Twelfth in the series of eclectic gay male short story collections by habu, the fifteen stories of Grab Bag 12 offer a variety of gay male stories in terms of theme, sexual interest and fetish, setting, and time period. Laid out in the order in which they were written rather than grouped by theme, these are stories composed during the fall of 2016.
Four of the stories have historical settings, ranging from Virginia, when the Shenandoah Valley was frontier (“A Different Path”), to the British occupation of Egypt in the 1800s (“The Agent’s Third Secretary”), up to the twentieth century, in the Baltimore of the 1970s (“Ed, Frank, and Mark”) and New York and the Netherlands in the 1980s (“Under the Skin”). Of the eleven contemporary stories, one is set in an unnamed Asian country (“Prince’s Choice”) and one moves from Arizona to Cyprus (“Making of a Porn Star”). An unusually high number of habu stories for an anthology like this are set in the United States, moving east from California (“Quattro Amici”), Arizona (“Making of a Porn Star”), Wyoming (“Political Biography”), and Colorado (“Hunted”) toward the Atlantic seaboard states (“The Capitol Limited,” “Oversexed,” “TGIF Lexington,” “Gorilla,” “Avril’s Ploy,” “Political Biography,” “Tantric Teng,” and “Ed, Frank, and Mark”). Typically with habu, several of the stories are located in Virginia and the Carolinas (or New York City), but purely coincidentally, two of the stories in this anthology are set in Baltimore (“Tantric Teng” and “Ed, Frank, and Mark”).
Thematically, as is always the case with habu’s broad range of experiences, the stories in this anthology are “all over the place” in theme, from lust, greed, extreme need, and rough, BDSM sex to physical danger, espionage, paranormal events, mystery, racial discrimination, humor, porn stars, and tantric sex. The stories were all written in the heat of a U.S. presidential election year, so naturally there are stories here about shady and grasping politicians (“The Capitol Limited” and “Political Biography”).
The constants in habu’s hodge-podge of story writing are to provide variety, surprise, and scintillating gay male arousal. We trust that this twelfth anthology in the series will do just that for its readers.