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[P]
Bad Sex

By GenerationY in Culture
Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 06:34:49 PM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)
Books

For the past 12 years, the Literary Review has held an annual Bad Sex competition aimed at exposing "the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it". This year's winner, drawn from a shortlist that included Will Self, Andre Brink and Nadeem Aslam, was veteran journalist and author Tom Wolfe.


One of this year's winning paragraphs, from "I am Charlotte Simmons":

Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns. Oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say 'No, Hoyt' and talk to him like a dog...

The winning entry in 2003 was "Bunker 13" by Aniruddha Bahal:

She's taking off her blouse. It's on the floor. Her breasts are placards for the endomorphically endowed. In spite of yourself a soft whistle of air escapes you. She's taking off her trousers now. They are a heap on the floor. Her panties are white and translucent. You can see the dark hair sticking to them inside. There's a design as well. You gasp. What's that?' you ask. You see a designer pussy. Hair razored and ordered in the shape of a swastika. The Aryan denominator...
The 2003 shortlist extracts.

2002 saw the turn of Wendy Perriam's "Tread Softly":

She lay back on the bed while he positioned himself above her, then she slid her feet up his chest and on to his shoulders - Mr Hughes's shoulders. She closed her eyes, saw his dark-as-treacle-toffee eyes gazing down at her. Weirdly, he was clad in pin-stripes at the same time as being naked. Pin-stripes were erotic, the uniform of fathers, two-dimensional fathers. Even Mr Hughes's penis had a seductive pin-striped foreskin. Enticingly rough yet soft inside her. The jargon he'd used at the consultation had become bewitching love-talk: '. . . dislocation of the second MTPJ . . . titanium hemi-implant . .'
The 2002 shortlist in all its gory glory.

In 2001 Christopher Hart won the award for his sex scene comparing an erotic liaison to Sir Ranulph Fiennes's exploration of the north pole in "Rescue Me":

Her hand is moving away from my knee and heading north. Heading unnervingly and with a steely will towards the pole. And, like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Pamela will not easily be discouraged. I try twitching, and then shaking my leg, but to no avail. At last, disastrously, I try squeezing her hand painfully between my bony thighs, but this only serves to inflame her ardour the more. Ever northward moves her hand, while she smiles languorously at my right ear. And when she reaches the north pole, I think in wonder and terror....she will surely want to pitch her tent.
The 2001 shortlist highlights.

Previous winners:

2000 - Sean Thomas, Kissing England
1999 - A. A. Gill, Starcrossed
1998 - Sebastian Faulks, Charlotte Gray
1997 - Nicholas Royle, The Matter of the Heart
1996 - David Huggins, The Big Kiss: An Arcade Mystery
1995 - Philip Kerr, Gridiron
1994 - Philip Hook, The Stonebreakers

From the famous nominees and winners over the years it appears even our most able creators of contemporary prose are wont to misplace their creative gifts when things get intimate. The intriguing alternative hypothesis is that sex might feel good, but as a physical act it must be considered rather farcical outside that (as Dr Johnson famously noted). Perhaps the nominees for the Bad Sex award show us sex as it really is, confusing idiosyncracies and all? Presumably the authors originally thought they were delivering pretty hot stuff. Another idea is possibly that describing sex in an erotic (or at least interesting) manner is damn hard, particularly as it is something that most authors have to have their protagonists get up to at some point. Maybe these strained metaphors and car crashes of discordant verbiage are simply a product of trying too hard to make something as old as humanity itself appear fresh and new. All that said, perhaps ultimately what this competition tells us is that even bad sex can sometimes still be fun.

...can any Kuro5hin users think of better examples?
Indeed, does our own humble literary section harbour some potential world beaters for 2005?

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Poll
Hottest
o Otorhinolaryngological caverns 42%
o Hair razored and ordered in the shape of a swastika. 32%
o Pin-stripes 7%
o The north pole 17%

Votes: 52
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o This year's winner
o shortlist
o Tom Wolfe
o "I am Charlotte Simmons"
o "Bunker 13"
o 2003 shortlist
o "Tread Softly"
o 2002 shortlist
o "Rescue Me"
o 2001 shortlist
o Also by GenerationY


Display: Sort:
Bad Sex | 81 comments (65 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
I nominate... (2.25 / 4) (#3)
by pwhysall on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 07:16:30 AM EST

...all of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Actually, any "erotic" writing by D. H. Laurence will probably qualify.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
physical act ... rather farcical (none / 1) (#6)
by wiredog on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 09:30:41 AM EST

Absolutely. I think Gene Weingarten, in his latest book (the first significant book about men and women actually written by a man and a woman) reiterates that point. Heck the various bits, at least the ones on guys, are farcical looking.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

This reminds me of James Joyce (none / 1) (#7)
by DanK on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 10:13:02 AM EST

http://www.arlindo-correia.com/joyce.html

slither slither SLITHERIN (none / 1) (#11)
by enthalpyX on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 12:27:42 PM EST

Oh man, I see some horrible Harry Potter fanfic coming.

Your'e far too late (2.40 / 5) (#14)
by Adam Rightmann on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 04:07:46 PM EST

though reportedly much of that "slash" fanfic is disgusting, sinful homosexual liaisons between Harry and Draco, which of course is based upon real experiences in English boarding schools.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#68)
by ENOENT on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 09:41:38 PM EST

Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy really went to an English boarding school?

So nyah.


[ Parent ]
wow (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by collideiscope on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 04:09:15 PM EST

that was really bad.

This one had me laughing.

Still without a word he turned back to her, the same furious intensity in his face, and, avoiding direct eye contact, he started to kiss her while he planted his right hand against her vagina. Once it was in place, he began to massage her with a kind of dry pumping action, which reminded her of someone blowing up a lilo. She groaned a bit by way of encouragement. He didn't seem to need more as suddenly he heaved himself over between her legs, fumbled himself into her, thrust away a few times - no more than six at the outside - and then, with a terrific gasp to tell her that it was now (which she countered with some cries and pants of her own), he collapsed on top of her. The whole business, from the moment he folded the paper, had taken perhaps eight minutes. Ah, thought Edith.

blowing up a lilo. LOL.

-------------------------------
Hope is a disease. Get infected.

In my fantasy . . . (none / 0) (#45)
by acceleriter on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:42:33 PM EST

blowing up a lilo

He's blowing up a GRUB.

[ Parent ]

Newt Gingrich's Masterpiece "1945" (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by nlscb on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 05:00:15 PM EST

In which Germany wins WWII. How could one forget the heady eroticism of the "pouting sex kitten" whose bedtime skills rivaled "Diana the huntress"? Sorry, I don't have the actual passage.

I could swear he won this award.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Can't believe I missed the real joke ... (none / 0) (#18)
by nlscb on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 05:04:26 PM EST

That sex kitten must have been a lousy lay, because Diana was one the "virgin" Roman/Greek goddesses.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

why didn't localroger's celebrated (2.50 / 6) (#20)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 07:06:56 PM EST

expose on incest pedophilia win?

In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations

maybe because (1.50 / 2) (#33)
by Kasreyn on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 07:38:36 AM EST

localroger's bit was well written and served its narrative purpose well?

Yes, it was a squick moment. It was supposed to squick you. As opposed to these flops, which were supposed to arouse the reader, rather than making the reader's genitalia withdraw into the abdomen and pull the welcome mat in behind them.

When you had that same feeling while reading localroger describe having sex with a zombie, see, that's how you were supposed to feel. Which means, mission accomplished.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
squick wtf (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by Hana Yori Dango on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:01:33 PM EST

-1 squick

I bet there's a real word that means the same thing... it seems like you mean "disgust", right? Can't you say what you mean?

[ Parent ]

Because it's fun? (2.00 / 3) (#48)
by Kasreyn on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 08:13:44 AM EST

why else would I even be here at k5? It's not like posting here keeps my teeth white or my stool regular. I comment here for fun, so why not use fun language?

Squick, as defined by my girlfriend, is the feeling you get when arousal is completely eradicated by the intrusion of something disgusting. Imagine making out with your lover to steamy music on the radio... then an ad for hemmorhoid medication comes on with someone talking about burning itches in their rectal cavities. The resultant dousing of sexual appetite is a squick.

So, I'm not sure if there IS another word to describe such a moment. But reading a bad bit of erotic writing definitely qualifies. Pin-striped penises and swastika pussies? My testicles tried to cozy up to my lungs.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
It was supposed to _what_? (none / 0) (#56)
by ksandstr on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:07:18 PM EST

Please pay attention to the third definition.

Though I'll admit that both the original and the common defs are used appropriately in the parent comment.


