Posts tagged erotica
Nothing But Fun in the No-No Zone — Shon Richard’s “The Dark Lords of the Earth”0
If there’s a trick at all to writing weird smut, it’s finding that balance between the background tang of strangeness (that sharp, shocking flavour that is essential to the good stuff) and the sex itself. That, and of course maintaining a consistent voice throughout the piece that brings the two (seemingly at odds) elements together. It’s a tough trick to pull off: you want the Strange and the Sexy to mesh, to actually merge. Not to put too fine a point on things, but you want them to fuck, and fuck well. This does not happen with the rote paranormal (“you can’t spell paranormal without normal!”) erotica; often the weirdness is merely set dressing.
A tough trick to pull off. Unless you’re Shon Richards. (Note: I am so glad to have discovered Shon Richards!)
The Dark Lords of the Earth is a lot of things, and I like all of them! It’s supremely weird, for starters: Richards has taken as his subject the DERO of Richard Shaver, a completely crank pseudo alien abduction conspiracy theory I hadn’t even heard of until reading this book (and I know my crank, ladies and entities!) involving little hairy men from beneath the hills. Little horny men, in vast subterranean caverns crammed with bizarre sex-machinery and super-powered fuck-batteries. They’re abductors, stealing people from the surface: drugs, hypnosis, weird chakra-tweaking technology.
That’s the weirdness. The ditzy narrator of The Dark Lords of the Earth is “Leanne”: she provides both the sex and the voice and what a voice! An ultra-conservative right wing “good Christian woman” who, along with her two gal pals, is abducted by the Deros while on a girls-only camping trip. Her narrative voice is not only hilarious in its naiveté, it’s incredibly fun and utterly consistent. Not once does this woman break character! I kept waiting for her to eventually crack and start referring to her anatomy by more commonplace porn-y terms but nope! It’s her “no-no zone” all the way! The more times she dropped this term, the funnier it got, and it reminded me in a lot of ways of old William Lazenby’s Victorian heroines in The Pearl: so stuck in their social and mental constrictions that even as their sexual vistas are being stretched beyond sense, their language remains prudish. It creates this remarkable tension which is highly amusing but also hot.
Leanne finds that the suppressed memories of her abduction by the underground men rise to the surface of her consciousness when she engages in the same sexual acts that she performed while under their influence, and this quest to learn the truth of her experience is what drives the plot. Richards has a deft hand with this material, nicely playing off Leanne’s present playtimes against the flashbacks she experiences during the sex. As a result, the reader gets a brilliant kind of double-exposure effect. It truly is twice the bang for your buck!
Leanne’s supporting characters (her dopey husband, her secretly promiscuous chubby church-lady friend, her neighbour’s horndog college-age son) are all clearly less naive than Leanne, and it’s definitely delicious watching the interplay between the sweet-but-seeking Leanne and her disingenuous partners. Is she being taken advantage of? Kind of, but then again, she’s also using them to plumb dark secrets about herself and the Deros to advance herself beyond the strictures of her own life. But if I say anymore, I’ll ruin the ending!
Shon Richards has been doing this stuff a lot longer than me, and I am only just getting into his books, but if The Dark Lords of the Earth is any indicator, I’m going to be having a great time going through the catalogue!
I was going to post this review to the Amazon page for the book, but what with all the censorship crap that is happening over there these days (and on the Kobo and B&N shelves, too — lock it down, publishing behemoths! “Good Christian women” aren’t your only customers!) I’ve decided to just keep my thoughts here for now (once things have calmed down over there, I’ll post it on Amazon) and instead give you links a-plenty below. Go get The Dark Lords of the Earth if you want a fun, kinky, strange time! (Don’t be fooled by the nature scene on the cover, either… that’s some clever smokescreening on Shon’s part to baffle the censors.)
Buy it direct from Shon’s website > http://shonrichards.com/buy-my-e-books
Buy it from Amazon
The Times Are Interesting For Erotica4
We open our inbox this morning to find a little encouraging missive from the Amazon content mavens: Your book is available in the Kindle Store, it says. Huzzah! Seems our response to the giant’s request for a cover change to JustineG‘s Summonings: Anicka & Kamil was met with approval by whatever bizarre metric they use. Now, considering that THIS is what upset them…
… we wonder how it is that THIS met with a nod (electronic or otherwise) of acceptance?
