Finished quite a number of things recently. Most relevant to mention at the same time:
3 books in The Chronicles of Lucifer Jones
series by Mike Resnick
were offered free/discounted this month as science fiction/fantasy backlist republisher Phoenix Pick Press' April Free eBook of the Month with tie-in deal
(still going for the next day). I basically bought the 2 sequels for $1.99 each based on previous experience with Resnick's work, since I hadn't read any of these before this.
Fun comedic satirical adventure spoofs. Each book thus far has thoroughly unrepentant con-man preacher Lucifer Jones (hoping to get enough money to establish his Tabernacle) bouncing from country to country on 3 different continents thus far (1 continent per book), and getting booted from them for generally swindling and law-breaking along the way. Lots of mock-pastiches of familiar classics such as Tarzan (especially hilarious), Sherlock Holmes, Prisoner of Zenda, Shangri-La, Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, etc.
Medium recommend if you think you might like this sort of thing. Funny overall, but some writing tics make the stories a bit repetitive at points. However, each chapter presents a reasonably standalone story which you can read in small doses, and Our Anti-Hero doesn't always come out on top, and in fact gets his well-deserved comeuppance several times.
Also I'll warn that since these are retro-historical adventure spoofs set in the 20s-30s colonial period, there's some stereotyping colonialist attitudes used in the first-person narrative, if you think you might be bothered by such. No actual slurs, though. And it mocks the Europeans as benighted heathens as well.
Another sci-fi spoof that I finished was my first title out of the bottomless KDP Select freebie slushpile, Farthest Space: The Wrath of Jan
by Ellen Fisher
, who is a Bantam-published romance author, which was a parody mildly erotic f/m romance based on Star Trek, with a Captain Kirk/Zapp Brannigan from Futurama analogue, and a repressed genderflipped Spock from the "Canvul" planet of hardcore partygoers.
Lots of fun. This had a basic plot setup of an old disgruntled adversary hijacking the starship and stranding the Captain, First Officer, and AI ship's computer on a mostly-deserted planet, where they have to work together to figure out a way to thwart the hijacker's plans, and incidentally work out their long-simmering Unresolved Sexual Tension.
Plenty of good-natured poking at the narrative conventions of the Original Star Trek series, plus some jokes from Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and various other sfnal sources. And while the protagonists did eventually break down and have hawt sexyfuntimes together as expected, a good chunk of the book was actually devoted to the hijacker-plan-thwarting and logistical problem-solving, interspersed with their destined-couples' bickering about their interpersonal situation.
Medium recommend if you're in the mood for sfnal spoof mildly-erotic f/m romances. I quite liked this and the author sells it for 99 cents, which seems fairly reasonable for a decently-written novella-length work by an established backlist author.
And speaking of erotic not-really-romance spoofs of classic genre fiction, read my 2nd KDP Select freebie which seems to be the gender-flipped porno parody version of the old-school "Biggles" series of aviation adventure tales
Alas, Jiggles and the Test Pilot
, by Mary Tales
, helpfully subtitled "the erotic adventures of a lady aviator and her chums" was one of those cases of gazing into the abyss that is the aforementioned bottomless KDP Select freebie slushpile of Sturgeon's Law-mandated 90% crap. Although this probably only falls into the 40th percentile of crap.
This initially had a promising sort of setup, but was immediately marred by poor formatting and choppy sentence construction and punctuation from the get-go. Aside from that, the short story is reasonably coherent for an plain old erotic sex romp, but the writing simply isn't very good (though considerably above that of other dedicated porntastic erotica listings I've seen the hover-over blurbs for when scanning eReader IQ, which says sad things about the state of English language education for persons for whom I presume it is their first language).
There was also a certain amount of contrivance in getting the characters to engage in their 4-way partner-switching mini-orgy, which I kind of appreciate the author thought she had to provide some sort of quasi-reasonable excuse for 30s English upper-middle-class types to display mutual attraction and accompanying shedding of inhibition sufficient to engage in* rather than everyone just dropping trou at the drop of the hat.
But personally, if I were going to chase a cow out of a pasture so someone could emergency-land their circling plane, I would spare the minute or so to put my clothes back on, or at least a pair of sturdy boots, because you don't want to know what those cows have been doing in that pasture and what if it steps on your foot?
Anyway, despite its flaws I did kind of like this (but then I like stuff with retro-30s aviation and aviatrixes in general, even without the hypothetical porno parody inducement), and I'm mildly intrigued by a follow-up tale which apparently involves an archaeological adventure as the basis for its sexcapades.
But there's no way I'd pay any price above "free" to morbid-curiosity-read it unless the author seriously cleans up their work, so to speak, because deep in my heart, I know
that I myself could write a considerably better, or at least more structurally coherent and properly-punctuated porno parody erotic adventure of a lady aviator and her chums, and I'd only charge 99 cents to boot.
Can't recommend, though I do give the author props for a reasonable depiction of varying bisexual attraction to both men and women in all the characters involved, which sadly, does not often happen in better-written and officially-marketed erotic romances. And it was kind of fun in places†.
* I will refrain from making a No Sex Please, We're British joke if you lie back and think of England.
† Not tingly places, mind you.