[ Parent ]

very weird (none / 0) (#57)
by fleece on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 08:07:37 AM EST





I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
[ Parent ]
definition (none / 1) (#58)
by Uber Banker on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 01:06:31 PM EST

"The concept of the "squick" differs from the concept of "disgust" in that "squick" refers purely to the physical sensation of repulsion, and does not imply a moral component."

Why not say repulse - that can refer to a physical, moral or emotional aversion? Then meaning and reason for meaning can much more elaborately be elaborated than using a 'cute' word (babytalk) to 1. promote yourself as in a clique and 2. avoid any attempt at actually explaining opinion, instead hiding behind a word which is the gramatical equivilant of white bread.

[ Parent ]
now i definitely have to read it (3.00 / 9) (#22)
by Blarney on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 08:42:32 PM EST

I've been putting off reading "Charlotte Simmons" because I don't want to read yet another self-righteous former hippie condemning this younger generation for doing the same stuff they used to do, only it's all about bling instead of world conscienceness hippie stuff like they used to do which made it good instead of bad.

But now I think I want to read about a 50-year old hippie's fantasies of the depraved sexual activities of today's selfish, unenlightened youth. Compare that scene with, for instance, the depictions of sex in Kool-Aid Acid Test - it's true that Wolfe often described hippie sex as ridiculous, but he also explored a transcendent element as well. But hey, that was how the Pranksters did it, those guys were cool. There's nothing cool about the kids these days, even their fucking is lame and pointless. We must vote for tougher laws against teen sex, and against drugs, and for more social security benefits so we can afford to buy all our Jefferson Airplane albums on CD. And we all shine on....

Here's a world beater for you: (3.00 / 6) (#23)
by Dont Fear The Reaper on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 09:10:03 PM EST

At last Gandalf reached the object of his quest, gently encircling the Elf's firmness, feeling through his fingertips the potency of the fair creature radiate from his innermost maleness. Though he was an Istar, Gandalf, in his present form, was not immune to the lure of the flesh. He felt his own staff stiffen in empathy as he began to stroke the Elf.

In a short time, Legolas began to pant and moan alternately, his muscles tensing and relaxing, his brows, above his tightly closed eyes, were knitted  together in concentration as he neared his peak. Gandalf was practically gasping himself as his own hardness throbbed with need, but he continued his inexorable pace.

Yep, definitely a lot of "beating" going on there, if you get my meaning.

YUCK (none / 0) (#24)
by neozeed on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 09:36:13 PM EST

Here is the nasty story....

Where do you find these things?!

-----------------------
Unless you're alive you can't play. And if you don't play, you don't get to be alive.
[ Parent ]

Too Much TeeVee (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by pwhysall on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:39:10 AM EST

I read this:

"but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand"

And thought of this:

"Look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes not around the eyes don't look around the eyes, look into my eyes, 3,2,1... you're under."
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

Yeah. But no. But yeah <nt> (3.00 / 4) (#28)
by GenerationY on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:28:19 AM EST



[ Parent ]
OH MY *GOD* (2.25 / 4) (#29)
by pwhysall on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:02:18 AM EST

I SO TOTALLY DON'T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT.

--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Writing about sex is like writing about music (2.33 / 3) (#30)
by nebbish on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 06:04:35 AM EST

Completely pointless, that's why it seems stupid.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

thats the talk of someone not getting enuff!! (3.00 / 4) (#31)
by noogie on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 06:34:47 AM EST




*** ANONYMIZED BY THE EVIL KUROFIVEHIN MILITARY JUNTA ***
[ Parent ]
Will you fill my aching need? [nt] (1.20 / 5) (#32)
by nebbish on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 07:20:14 AM EST


---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Noogie! (2.76 / 13) (#37)
by nebbish on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:17:23 PM EST

Was that zero an expression of disgust, or a symbolic offering of your hole.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

And writing about music... (none / 1) (#60)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 02:33:59 PM EST

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's really a stupid thing to want to do." -- Elvis Costello

[ Parent ]
Bill O'Reilly (3.00 / 6) (#34)
by wobblie on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 07:46:45 AM EST

"Ashley was now wearing only brief white panties. She had signaled her desire by removing her shirt and skirt, and by leaning back on the couch. She closed her eyes, concentrating on nothing but Shannon's tongue and lips. He gently teased her by licking the areas around her most sensitive erogenous zone. Then he slipped her panties down her legs and, within seconds, his tongue was inside her, moving rapidly." From "Those who Trespass"

just to point out the OBVIOUS (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by wobblie on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:03:02 PM EST

