It’s time for the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex Awards — given to “to draw attention to the crude and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel – and to discourage it.”
And this year’s nominees are truly worthy contenders. The full shortlist is: The Yips by Nicola Barker, The Adventuress by Nicholas Coleridge, Infrared by Nancy Huston, Rare Earth by Paul Mason, Noughties by Ben Masters, The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills, The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine and Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe. These lamentable literary sexual encounters include such gems as sex likened to pudding to a penis that acts like a “wubbering springboard.” Yes. Wubbering. And, no, we don’t get it either.
Now, without further ado, excerpts from the 2012 nominees for the Bad Sex in Fiction awards:
• The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge In seconds the duke had lowered his trousers and boxers and positioned himself across a leather steamer trunk, emblazoned with the royal arms of Hohenzollern Castle. ‘Give me no quarter,’ he commanded. ‘Lay it on with all your might.’
• Back to Blood, by Tom Wolfe Now his big generative jockey was inside her pelvic saddle, riding, riding, riding, and she was eagerly swallowing it swallowing it swallowing it with the saddle’s own lips and maw — all this without a word.
• The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine And he came. Like a wubbering springboard. His ejaculate jumped the length of her arm. Eight diminishing gouts. The first too high for her to lick. Right on the shoulder.
• Infrared by Nancy Huston This is when I take my picture, from deep inside the loving. The Canon is part of my body. I myself am the ultrasensitive film — capturing invisible reality, capturing heat.
• Noughties, by Ben Masters We got up from the chair and she led me to her elfin grot, getting amonst the pillows and cool sheets. We trawled each other’s bodies for every inch of history.
• The Quiddity of Wilf Self, by Sam Mills Down, down, on to the eschatological bed. Pages chafed me; my blood wept onto them. My cheek nestled against the scratch of paper. My cock was barely a ghost, but I did not suffer panic.
• Rare Earth by Paul Mason He began thrusting wildly in the general direction of her chrysanthemum, but missing — his paunchy frame shuddering with the effort of remaining rigid and upside down.
• The Yips by Nicola Barker She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard.
Bizarre indeed. Includes how to chuck someone under the chin, how to hold hands the right way, how to hold ARMS the right way, and, of course, the ever-sexy shoe polishing technique. Plus there’s the painting mannequin acting out certain moves … Wow.
From the short list of The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year comes this tasty tome:
According to the Bookseller magazine, other nominees are:
A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson (Amberley). A book that documents the sand trade from its inception in 1912 to the present day, focusing on the Welsh coast.
Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong (Urban Neighbours of Hope). Thai cookbook. “Poo” is Thai for “crab” and is Diwong’s nickname.
Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World by Aino Praakli (Kirjastus Elmatar). Covers styles of socks and stockings found in Estonian knitting.
The Great Singapore Penis Panic: And the Future of American Mass Hysteria by Scott D Mendelson (Createspace). An analysis of the “Koro” psychiatric epidemic that hit the island of Singapore in 1967.
Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press). The story of Koichi Andoh, who travelled from Japan to Yorkshire in the 1930s to train workers at a hatchery business the art of determining the sex of one-day-old chicks.
A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon). Exhaustive overview of the evolution of the modern office chair.
The Mushroom in Christian Art by John A Rush (North Atlantic Books). In which the author reveals that Jesus is a personification of the Holy Mushroom, Amanita Muscaria.
Wow. Still doing author appearances even though he’s blind. And, well, dead. Talk about your troupers …
You may be surprised, indeed shocked, by some of the amazing insights in The Shy Man’s Guide to Success with Women. Then again, maybe not …
As we learn of Moammar Qaddafi’s death, let us remember him not only as a dictator, but also as one heck of a writer. We speak, of course, of his fascinating work The Green Book: The Solution to the Problem of Democracy, The Solution to the Economic Problem, The Social Basis of the Third Universal Theory. And it is every bit as gripping as the title promises. For example, take this, Qaddafi’s deep and philosophical thoughts on male-female biology:
“Women are females and men are males. According to gynaecologists, women menstruate every month or so, while men, being male, do not menstruate or suffer during the monthly period. A woman, being a female, is naturally subject to monthly bleeding. When a woman does not menstruate, she is pregnant. If she is pregnant, she becomes, due to pregnancy, less active for about a year, which means that all her natural activities are seriously reduced until she delivers her baby…. The man, on the other hand, neither conceives nor breast-feeds.”
Men don’t get periods, huh? But women do. Hmm. Well, that’s something, isn’t it? (We’re not sure what that something is, but what the hey.)
There are many different opinions of radio host Michael Savage. One thing, though, we think everyone can agree on: He is one very, very bad novelist. (Very.) The evidence, this snippet from his new novel Abuse of Power. (We are tempted to make a joke about abuse of literature, but we won’t. You will suffer enough in just one second.)
As he drew nearer and removed her T-shirt and panties, she began to moan deeply and loudly. Loudly and deeply. In the midst of their heat, such a state of abandon was reached that the normally voyeuristic Jack, who liked to watch himself make love, actually fell from the bed onto the hot radiator. But, like the Indian fakirs who can be on a bed of nails without later showing puncture marks, Jack did not scorch or burn, nothing visible remaining except a small soreness days later.
Once he was inside her, she began to cry and shudder in a series of small convulsions. He had never been with a woman who reacted like this and was both surprised and excited by her abandon.
Her cries became veritable screams as she moaned, and her eyes became glassy with passion. As Jack continued to bring Sara to an increasingly greater state of tension and release, tension — a violent begging for release and then the convulsive wave — her screaming became threatening.
Wow. In one second, we will be screaming. And we think our screaming will become threatening. (Very.)
(For more reprehensible unsexy sexy writing, see The 7 Stupidest Sex Scenes Written by Politicians, Pundits and Other Washington Insiders)
There are times, say we, that an author really ought to consider dispensing with the use of one of his or her initials . . . as the following demonstrates: