Friday, November 30, 2007

“I used up three silicon-lined vaginas.”

I wish I could attribute that quote to Ann Coulter but, as an honorary subscriber to the International Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, I cannot. That line is from one of the short-listed nominees for The Literary Review’s 2007 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. This year’s winner is the late Norman Mailer, but I think Mailer was undeserving.

You can judge for yourself. Fair warning though: Reading the excerpts in their entirety is a bit off-putting, like watching that “Modern Marvels” episode on industrial sausage manufacturing. As a tease, here are the first few lines from each excerpt.

From Will by Christopher Rush (Beautiful Books)
O glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle, whose angles delve to hell but point to paradise….

From Apples by Richard Milward (Faber)
She had on no knickers, and my heart went crash-bang-wallop and my eyes popped out. She hadn't shaved, and her fanny looked like a tropical fish or a bit of old carpet….

From The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (Hamish Hamilton)
Spike doesn't say anything, but she looks at me, and I know she'll be reading my data-chip implant. Everything about me is stored just above my wrist.
'I can't read your data,' she says, reading my mind instead. 'That function is passive while I'm draining.'….

From The Castle in the Forest by Norman Mailer (Little, Brown)
'Are you all right?' she cried out as he lay beside her, his breath going in and out with a rasp that sounded as terrible as the last winds of their lost children….

From Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart (Granta)
"You wanna pop me?" she said. This must have been some new-fangled youth term. The verb "to pop."….

From Boy Meets Girl by Ali Smith (Canongate)
Her hand opened me. Then her hand became a wing. Then everything about me became a wing, a single wing, and she was the other wing, we were a bird. We were a bird that could sing Mozart….

From The Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark (Viking)
Unhooked by longing, my body arched towards him. When at last he reached in to touch me, there was nothing else left, nothing in the world but his fingers and the delirious incoherent frenzy of pure sensation they sent spiralling through me, as though I were an instrument vibrating with the exquisite hymns of the angels….

From The Late Hector Kipling by David Thewlis (Picador)
This is not pleasurable. How could anyone find having burning hot candle wax dripped onto the flesh of their belly pleasurable? But I don't want to tell her to stop cos the last time I told her to stop I got belted in the mouth….

See, Mailer was only being Maileresque. That’s perfectly legitimate. It is his brand, after all. The Lawrentian types are the most irritating, while the Jackie Collins-type are merely funny. As for the sci-fi erotica, well that's just creepy geeky.

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