* how was he able to "tease her by licking the areas around her most sensitive erogenous zone" BEFORE he pulled off the panties? it's possible, of course, but this is damn goofy. * "tongue was inside her". just to quote most women: "just lick the clit, you fucking moron". "Inside her"? "Moving rapidly"? conclusion: Bill O'Reilly has never eaten pussy

[ Parent ]
well, that might not be true (none / 0) (#52)
by boxed on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 10:22:25 AM EST

My guess is that he is just very bad at it :P

[ Parent ]
What do you expect (none / 1) (#70)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:47:41 AM EST

from a guy who couldn't figure out what his girlfriend wanted until she'd taken off almost all her clothes and was lounging in a provocative position?  "Honey, is the thermostat too high? You're taking off your shirt...  And now your... Oh...  Oh!  Now I get it, you naughty little crumpet!"

[ Parent ]
Not to defend dirty bill, (none / 0) (#71)
by Boronx on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:11:29 AM EST

but some girlfriends lounge around naked all the time even when they are decidedly not in the mood.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
"Do you like what you doth see...?" (3.00 / 9) (#35)
by wiredog on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:54:38 AM EST

said the voluptuous elf-maiden as she provocatively parted the folds of her robe to reveal the rounded, shadowy glories within. Frito's throat was dry, though his head reeled with desire and ale.

She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode toward the fascinated boggie unashamed of her nakedness. She ran a perfect hand along his hairy toes, and he helplessly watched them curl with the fierce insistent wanting of her.

"Let me make thee more comfortable," she whispered hoarsely, fiddling with the clasps of his jerkin, loosening his sword belt with a laugh. "Touch me, oh touch me," she crooned.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Feh. These children don't realize that (none / 1) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:57:34 PM EST

you stole that fragment.

But I remember.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it is insane. - Obscure Chinese Proverb
[ Parent ]

A better site (none / 1) (#50)
by wiredog on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 08:58:59 AM EST

Here.

I have a 1st edition paperback of that book. A very battered 1st edition. Pages falling out, torn, various legal and illegal substances spilled on it (NEVER read that book while taking bong hits.)

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

So that's what happened (none / 0) (#59)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 02:29:29 PM EST

to my copy! I have one of the new ones, but I prefered the old cover. Of course, I prefered the old covers for the real books as well.

[ Parent ]
Thats weird (none / 0) (#61)
by GenerationY on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 02:34:20 PM EST

The one in the original link I'm pretty sure IS the copy I now have, down to the pattern of wear and the placement of the sticker. Perhaps not a very rare 1st edition after all...

[ Parent ]
I'd get it for my kids... (none / 0) (#51)
by claes on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 09:28:17 AM EST

Bored of the Rings, of course, if they didn't name one of the hobbits Dildo.

-- claes

[ Parent ]

Stephen R. Donaldson is gonna sue your ass (none / 1) (#67)
by Lode Runner on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 08:43:41 PM EST

because that passage was in Lord Foul's Bane. Though in the original she didn't consent.

[ Parent ]
The Only Remedy For Bad Sex... (none / 0) (#38)
by DLWormwood on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:42:55 PM EST

...is Abstinence.

0, Abstain

I just don't have the appetite to see "purple prose" on k5...
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled

not only is the sex bad, (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by Lode Runner on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 04:07:53 PM EST

but so is pretty much the rest of Wolfe's new book. A Great American Novel will be written about campus life, but Wolfe's isn't it.

it's bad by his standards (none / 0) (#49)
by Battle Troll on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 08:58:12 AM EST

It's no Bonfire, that's for sure, but it is still better than most of the bilge out there.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
> != good /nt (none / 0) (#54)
by Lode Runner on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 04:10:51 PM EST



[ Parent ]
true (none / 0) (#55)
by Battle Troll on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 04:18:27 PM EST

It's a collection of mostly good ideas, not a novel. I mean, the ending sucks, and is mostly an inferior rehash of Bonfire.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
you know what's fun? (none / 1) (#62)
by Lode Runner on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 04:39:41 PM EST

Browsing '80s and early '90s literary reviews and noting the sheer volume of whining about Wolfe, that's what. I figure they're envious.

[ Parent ]
so does he, except more so (none / 1) (#63)
by Battle Troll on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 05:09:38 PM EST

He thinks that his writing is a threat to and a repudiation of the concept behind Updike's, Mailer's, and Irving's, to the point where he refers to them in print as his "Three Stooges."

