Welcome to Between The Covers, my monthly blog about erotic romance in the news! My name is Rebecca Gillan. Sometimes I come across stories that look like normal people doing normal people stuff. And sometimes I come across stories that sound like someone tried to re-enact their favorite scene from a romance novel and it didn't go so well. Once a month, on the first Friday of the month, I share some of these juicy gems. So grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride!
The Bad Sex in Fiction Prize: Has anyone heard of this award? It is an award handed out yearly by The Literary Review, a British-based journal of- you guessed it- literary fiction. As I was reading about this uniquely British award, given annually since 1993, I couldn't help sniggering about the idea of literary novelists being judged on something they never set out to do. Unless you are Alastair Campbell, who admits he really, really wants to win this award. (Why, I cannot begin to fathom!)
The first winner, for example, looks like a romance but isn't- not really. A Time to Dance by renown novelist Melvyn Bragg a) was not a page turner, b) was considered thoughtful by critics, and c) spent most of its pages exploring the social stereotypes and class differences of modern Brittan. The husband was cheating on his dying wife with a teenager. There was no happy ending. The “hero” was not that desirable, unless one likes flabby old bankers who cheat on their dying wives with vulnerable girls young enough to be their daughters. This book should never have been judged based on its sex scenes. Of course the author didn't do it well; that's not what he does.
This year's winner managed to cross one of the biggest no-no's of any genre of romance: bestiality. Or is that bug-stiality? Either way, in his novel, The Shape of Her, Rowan Somerville used this passage to describe a love scene: "Like a lepidopterist mounting a tough-skinned insect with a too blunt pin he screwed himself into her." A lepidopterist, by the way, is a person who studies moths, either professionally or as a hobbyist. Bug people “mount” insects by pinning their dead bodies to things with sharp pointy metal things. And this man compared that to the act of making love. Ewy!
Somerville reportedly said, upon receiving his award, that "there is nothing more English than bad sex." I don't buy that. Not for one minute. With the exception of a rather disturbing scene from the movie “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc”, I have never even heard of men pinning women to things with sharp, metal objects before the act. The population of Britton would be, I think, much smaller if British men didn't know how to make love using “the correct pinhead.” What's worse: this author is Irish. There is no way a nation that gifted us with Colin Farrell could be bad at sex.
What I want to know is when we are going to get an award for best sex in fiction. Now wouldn't that be fun! My question to you is: what scene would you nominate for best sex in fiction? Or even, worst sex in fiction?
Remember to have a little fun from time to time, but keep it between the covers or you might end up in the police blotter- or on this blog!