"The Adventure of the Green Zeppelin" in Elementary Erotica

Circlet Press (2011)

Circlet Press (2011)

Table of Contents:

  • The Prophet’s Eye by Aoife Bright
  • The Hysteria Machine by Louise Blaydon
  • The Adventure of the Green Zeppelin by Elinor Gray
  • Research by Kate Lear
  • Upon the Use of Electrical Vibration in the Treatment of Hysterics by Violet Vernet
  • Emet by Cornelia Grey
  • Songs Without Words by Peter Tupper

In these seven stories, our authors explore the allure and simmering sexuality of the Victorian age's greatest detective, through the fantastical lens of steampunk. Editor J. Blackmore, known for her erotic steampunk anthologies, continues her romp through the literary boudoirs of the Victorian age that has previously included Lewis Carroll and which will soon encompass Jane Austen and H.P. Lovecraft, as well.

As Blackmore notes in her introduction to ELEMENTARY EROTICA: “I was surprised by the overwhelming response I got when I requested [these] erotic stories. Holmes’s apparent distaste for women and seeming lack of interest in sex make him an unlikely hero for an erotic story, but each of these authors found their own unique way of dealing with this problem. The backdrop of Victorian England is one filled with tension and danger for homosexual men.This was a time and a place where it was illegal to be gay, plain and simple. We’d do well to remember that Holmes was not always a devotee of the law.”

By transforming the Victorian figure into an erotic one, these stories make social commentary on the repressiveness of the Victorian age and fear of sexuality in our own times. They are simultaneously parodic, through their use of known settings and tropes, and erotic, through their liberation of the previously unwritten sexuality of the characters. 

Sample of "The Adventure of the Green Zeppelin"

Holmes is, after all, famous for his ingenuity, and his need for intellectual stimulation. How does he occupy himself when a mystery is solved too quickly? In “The Adventure of the Green Zeppelin,” by Elinor Gray, we are given a glimpse of what might be going on in the back of Holmes’s mind while he works on his cases. It seems only logical that he would have many varying ideas on the go, and Watson, as his friend (and lover) could often benefit from his inspirations. He certainly does here. And really, who hasn’t thought of high-flying sex when gazing upon a zeppelin?

* * *

“I will leave you to it now, Mister Holmes,” Page said, stepping out of the ship again. “I have some things to take care of, but take as long as you need, and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions. It pains me greatly to have this black mark on the company’s reputation, and I detest the idea of a murderer running free.”

Holmes nodded his head, his sharp grey eyes fixed on the door to the pilot’s compartment. “Thank you,” he said. “This should not take more than an hour.”

Mister Page inclined his head and shoulders in a quick bow, and then he started back across the hangar to his office.

My friend turned to me. “You saw how to lock the door, did you not, Watson?”

“I did,” I acquiesced.

“Please do so,” he said, turning away, and I obliged. As soon as I had shut and locked the airship’s door, I heard his footsteps coming rapidly closer, and then both of his thin, clever hands landed square on my arse. “Holmes!” I hissed, alarmed, and he squeezed, drawing a startled yelp out of me. I squirmed in his strong grip and tried to get away, but he pressed the length of his body against mine and buried his nose in my hair.

“Now, now, love,” he said against my ear, letting go of my arse to slide his hands around to the front of my trousers and cup me through them. “What’s the matter?”

“Holmes,” I said again, most of my reason gone with my shock. “What the devil do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m investigating a murder,” he said, dropping a kiss on the exposed skin of my neck.

“This is not,” I spluttered, elbowing him roughly and pushing away from the wall, escaping his grasp to face him, “what a murder investigation looks like, and you damn well know it.”

“Watson,” he said, reaching out for me and taking my hands. “Did you see the way the windows are tinted? The purpose is to protect the passengers from the glare of the sun when they are above the clouds, but no doubt you noted the way they allow no outsider to see into the ship. Additionally, we have all the time in the world granted us by this ship’s owner, and you have just locked a two inch steel door which is built to withstand the changing pressure of the atmosphere.”

I choked on whatever retort I was going to make as he laced his fingers with mine and squeezed reassuringly. “You think this is fun,” I growled, and he didn’t try to stop the smile that spread across his face.

“I believe you will too, if you allow me to demonstrate,” he replied. “Think of it as an adventure.”

“The last thing I need,” I said, “is an adventure. Particularly one as insane and dangerous as this.” Even as I said it, though, I knew he was going to win. My shoulders slumped, and he immediately stepped right into my space, his chest against mine, his lips mere centimeters from my own. He knew my body almost better than I did, and no doubt he could see the rising flush in my face and feel the tremors in my hands that told him I was giving in.

“John,” he murmured, and I cursed my weakness for him. “You are safe with me. I promise.”

I exhaled my defeat and he crushed our lips together, angling his head and licking his way into my mouth. I opened for him out of reflex and he squeezed my hands again before letting go to begin unbuttoning my waistcoat. He slid his hands underneath it when it was open, caressing my sides through my shirt, and I shuddered against him, reaching to return the favor. As he unknotted my tie I pushed his coat off his shoulders and let it land on the floor behind him. The ship was silent but for the labored sound of our breathing and the soft shush of clothing being efficiently removed.

He kissed me again, pulling my body flush against his and taking a step forward at the same time, effectively pinning me against one of the tables. He slid his knee between my own, and the weakness in my left leg gave in easily, allowing him to press his thigh firmly against my groin. Another nudge and I was sitting on the edge of the table, with Holmes between my legs. The table was just the right height for me to feel his hardness against my own growing arousal, and he murmured in quiet satisfaction.

“I imagine,” I said as he broke the kiss and worked his way along the line of my jaw, “that you have already solved the problem.”

I could feel him smile against my throat, and his deft fingers were unbuttoning my trousers. “Quite so.”