long enough, you will know that I have nothing against pornography. In fact, I picked this one up because of the tentacles. I don't find them sexy one bit, but I'm always fascinated by the dark and disturbing imagery that goes with the territory. If done right, the whole thing can be wonderfully gruesome and disgusting. Oh, don't look at me like that. Card-carrying Clive Barker fan here.

In this one, we have Gerald, an investigative reporter who has made a name for himself after a series of occult-related exposes in his column, and his intern Marla, who'd rather cover sports and she's in this gig only for the credit. They are investigating the urban legend of the Slender Man in a small town. The Slender Man is more than happy to be found, of course, and hello, tentacles.

Slenderotica is told in three parts - In His Slender Embrace, How Slender His Tentacles, and Such A Slender Caress. Each part is also sold as separate installments, although they do not stand alone at all. Then again, the story is so short and it ends so abruptly that I don't know whether it matters that the stories stand alone well or not.

The whole thing starts out fine. There's creepy atmosphere, some humor, but things go downhill after the first tentacle says hello. The author churns out a few perfunctory sex scenes and then abruptly ends the whole thing, leaving me to wonder what just happened. I have no idea what or who the Slender Man is, why he is doing what he did, or even why I am reading the whole thing. It's as if the author looked at the clock while writing this story, realized that she was late for the train or something, and then ended the whole thing so that she could be on her way.

Buy this only if the mere presence of tentacle sex is enough to make you so very happy. Otherwise, you may end up like me, wishing that I'd spent $6.99 on something - anything - that isn't this short and pointless.

Rating: 40

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