Pornography of the written variety comprises stories whose sole, or at least main, purpose is to help you, the reader, get off — that is, have an orgasm — by stimulating your libido through your imagination. And there’s nothing wrong with that, however much some folks insist there is.
Granted, most porn is formulaic and poorly written, but there’s no reason it can’t be as inventive, engaging, and well written as more respectable literature — or, rather, no reason except the genre’s reviled and ill-paid status. (Yes, “ill-paid”: no porn writer ever got rich from his work, only porn publishers and the producers of visual porn.) There’s simply no external incentive for porn writers to labor over their work, making the characters more complex and engaging, the plots and settings more believable, nor is there much incentive for editors and publishers to demand this or to help writers achieve it.
Yet some do it anyway, and that’s when we talk about “erotica” rather than mere porn. To my mind, there’s no sharp distinction; erotica is simply porn-plus, porn that has more on its mind than provoking an orgasm. (Note: “more,” but not less! Erotica that doesn’t at least get you hot and bothered is sailing under a false flag.) The writer may wish to make you think as well as feel, or to feel more deeply, or to feel other emotions besides lust and its satisfaction. Or the author may be so personally engaged in the sexual fetish or fantasy the story explores that he or she can’t leave it alone, rewriting and polishing the words until they give off the light of unquestionable truth.
The stories in Winner Takes All were written and, except for part of the title story, previously published as porn. No one, including the author, expected more from them than to help the reader get off. And yet, because the theme of male-male erotic slavery is so close to the author’s heart, each contained something more.
Readers treasured these stories, revisiting them over and over in dog-eared magazines and book collections, wondering whether reality could ever resemble the sexy fantasies told so convincingly by Christopher Pierce. And because I’m one of those devoted readers, I wanted to make these Master/slave fantasies available to a new generation of gay men and others who would appreciate them. Moreover, I encouraged Chris to take the time and make the effort to pull these tales up to the next level.
Every story here has been extensively revised — not to make it any less arousing, but to make it more than just arousing. They are still fantasies, full of perfect bodies and idealized action, not slices of life, though only a few contain outright magical, supernatural, or other-worldly elements. These “fantastic” tales, however, include some of the most powerful in the collection: “The Executioner’s Boy,” set in medieval times; “Isle of Chains,” set on another world; and “Scent Slave,” which gives a scientific twist to sex magic.
Other highlights include “Collared at the Dog Pound,” the ultimate lost-pup-finds-a-Master story; “Hard Day’s Reward” and “Fucking Master’s Lover,” which remind us that slaves can also be fearsome dominants; and the amazing title piece, the five-part novella “Winner Takes All,” a saga of bonding through pain and respect. Hell, I love all these stories, or they wouldn’t be here!
Welcome to the world of Christopher Pierce, where men are Men and boys are toys! While it would be foolish to take these stories as depictions of how consensual slavery among men actually works, they can raise questions that will help you explore real-life issues. Besides aiding our arousal (whose value should never be discounted), can we ask erotic fiction to do more than that? —David Stein, publisher and editor
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