Did you hear about the time that Irving started foaming at the mouth on Canadian TV when Wolfe's name came up?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

no, though FWIW (none / 1) (#66)
by Lode Runner on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 08:24:47 PM EST

Mailer's always in a hydrophobic froth, mention of Wolfe or not.

And I nominate E.L. Doctorow as a possible Fourth Stooge. You know, like Shemp?

[ Parent ]

the problem (3.00 / 8) (#42)
by urdine on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:45:11 PM EST

The problem with "bad sex writing" is there is nothing inherently interesting about hearing a description of sex, except at a base level (Penthouse Letters, etc.).  So if it appears in a novel and it's not just trying to make you wank yourself, then it can only be good if the sex is significant to the story - i.e. it adds plot or character development.  The problem is, the intricacies of sex don't lend themselves to plot or character development easily, it's like trying to develop a character by describing, in detail, how they bake a cake.  When you get to that level of detail about any process you're not really writing fiction anymore, but some sort of how-to guide.

One of the BEST sex writers would probably be someone like D.H. Lawrence or (for my money) Yasunari Kawabata.  Some of the best literary sex scenes I've read are general disembodied from the physical act, and concentrate on the emotional or psychological events - they need to EVOKE the feelings, not describe them.

Also, any novel that uses the word "otorhinolaryngological" has GOT to suck.

Or, perhaps it is a different kind of skill (3.00 / 3) (#76)
by jolly st nick on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:50:47 PM EST

I think you probably could introduce a character and tell something about them by how they baked a cake. But I think you'd need three things to pull it off. First, you'd need raw writing talent. Secondly, you'd need considerable powers of observation. Finally, you'd need insights into what the process of baking a cake tell you about a person that you could only get by applying those powers of observation to watching many different kinds of people actually baking cakes, and correlating how they do things to what they are like.

This kind of observaitonal experience, when applied to sex, must be extremely rare, except among sex researchers. There a plenty of people I'm sure who have writing ability and have participated in lots of sex. However, very few people have applied their powers of observation to other people having sex.

So, its not surprising that when called upon to describe sex between people, what you get is an imitation, not of life, but of pornography. In itself this might not be a problem, except I expect these writers think themselves above pornography, so that the imitation porn they produce is apt to be bad porn.

[ Parent ]

"It was always cool in Fred's house (3.00 / 5) (#46)
by power guido on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:05:45 PM EST

-- always Halloween, which occurs at nighttime in the autumn. But now it was chilly, too chilly to be naked. Fred the Zombie came for her, and she allowed herself a scream to please him.

His rotting fingers probed her cunt. Every touch set her on fire, partly (but not entirely) because he was using his power to control her hormones and tickle her neurotransmitters, forcing her to become sexually excited. It was a delicate process that could easily be carried too far, ruining the effect. But Fred was a very careful, if repulsive, lover."

Adolescent localroger, right ? (none / 1) (#47)
by Stylusepix on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 01:46:08 AM EST

I think he wrote that part when he himself was still young and full of hormones. I feel like he, as a writed, has matured - and the Prime Intellect story shows that best, having been written with an interruption of many, many years.

Anyhow, the redeeming quality of these passages is that it does imagine a possible future technology. I wonder why I believe that is good in and of itself.
Go; you're an it-getter, but No; it's all in good fun (and games). Laugh, in stock?
[ Parent ]

Tom Wolfe catching hell (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by yet another coward on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 04:09:44 PM EST

I have seen Tom Wolfe a time or two on television since this novel was released. He seemed genuinely aghast at the college life he found. It was strange to see someone who had spent so much time amoung beats and hippies to show shock.

I wonder how fair the criticism of this book is. I have not read it, and I probably won't soon. Some amount of the criticism, such as this ignominious award, appears to hinge on the moral perspective about sex and coupling in a world of advanced education that delays marriage. I have noticed unmarried cohabitation increase within my rather short lifetime, especially at ages when people would have married a few decades ago. It is a popular lifestyle among young people, but attitudes among older people seem more mixed, as reflected by Tom Wolfe. How much is the negative reaction toward this book a result of feelings that Tom Wolfe is prudish or that he is suspected of attitudes against women?