Again, we feel it’s very likely that the bare midriff and possibly the almost discernible navel piercing in the original cover was what put the censor-bots on alert. And yet! And yet the second, revised cover is clearly far more porn-y than the original. Our second girl isn’t even wearing a top and her expression is about as cheesy and wanton as you could expect. That’s some straight-up Hustler-style imagery there. (Note: image is fair use, not taken from Hustler)
All that being said, it’s not even the cover imagery that is at issue here. That we’re putting down as simply an interesting experiment. The issue is the moral tempest-in-a-teacup that the recent ebook censorship blow-up illuminates. As Daily Grail contributing editor Ian Vincent @catvincent tweeted yesterday…
I’ll believe the Amazon/Kobo/WH Smith erotica ban is a moral act the second they pull 50 Shades Of Grey. No? Didn’t think so.
To that sentiment we heartily agree. Especially when we consider that much of the fury surrounding this issue is ebooks with “questionable” or “immoral” content, content that the censors apparently scan for using keywords provided by the authors. Now, Summonings: Anicka & Kamil, as we mentioned in our last post, is a transgressive little bomb of a book in this regard. In fact, “transgressive” is one of the keywords we used when originally putting the thing on the Kindle Store shelves. But that’s only one of the seven keywords we chose. Here are the others…
Yup, the ancient privilege of royalty and gods, right there in the open, and still there after the first sweep of the Amazonian censors. Hell, we’re not even shy about it in the description of the book!
Blackstone readers briefly met Anicka, teen witch and High Priestess of Stregoicavar, and her handsome idiot brother Kamil in BLACKSTONE Book 1: RED MONOLITH FRENZY. In ‘SUMMONINGS: Anicka and Kamil’, we learn what these wicked siblings get up to when the incense is smoking and the incantations are called. Dark sex and black sorcery like you’ve never read before!
Oh Kamil. You handsome idiot. What a pair you and your sis are!
So, just what is going on over at Amazon, we ask? Based on this, our admittedly limited experience with censorship at their hands, let us venture this as a fair estimate of Amazon business practice vis a vis erotica ebooks and the prudish “think of the children” fuss they occasionally have to deal with (we seem to remember something similar to this blowing up a year and a half ago?)…
It’s nothing, folks. A wrist slap here and there, a hoop or two to jump through to satisfy groups that, once mollified, will forget that such books even exist. Certainly such people aren’t reading them now and if they do, well, that’s their dirty little secret and they’re welcome to it. It’s our hope that Amazon and Kobo et al. get the whole thing sorted out in a way that benefits all parties, and we’re reasonably confident that they will, because despite all the public hand-wringin’ and mollycoddlin’, erotica titles are a large part of their profits. The smut is not going away. So keep writing, keep putting it out there. Yes, the times are interesting for erotica production and consumption, but hey! News flash! It’s always been interesting out here in the smut mines.
Having posted all this, perhaps we’ll get hoisted on our own petard soon and find our entire catalogue of Justine’s books pulled from the shelves. (Orgy in the Valley of the Lust Larvae, anyone?) We’ll keep you updated, Migraineers.
Two Shudderingly Fine BLACKSTONE Reviews0
Erotiterrorist and Lovecraft fan Shon Richards (Violatrix, Dark Lords of the Earth) has been in the game for a while, we understand, so when he says that the climactic scene of Justine Geoffrey‘s RED MONOLITH FRENZY took his breath away, we’re inclined to stick a shoggoth-barb in our hat! Thanks Shon. We love Justine (and we’re not just saying that because she used the Triple-Word on us!) and we’re glad more folks are coming round to her unique brand of weird arousal!
Shon’s full review here > Dirty Books: RED MONOLITH FRENZY
And it’s not just fellow smutketeers singing Justine’s praises: UK bizarro writer Ade Grant (author of The Mariner and Seeker) calls the “dreamlike freedom” of PRIESTESS “thoroughly endearing” and is pleased to find in Justine’s work a bracing alternative to the cookie-cutter erotica that dominates the market these days. Says Grant: “You won’t find any Christian Grey’s in the pages of Priestess, but you might just find a Charles Dexter Ward, juiced up on a heady concoction of LSD and Viagra.”
Ade’s full review here > “Can I stick it there? Well I won’t know until I try!”