Disclaimer: if it is not obvious to you that supposed erotica about a woman and a snowman is tongue-in-cheek parody, if the idea of that is offensive to you, or if you fail to see the humor in that, then please just stop reading here. Really this belongs in the "Humor" section, doesn't it? Because (1) it is pretty funny; and (2) even though it puts on airs of being erotica, I'm going to guess that 99.999% of people will not really get all hot and bothered by snowman erotica. Or will they? Speak up if I'm wrong about that. (crickets chirping) That's what I thought.So, then, Humor it is... when you look at the cover, you pretty much know this is going to be a hoot, right? Well it is. Remember the old Frosty the Snowman cartoon Christmas specials? As the story goes, Frosty comes to life when a magical hat is placed on his head. In this case, however, the magical hat was under the nameless narrator and her boyfriend as they were *ahem* "enjoying the great outdoors", shall we say? ...And it has become contaminated with, uh, bodily secretions. When the hat is placed on this snowman's head, he becomes a love machine. Some pretty funny dialogue follows, as our narrator decides to to expand her horizons and explore her lusty urges with the newly animated snowman. Many fine questions about the mechanics and thermodynamics of this have been posed on the thread of karen's review, and these were all answered to my satisfaction in the story (hint: it's a magic hat, people).My first instinct when I saw this title was to ask "Oh, karen... where do you find these titles?", but of course I already knew the answer: Smashwords. In case you aren't familiar, Smashwords is kind of like a digital bookstore of the self-published. It's where aspiring authors upload their novels, short stories, poems, etc for direct sale to the public. It's the sort of thing somebody like Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke probably predicted fifty years ago, and now it's here. Overall, I have mixed feelings about the site, but mostly positive. (read: Snowballin' is a diamond in the rough) The quality of its offerings varies enormously, and very few of its books are reviewed on GoodReads, let alone elsewhere. I'm willing to forgive my personal hit-or-miss experiences on the site because I love the cutting-edge, frontier-like feel of it. You just know, because of its apparently small commercial potential, no publishing house- even a purveyor fetish erotica, or erotic humor- would normally print Snowballin'. And if it somehow did get printed, it would be on a very limited run, so the chances of stumbling on it in a used bookstore would be extremely remote. Yet in the digital democracy of Smashwords, it's there for the asking- sinking or swimming in the marketplace of ideas. For $2.99, you can be reading it in less than a minute! It's almost evocative of those early days of the internet- circa maybe 1995 or so- when businesses and regulators were both feeling their way blindly through cyberspace, unsure how exactly to make money or how the rules and laws written for print and recordings applied in this new electronic universe. There's also something very hippy-commune feeling about e-self publishing, isn't there? I mean that in both good and bad ways. On one hand, we don't have THE MAN deciding what's "good enough" to be published- essentially telling us what we can and cannot read. On the other hand, it's kind of amature hour: a gray area between posting a story online to your buddies, and having it printed and distributed through a chain of bookstores. You sometimes have to wade through a lot of shit on the site to find a gem. I'm eager to see what the future holds for Smashwords; it seems like one of those things that could go either way. Maybe twenty years from now, Smashwords (or something like it) will be bigger than Kindle or Nook. Or, maybe it will die of its own mediocrity- perhaps hurried along by threatened publishers, and self-righteous, self-appointed censors (Smashwords features titles in a wide range of categories, but their erotica is what seems to get them in the news periodically.) As long as the site is around, I'll continue to look forward to more comic offerings from Auralie Vierge.So back to Snowballin': is it erotica? Is it porn? That's very difficult to say. Technically, some of the graphic descriptions of human/snowman intercourse would fit many readers' criteria for pornography, but it doesn't feel like porn. To me, it seems like a subversive anti-porn, undermining the hot-and-heavy mood "serious" porn/erotica tries to create. Don't get me wrong: I don't think this monsterotica is a threat to erotica or pornography; pornography has been with us since the ancients, and by all accounts it is doing quite well for itself in cyberspace. Still, monsterotica is clearly laughing at porn, and I think by now we all know that that is much more effective than attacking it with serious solemnity.