Fifty Shades of Grey and The Casual Vacancy Escape Nomination for Bad Sex Writing

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I am eternally amused by the existence of the Bad Sex Awards, a yearly attempt to crown the worst sex scene in an otherwise non-erotic work of fiction “to draw attention to the crude and often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel – and to discourage it.” Every reader knows how fun it is to encounter a terrible sex scene in the middle of an otherwise adequate or even enjoyable book. You know, ones that look like they were created in a game of madlibs, which, by the way, is a game I have totally played with dollar store paperback bodice rippers.

The other thing I totally love about the Bad Sex Awards is that this is the one literary award list where I don’t mind if women are always underrepresented on it.

This year’s list, as announced by the Guardian?

  • Tom Wolfe, Back to Blood
  • Nicola Barker, The Yips
  • Nicholas ColeridgeThe Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox
  • Nancy Huston, Infrared
  • Paul Mason, Rare Earth
  • Ben Masters, Noughties
  • Sam Mills, The Quiddity of Will Self
  • Craig Raine, The Divine Comedy

Wolfe, Coleridge and Raine are surely enjoying their repeat nominations. Last year’s winner, David Guterson, must be disappointed about not being able to repeat his performance.

Jonathan Beckman, who organizes the award as part of his job as senior editor of the Literary Review, explained why J.K. Rowling and E.L. James‘s best selling novels of 2012 didn’t make the list to The Guardian. James was right out, since Fifty Shades of Grey is intentionally erotica and therefore disqualified. And as for Rowling,

After ardent discussions about the book, the judges concluded she failed to meet the criteria. Despite “a couple of queasy moments”, as Beckman termed it, her writing is not nearly bad enough.

How bad would her writing have to be? Lets look at some excerpts.

From Back to Blood: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.”

From Rare Earth: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.”

Well then.

I do take issue with one of the nominees, however. From The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox: “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.'”

I don’t understand how anyone could read that and not want to find out what happens next.

(via Jezebel.)

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Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.