By Elizabeth Black
Published by Coming Together, a non-profit
Appears in Coming Together Among The Stars charity anthology
All proceeds go to fund the International Still's Disease Foundation
Release date December 15, 2014
Erotica writer and geekess extraordinaire, Lynn Townsend, presents an erotic spin on science fiction. Called the "literature of ideas," science fiction is filled with futuristic settings, alien life forms, advanced technology, and space travel. Stories about the possible future have been used for centuries to frame stories to explore identity, morality, social structure, and desire. What it means to be human, among aliens. What binds us together, and what keeps us apart. From the exploration teams studying new life forms, to a woman flung to the edges of the galaxy to save (or sabotage) a ship full of alien bacteria, to the forbidden longings for other sentient species, Coming Together: Among the Stars will take readers to the very edge of the universe and back. All proceeds will support the International Still’s Disease Foundation. CONTENTS Duali-Teaze (Rose Caraway) Repair Mission (Annabeth Leong) Situation Normal (Lynn Townsend) A Matter of Taste (E.S. Wynn) Getting Even (T.B. Bond) Love in a Space Elevator (T.B. Bond) Longing (Elizabeth Black) Forbidden Goods of the Galaxy (Zee Giovanni) Birth of a Monster Whisperer (Nobilis Reed) Gyozo's Mate (Essemoh Teepee) Yvette (George Box) The Joy Ride (Jade Waters) S.E.T.H. (Nickie Jamison) Sense-Think-Act (Elliot DeLocke) Love is a Virus (Delilah Night) Rose of High Barbary (V.L. Locey) Of Gods and Men (Adrik Kemp) A Fully Functional Lo^ghi (Skilja Peregrinarius) Navigator (Kathleen Tudor) Bleeding Red (Elizabeth L. Brooks) The Power of Positive Thinking (Malin James)
From Clitical.com: The first of those stories was entitled, ‘ Longing.’ and was penned by Elizabeth Black. This is a story that keeps it’s feet firmly planted on earth, but as the reader I found myself asking myself some important questions. Can Artificial Intelligence ever really be a replacement for real people? This was the main theme of the story, which is beautifully told. Rachel’s husband, Eric suffers from dementia and is unable to remember her except on the odd occasion when she is able to bring herself to visit him at the hospital he now calls home. Her sadness is somewhat dulled by the fact that they had cloned their shared memories as soon as the diagnosis was made. She is now able to recreate those memories by melding with his mind, and they become one collective memory, which is as real as the day it was created. While this offers her some solace it also makes her sad. She is aware that the experiences they now share are not real, created as part of an artificial intelligence, but she needs them. This is a beautifully written piece of erotica that for me was a standout piece in the book.
The stink of disinfectant curled my nostrils. I never got used to that hospital smell. Eric lay on his back, a fading memory of himself, the light gone from his eyes. When I entered the room he turned to look at me, and he smiled. It was a weak smile but a pleasant one. He didn't get many visitors, and I made a point of seeing him every day if I could, but it was so hard to see him like this. I held back tears as I sat in a chair next to his bed.
"Eric, I brought you your favorite German chocolates," I said as I sat a red paper bag on his nightstand. "You should eat your dinner first though."
"Thank you, miss." He pressed a button on the bed, raising the topmost part until he sat upright. "Do I know you? You look familiar."
"Yes. I come here almost every day." I hitched in my breath. My very existence being erased from his mind agonized me, but I couldn't cry in front of him. That would only upset him because he understood so little. "I'm Elizabeth."
"I don't get many visitors," He said. "You're kind to give me chocolates. How did you know I like German chocolates?"
I didn't answer. Instead I handed the bag to him. He reached inside and took out two small blocks wrapped in gold paper and handed one to me. I smiled and thanked him. The chocolate melted on my tongue, its mellow flavor smooth and gentle on my taste buds. It reminded me of our times at the beach when we first met twenty years ago when he'd buy me candy to win me over. It worked.
I reached for some DVDs in a small bookcase next to the nightstand.
"You brought me movies. Thank you so much. How did you know I like 'Star Wars'?"
I smiled. "Just a lucky guess." When we met we went to see "Star Wars" together and watched it every year on our anniversary. That was why I brought it out now - it was our 21st.
"You're very pretty." He said as he always did.
"Thank you." I swallowed hard to prevent the tears from falling.
"Are you married?"
"Your husband is a lucky man."
"Thank you, but I'm the lucky one."
We watched "Star Wars" and by the time we reached the trash compactor scene he had dozed off. I left not long after that. I couldn't bear to see him like that much longer.