Review: 'All Tied Up in Knotz', by Andres Cyanni Halden
This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher's advisory)
Synopsis: Carson really likes meeting guys over Knotz, his favorite smartphone app. He has little patience for conversation and even less for the idea of a relationship. However, after a hot bear quite literally knocks him off his feet, it seems there might be more to life than his job and searching for one night stands. (publisher’s blurb)
Carson, as the cover by Soro shows, is a young male red fox (usually more dressed in public) who works in a bookstore in St. Marx. He meets Peter Belov, a handsome and ridiculously rich Russian black bear, when the latter’s expensive car knocks over his bicycle in a minor traffic accident. Carson’s cell phone, ruined in the crash, is frozen on Knotz, a gay erotic site, so there is no doubt as to his sexual orientation. Peter offers to drive him home, and since Carson’s preference is obvious, Peter proposes a gay date.
All Tied Up in Knotz is well-written, but it is 100% for the gay male eroticism market. St. Marx appears to be a city inhabited entirely by handsome gay male anthros looking for friendly sex with no long-term attachments. Females and even families with children appear later, but the reader sees things from Carson’s point of view, and he notices little but the roving gay males.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (105 pages).
The second page reads:
Peter parked the car, got out, walked around, and opened the passenger door for him. What else was going on here? His mind didn’t immediately go to sex, but when the bear put an arm around his waist to help him steady when he stepped out, his sheath definitely went there. He hadn’t noticed it so much in the car, but the bear had a thick, almost overpowering musk. He didn’t smell dirty, just very masculine. Carson swallowed, trying to figure out how he could be in pain, slightly nauseated, and still attracted to someone at the same time. (p. 8)
In the next few pages, Carson and the reader meet Richard, a good-looking but too-young teenage coyote; a badger phone store employee (“apparently the badger tech was not only gay, but also amazingly well-endowed” p. 10); Peter comes back for sex (“‘I look at your profile [on Knotz],’ Peter said once he broke the kiss. ‘It gives me many ideas.’” p. 11); and there is little on the rest of pages 11 to 15 that is not explicit NC-17 action.
The bear had hit him with his car, found out he was gay because of his broken phone, and they’d enjoyed a good fuck. What more could a fox ask for? (p. 14)
At the bookstore:
About half an hour later, the delivery truck showed up. The normal driver, a cute husky, must be off today, so Carson stayed on business with his female replacement. Come to think of it, the last time they’d been shorted Patrick Pratt books was when that husky had fucked him in the back of that truck. Maybe having a female driver wasn’t a bad thing. (p. 17)
And that’s just Chapter 1, in the “normal” part of St. Marx, not the “gayborhood”. Chapter 2 establishes that it runs in the family:
“Hi, mom”, Carson said.
“God, this place always smells like sex,” she said, though with a smile.
“You just missed him [a young ferret]. Cute, too.”
His mom dressed like every other hippie in St. Marx – jeans and a spaghetti strap shirt that bared just a little midriff. She was in good shape, since she jogged everywhere. After setting a brown paper bag down that smelled like Chinese food, she kissed him on the cheek.
“Go wash up and I’ll pull down some plates. You smell like ferret cum.” Well, there was no arguing with that. (p. 26)
The plot, and there is one amongst all of the explicit gay sex, is that Carson grows more and more attached to Peter, to the point of wondering if all of the one-night stands that he shares through Knotz or finds on his own are really as good as a permanent relationship with Peter would be. Which would he prefer? And would Peter be happy with a permanent relationship rather than frequent but not exclusive one-night stands with Carson?
To change the subject, I really wonder if a serious psychological thesis could be made of a comparison between, say, this novella and something like Alflor Aalto’s The Mystic Sands? Both are funny-animal fantasies featuring anthropomorphic animals who are basically animal-headed humans. They are the same height, have human omnivorous diets, and here they all share sex together. All Tied Up in Knotz is the only one that mentions any real animal differences – the canines’ cocks get locked when aroused – and that is only incidental.
Why, then, does Aalto’s fiction seem inherently “funny animal” and Halden’s “furry”? Does being “adult” really make that much difference? What about Aalto’s The Prince of Knaves, which also features homosexuality but not explicit action?