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Cyber Smut - anthology review


Cyber Smut is the second anthology published by Guts Publishing, and while the title may be slightly misleading, once again it includes a rich and exciting mix of diverse voices.


The stories and poems, if they have an overarching theme, tend to focus on the impact of technology on our lives rather than smut. However, the pieces are frequently irreverent and some of them are about sex so the "Cyber Smut" title isn't totally at odds with the collection. Just don't pick it up expecting erotica.


Poetry is not one of my specialist subjects and it's likely I misread some amazing poetry, so I'm going to ask you to make your own opinions on the poems in this collection. Instead, I'll concentrate on my strengths as a reader of fiction and non-fiction prose.


I enjoyed "Metrics" by Kristan X, which deals with the frequently frustrating necessity to compete against social media for attention within personal and romantic relationships. The story is succinct, funny and on point.


"Copper and Lead" by Lydia Luke was my favourite piece in the collection. The narrative is set out on the pages like a poem, but reads more like a short story. It's poignant, smart and full of love. Honestly, I was blown away and read it more than once. On the strength of this piece I will be hunting for more from Lydia Luke. It deals with class, gender and race in a very individual and human way.


I also enjoyed "Purpose" by Calum Walker about our search for meaning in the wrong places, and the very human quest to understand God. It's both hilarious and deeply philosophical.


"Self Service" by Ross Baker had a Cronenberg-style techno-horror vibe that I really enjoyed.


"The Call" by Rab Ferguson was my second favourite piece in the collection. It looked at the dissociation and the insidious ways in which we might doubt our own reality and humanity, further complicated in a world with AI.


"Cyberwhores..." by Tamara Macleod provided new things to consider which I always appreciate when reading non-fiction. Sadly (for me and the author) "Groomed" resonated too deeply with my own experiences, with regards to how easily we can lose control of our lives. "Dante's Dream" spoke to me for different reasons and was a light-hearted and enjoyable read, providing a much needed lift. And "Home Screen" was an interesting, honest and unique tale.


I'd recommend picking up this collection if you have leftist leanings, and appreciate diversity in literature. 4.5/5 stars.

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