Rating: 5 stars out of 5 ★★★★★
Jakob is turning 34 and his best friend, Leo, isn’t there to help him celebrate. He’s gone to a software conference in London to unveil his revolutionary new software. This program gathers info from a PC and calculates the truth, filing in the blanks so a person doesn’t have to do more than give it the basics, and it will compose the rest of a thesis, story, or other document for the user.
Jakob is close to finishing his own work on his dissertation for his PhD. His doctoral thesis is on the slash fiction phenomenon from a linguistic perspective. But that isn’t foremost in his mind on his birthday—he has other priorities to focus on, especially when he receives an odd text message from Leo which leads him to start reading an unbelievable NSFW story penned by him to Leo! It’s on both Tumblr and Facebook and is quickly being picked up and reposted by users all over the world. The story is erotic and apparently establishes him and Leo as a couple, something that will be a shock to all of their friends and acquaintances who believe them both to be straight. Wait! They are straight. Or aren’t they?
The explosion of stories, which now have gone viral on multiple social media sites, causes Jakob to doubt his own reality. And, to top off the worst birthday ever, it looks like his advisor, a well-known professor who pioneered research on the slash fiction phenomena, has also seen the stories. The biggest problem is the writing style is Jakob’s, and when confronted, he finds it impossible to deny that the stories are completely untrue because of a tiny grain of truth in each. But the professor offers Jakob an exclusive research deal which would allow Jakob to go to London and confront Leo whom Jakob thinks is really behind the whole mess.
In the meantime, Leo, who truly loves Jakob but knows his love is unrequited, has no idea of the scope of the media explosion. Or so he says. When the two finally meet and compare notes, It seems unbelievable that anyone could have possibly have had enough knowledge about them to write these stories, all of which seem to be based on true events, but with distorted facts.
While in London with Leo, Jakob gives in to his underlying sexual desires, desires that he only recently came to realize, and despite Jakob’s supposed heterosexual identity, they have sex. Unfortunately, when it’s done, instead of remaining behind with Leo, Jakob says something stupid and hurtful and then leaves after completely breaking Leo’s heart.
The story is quite brilliantly executed. The author took reality and stretched it and then twisted it, smoothed it out, and stretched it again to the point where I thought I might never be able to figure out which end was up, but she came through in the end and provided a plausible explanation for the whole mess. But did the guys really get together, or was it a dream? And do they have a HEA, or is it in the reader’s imagination?
This is an absolutely unique plot. Be sure to have fully functioning brain cells before you start to read this story because you are going to need them. I love the twist on RPS— real person slash fiction—a phenomena created by this generation. Instead of telling the story from the perspective of the fans or authors of the fiction, this story is about the characters, the real life men who are affected by the social media explosion as their love story becomes viral. The more it’s denied, the more it appears to be true. Of course, the author does throw in a few dream sequences just to keep readers on their toes. So, as I said, be sure you are fully functional before you start this one.
I highly recommend this to those who enjoy something completely different. Toss in some GFY and some first time virginal scenes, and you’ve got the recipe for a story you won’t be able to put down.
Cover Art by Ingela Bohm shows the silhouette of two men standing face to face against a red-lighted background. The pound sign before the title, written as # Not Safe for Work in bright yellow print, depicts the tag for which those interested in a slash fiction story would search on social media. Very cleverly done.