Wolfe (none / 1) (#72)
by czolgosz on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:56:09 AM EST

It was strange to see someone who had spent so much time amoung beats and hippies to show shock.
Like a lot of journalists at the time, Wolfe was simultaneously voyeuristic and judgemental. It was never participant journalism with him. More typically ironic detachment and shallow moralizing.

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard some asshole saying "O tempus! O mores!" as I passed by, I could buy a nice, uhh, beer or something.

The problem with reactionary satirists is that, even when they're funny (which Wolfe seldom is, unlike say Martin Amis), they're still such condescending, prissy social climbers that you just want to put the boot into them. I might let Swift off with a mild scolding, but none of the many weasels who think they're following in his tradition.

As for Wolfe's views on student sex, I trust that today's students will ignore him just as effortlessly as we ignored has-been writers pandering to the Right back when I was in college in the mid-70's.

The dogs bark but the caravan rolls on.


Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
And deserved hell, too.. (none / 0) (#77)
by ignatiusst on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:45:44 PM EST

Some amount of the criticism, such as this ignominious award, appears to hinge on the moral perspective about sex and coupling in a world of advanced education that delays marriage.

And some amount of the criticism, such as this ignominious award, hinge on Wolfe's seeming inability to write erotic literature:

Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns.

Otorhinolaryngological caverns?! Has this been nominated for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest yet?

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. -- Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

"Pin-striped foreskin" (none / 0) (#64)
by cburke on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 06:48:57 PM EST

Okay.  There's boring, awkward, or ridiculous sex -- the merely bad.  Then there's a line like that which punches you right in the brain.  After I'm done reeling, I want to sue Perriam for assault and name GenerationY as an accomplice.  Honestly, that hurt.

You need a titanium hemi-implant! <nt> (none / 0) (#65)
by GenerationY on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 06:58:40 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Okay, I forgive you. (none / 0) (#69)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:38:43 AM EST

That turned me on.

[ Parent ]
Free sex get paid to write badly. (none / 0) (#73)
by kness on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:01:34 PM EST

"Perhaps the nominees for the Bad Sex award show us sex as it really is, confusing idiosyncracies and all?" ~Psh. "Presumably the authors originally thought they were delivering pretty hot stuff." ~I think they just don't care about perfecting their own standards, and were never told their stuff blows and sucks by anyone competent, really competent. Like, say, another writer, not an editor... the latter would be looking at different things than the former. "Another idea is possibly that describing sex in an erotic (or at least interesting) manner is damn hard,". ~Maybe it is hard for you, but not hard for poetry. Good writing should also carry music. That's not my opinion, that's the way it should be. That's the way everyone should force it to be. "Maybe these strained metaphors and car crashes of discordant verbiage are simply a product of trying too hard..." ~Yes. These authors tried too hard, like most fashionable non-conformist kids these days. Hate them. A lot. Hate them hard. They can't put into sex exactly what they can't put into their writing. Distrust these authors, they're dead and have nothing to say.

Er...yes. (none / 0) (#74)
by GenerationY on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:39:15 PM EST

Seeing as your are replying line by line to what I wrote I feel as if I should reply, but I can't really get the gist of what you are saying. Care to summarise or reformat to help me out?

[ Parent ]
Er... no. (none / 0) (#81)
by kness on Sun Sep 11, 2005 at 09:47:30 AM EST

No.

[ Parent ]
Eh.... (none / 0) (#78)
by kness on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:00:29 AM EST

I didn't select the format correctly. Some other time though...

[ Parent ]
Heh! (none / 1) (#75)
by VirtualWolf on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 05:32:23 AM EST

That Tom Wolfe one reads almost like it was written by the TimeCube guy. ;)

Salon had something similar (none / 1) (#79)
by Metaxy on Wed Jan 12, 2005 at 10:00:36 PM EST

Salon had a Contest to send in bad writing too.

latecomer (none / 0) (#80)
by kukuruza on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 04:16:35 AM EST

said the voluptuous elf-maiden as she provocatively parted the folds of her robe to reveal the rounded, shadowy glories within. Frito's throat was dry, though his head reeled with desire and ale. She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode toward the fascinated boggie unashamed of her nakedness. She ran a perfect hand along his hairy toes, and he helplessly watched them curl with the fierce insistent wanting of her. Remmaps my greazling Curl Debt from "Let me make thee more comfortable," she whispered hoarsely, fiddling with the clasps of his jerkin, loosening his sword belt with a laugh. "Touch me, oh touch me," she crooned.
FreeDom!!!?
Bad Sex | 81 comments (65 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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