The House of Fox by S.J. Smith
Sinful Press, 2016
On a typical Saturday night, four friends go out on the town, drinking and dancing, flirting and fighting. Well, they’re not exactly friends. Donna and Dylan have known each other forever, and Donna harbors a fierce, hopeless attraction for her egotistical childhood companion, but he’s too busy seducing Jane, a shy redhead who works with Donna, to pay any attention. Donna is stuck with her boring, sycophantic boyfriend Frank. Frank and Dylan loathe one another. Tensions rise, tempers flare, and the group disintegrates, each member going off alone, only to encounter a curvaceous, provocatively dressed blond who promises a much better time.
The next thing they know, Donna, Dylan, Jane and Frank find themselves in a pornographic purgatory called the House of Fox. Its endless corridors are lined with randomly numbered rooms which provide entry to scenes of perversion and sexual excess worthy of Hieronymous Bosch. Presiding over this dreamlike — and sometimes nightmarish — domain is the voluptuous, domineering Kitty, who both fulfills forbidden fantasies and punishes any attempts at rebellion. She reveals that they all died that fateful Saturday night, that they’re trapped for eternity in the House where their primary role is to entertain the Great Voyeur, and that failure to satisfy will result in their being cast into the fires of Hell.
Each member of the quartet reacts differently. Dylan becomes determined to escape, but gets distracted when the House instantiates his rock star fantasies. Frank slips into infantilism and madness. Donna becomes increasingly cynical and fatalistic, despite her attraction to the mysterious Giovanni. Previously virginal Jane, who has always believed herself to be unattractive and incompetent, blooms in the atmosphere of unbridled carnality. She attracts Miss Kitty’s attention and becomes the Domme’s protegée, apprentice and sexual partner.
The remainder of the 260 odd pages chronicles the various plots and counter plots as each character deals with the diabolical House of Fox in his or her own way. Sometimes the logic doesn’t make much sense (or at least, it didn’t to me), but that doesn’t matter all that much. In the book, as in the House of Fox, the focus is mostly on the wild behavior of the inhabitants. S.J. Fox describes the goings on with obvious glee — double, triple, quadruple penetrations; fellatio and cunnilingus; spankings and other erotic discipline; milk enemas, pussy ping pong and beaver baseball. When it comes to sex, this novel is truly over the top. It’s also hilarious at times. The lyrics of the songs Dylan sings to his adoring fans are particularly funny.
I found myself reminded of the erotic works by another Smith: the legendary Thorne Smith, who wrote in the 1920s. I still remember reading Night Life of the Gods and Turnabout in my teens. (I was precocious!) The House of Fox is more explicit, but is similar in its bawdy irreverence and its humor.
In general, S.J. Smith does a wonderful job bringing his scenes to life. He captures the dream-like fluidity of HOF, the way an entire world can be hidden behind a door, or a room can transform in an instant from a luxurious hotel suite to a bare concrete cell. The book is very visual. I can imagine it would make an excellent X-rated comic or animation.
Furthermore, the novel includes the best description of Hell I’ve ever encountered. The author had me shuddering at the vivid descriptions of the Underworld’s horrors. In these chapters, the humor became very black indeed.
Despite all the sexual activity in this book, I would not call it erotic. It’s all too extreme, too unrealistic. The novel is, however, sublimely naughty, and might well tempt you to emulate some of shenanigans going on in the HOF. It’s the sort of book you’d read under the covers, when your parents think you’re asleep, and then whisper about to your friends.