ARC Review: Cunning Linguists edited by T.C. Mill and Alex Freeman

Cunning Linguists is more interested in exploring sex as a positive force in the protagonists’ lives (even as its stories also explore challenges characters face). 

Cunning Linguists: Language, Literature, and Lechery

Here is my review of Cunning Linguists: Language, Literature, and Lechery edited by T.C. Mill and Alex Freeman. Linguists is a collection of diverse erotica.

Contributors include acclaimed editor of the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Good Sex Award Winners jem zero and D. Fostalove, and Sonni de Soto, Kristan X, Rachel Woe, plus many others. 

Cunning Linguists explores ways communication and storytelling relate to sex. Its 30 pieces include prose poetry, a story told backwards, fanfiction about a transgender Victor Frankenstein, a story where a domme grants her sub a new title in Tagalog, epistolary tales told through text messages, a spaceship AI making love ot her captain with nothing but words, and a story about how a mute woman communicates with her girlfriend without words. 

As reviewer Zak Jane Keir said of our previous anthology, Erato, “Cishet protagonists are in the minority, which is refreshing, and the mix of contemporary, speculative, historical and just thoroughly strange themes included here are likely to give any reader stuff to think about, stuff to linger over and, of course, stuff to inspire a spot of self-care….”13

My thoughts

I love to read about sex (that probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone – laugh). It’s funny to read an Introduction to a book that talks about how people want less sex or no sex in their books when I am just the opposite. No worries in Cunning Linguists, T.C. Mill states their objective is to “encourage (writers) to do it better” – write sex that is.

“Sex can be messy, creative, transformative, and fun, and literature can explore all these facets.”

Mill, T.C. “Introduction” in Cunning Linguists. Loc. 70

This cover could be me. I have spent more time in bed with my books having a good time than with any other lover. I love this cover.

I love Jem Zero. I was so excited to see their name among the table of contents that I picked their story first. Sky-High at Aquarius is an interesting mix of light-BDSM and menage. Zero has plenty of diversity as there are non-binary, pansexual, transgender, and non-white characters – that is a lot considering there are only four of them (chuckle). I love it.

The steam is off the charts. Zero includes my favorite safe practices in the usage of communication, safe words, and alas only condom usage (dental dams or a form of them would have been better). This does not take away from the couple celebrating their two-year anniversary with some play. It is a very fun anniversary gift.

“I liked your thesis. Obviously, you know how to use your head – you think handicapped people are worth taking seriously. As for the wordplay – well, that just proves that you know how to use your tongue.”

Allen, Elizabeth A. Cave Suckers in Cunning Linguists ed. by T.C. Mill and Alex Freeman. Loc. 3125

I think I could have quoted about a quarter of Elizabeth A. Allen’s story Cave Suckers. I love language and Allen utilizes it to its ultimate effectiveness in this tale. Cave Suckers is the conversation between two cunning linguists as they describe queer historical events. It is overloaded with pun, sensuality, humor, and love. Of course, Silence (brilliant naming by the way) is the wittier conversationalist, but Ethan does okay with their ribaldness.

Seb Palumbus gives us an interesting spin on Frankenstein’s story in I Ought to Be Thy Adam. I had to read it twice to make sure I got all of the nuances because I was so absorbed by the story on the first read. I love the intimacy of shared experiences, sometimes that can tie us together more than words. I also love the above clothing foreplay. This is not paid enough attention to the need for today’s instant gratification. The grazing of finger along a shirt and the feelings of temptation it brings with it were all in Palumbus’ story. (sigh) Yeah, Palumbus hooked me.

Praise Lillian James for standing up and demanding better porn! I totally agree. I love this quiet orgasm which is broken up by squeaks of a toy. The cuteness of the toy reminded me of the scenes in Booksmart (Dir. O. Wilde, 2019) with the panda – chuckle out loud moments.

Rachel Kramer Brussel gives us a quickie Under The Table. Then there is the friends or should I say roomies-with-benefits in D.J. Hodge’s The Feeling’s Mutual. Nothing like a kitchen quickie to end the day.

More Cunning Linguists authors are A. Zimmerman,  A.C. Quill, Alex Yan, Camille Devine, Cathy Bryant, Danny Mclaren, Evadare Volney, Koji A. Dae, Lillian James, Louise Kane, Max Turner, Melissa Snowdon, Moxie Marcus, Ollie Fox, Peach Berman, RAC, Sprocket J. Rydyr, T.J. Cooke, Taylor Verdon, and Tiana Talaria.

T.C. Mill and Alex Freeman succeed in their objective. The sex here is imaginative and written well. Now let me get back to that page I bookmarked (chuckle).

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


 “As a Bookshop and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” at no additional cost to you.

Further Details:

Published by: The New Smut Project, 979-8985743609, 18 May 2022
Cover Image detail of Nu Allongé by Delphin Enjolras.
Edited by: T.C. Mill and Alex Freeman
Settings: Present, Nineteenth Century, Future
Series: New Smut Project 4
Pages: 285

Promo Photo by Valeria Burdyka on <a href=”; rel=”nofollow”></a>


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