Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yes, yes, I know: Pratchett doesn't do filth. Still.

Turk Turon's mention in comments of Evelyn Waugh (pronounced ee-vlin, and yeah, he was a dude) brought to mind EW's son, Auberon Waugh. I remember him as a great wit and a scathing critic in the few journalistic bits I've read of his. Check out his writings on travel and wine review, if you get a chance.

To my delight, Auberon's Wikipedia entry details one of his (in my opinion) great accomplishments in the form of an award for the worst description of a sexual act in a novel. Although I'm a great proponent of sex in real life--bad and otherwise-- icky descriptions of same in novels can be oogy and can utterly dowse a good read, in my humble opinion. Called the Bad Sex in Fiction award, the objective was "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it". Fecking finally.


Well done, indeed! In fact, to my delight, the 2007 award was given to Norman Mailer, whose stench-conjuring descriptions of coital interludes in Ancient Evenings sent me into paroxysms in my early 20s, thus rendering me unable to ever crack another Norman Mailer novel again. Call me closed-minded. I can live with that. Anyway, it seemed appropriate that NM's swan song should be met with a proper dressing-down for what surely was a wildly unsexy description of what should have been a sexy act, literally. Dirty old goat.

7 comments:

CGHill said...

The demand for political correctness has done unto sex scenes what it's done to every other chronicle of human endeavor. Either the scene comes off as toothless and wan (not that I want a lot of teeth in my sex scenes, but you know what I mean), or considerable effort is made to celebrate one insignificant aspect at the expense of everything else connected with it. (Mailer has long specialized in the latter.)

Carteach0 said...

Pratchett is still a good read, even if the sex is all in our own minds. :-)

Besides.... describing Angua howling in passion might be beyond even TP's skill. And I imagine when she scratches a back, it STAYS scratched.

Attila The Mom said...

Oh golly, NM makes my skin crawl. Love this post!

g bro said...

Goin' all literary on our medieval a$$e$! No, wait a minute that's no the quote....

phlegmfatale said...

cghill - indeed, sex scenes in novels seem always to be rather awkwardly done. OTOH, Anne Rice has written a few rather *ahem* compelling scenes which at the same time weren't overly graphic.

carteach - Pratchett's universe is fully-peopled with characters that actually manage to BE sexy, ergo no ickyness is really necessary. I love the frisson between Sam Vimes and Sybil Ramkin -- their union seems as natural as breathing, and that thing between Magrat and the Jester/King was a delight without ever actually GOING there. Angua IS sexy and she's smart, and Carrot OWNS the town and yet is not aware of it, and they balance in a way that is quite comely, indeed. But yeah, her talons are probably quite keen.

attila the mom - Yeah, he's revolting, eh?

g bro - *hee!* I ain't real bright, honey. I just know what I like.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am happy to report I have not read any of the books on the BSIF award list. I have been spared.

Mushy said...

I've been meaning to ask, what's up with the No Title posts? I bet that plays heck with the Google bots!

Maybe that's the reason!