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“Strain” by Amelia C. Gormley

18460726Genre: Gay Erotic Science Fiction

Length: Novel

It’s post-apocalyptic Earth–Oregon, actually (I’m an Oregonian!). There was a terrible virus, which rampantly spread through the world’s population and basically turned people into zombies, killing most, and dooming the rest. Not only that, but several forms of the virus are airborne (that’s really bad news).

As with quite a few post-apocalyptic survivors, Rhys Cooper has lived most of his life in a rural religious commune, and when zombies break into his family’s compound, he gets exposed. Lucky for him, the regional task force full of super human soldiers finds him, and they have an idea for a cure for him… but Rhys isn’t going to like it.

I’m pretty sure the inspiration for this story started thusly: Wouldn’t it be hot if there was this guy, and though he’s reluctant at first, he agrees to have sex with a bunch of really hot dudes? Nonstop. For weeks. Because it will save his life because he has some kind of virus, or something. Yeah… and they have like antibodies in their sperm, that can only be received anally, because anal tissues are super absorbent! Yes, brilliant!

And damn–it works. Wow. This story was hot.

I couldn’t very well label the genre M/M, now could I? And M/M/M didn’t work either. Let’s just say it’s explicit, and involves lots of partners, but there is a single pairing in the romance portion of the story for Rhys. There’s also a fair amount of BDSM, and as much as I enjoy BDSM in my stories, these aspects weren’t really the main focus for me. They were more about flavoring the soldier’s personalities and their rough lives, and how they deal with that stress, in my opinion.

The world was gritty and intense. The soldiers in the task force take Rhys with them (so they can “inoculate” him), as they wander the Pacific Northwest, trying to rid the world of the zombie virus threat. But they are also infected, because the same virus that nearly wiped out the world, also mutated in them to make them faster and stronger. This means they can’t really mingle with the common populace, so they live a rootless existence, checking the perimeters of every town, cut off from the rest of humanity, and also trying to save them. It had Superman vibes. But with bondage. And lots of unprotected anal (with lube).

All in all, I felt bad for Rhys. He had a pretty shitty childhood, being stuck in a religious commune that repressed him socially, and his family literally starved him out of rations as punishment for his “sins”. And then his heroes ended up being these overly masculine social rejects, who have some pretty gnarly ideas on how to get off. And Rhys goes for it, because it’s all he has. And he enjoys it… because it’s all he has. The reasons for his enjoyment are most definitely a psychologist’s worst nightmare, and his desires to be needed and wanted in this capacity are certainly fucked up–it taints nearly everything in the story. But it works. Because not all stories (especially not post-apocalyptic ones) are happy. And even though I can’t say that Rhys finds his happy ending, I think he finds a happy enough ending, and a place in this fucked up world, which is all most of us can say by the end of it.

Check out Amelia C. Gormley’s website, to see a list of her titles, and view her current and upcoming sales:


B. A. Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is You can find him on Goodreads:



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