Quiddity Or Will Self

Think you’ve had enough exposure to bad sex lit lately? (Ellen Degeneres, Kristen Stewart and your Facebook friends made sure you didn’t escape the abundance of Fifty Shades of Grey excerpts floating around the Interwebs this year.) Well, whether you like it or not, there’s more out there. A lot more. Award-worthy more.

But by award-worthy, I mean Razzie-esque awards. That’s right, authors are annually bestowed with the prize that recognizes gag-worthy writing about the bedroom. It’s an award that British magazine Literary Review started in 1993. On Tuesday, the magazine unveiled its 2012 shortlist for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Check out the list of eight finalists below:

The Yips by Nicola Barker

The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge

Infrared by Nancy Huston

Rare Earth by Paul Mason

Noughties by Ben Masters

The Quiddity of Will Self by Sam Mills

The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Now how did Fifty Shades of Grey manage to escape this dubious honor? Well, on a technicality. The book wasn’t eligible, The Guardian reports, because “the prize’s rubric explicity excludes pornographic and erotic literature,” said Johnathan Beckman, Literary Review senior editor.

The Internet has also been quick to mention another 2012 book that could have had a spot on the list: J.K. Rowling’s first foray into writing for adults, The Casual Vacancy. EW reviewer Rob Brunner pointed out that the novel is chock-full of tawdry sex, rape and pedophilia. So it certainly qualifies for the “Sex” part of the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Apparently, it just wasn’t bad enough, Beckman told the The Guardian.

As for the books that did make the list, here are a couple reasons this year’s finalists will go down in Bad Sex in Fiction history: Wolfe has been nominated for the second time; Coleridge and Raine are also returning to the shortlist; and Mills has managed to make the list for writing a book about a man (Will Self) who has been a finalist for the award three times.

The winner for this year’s prize will be announced on Dec. 4.

Now, we know you’re just itching to know just what wince-worthy descriptions of the beast with two backs earned these books a spot on the list. Move on to the next page for some of the passages that are probably highlighted and dog-eared in the copies of Literary Review staffers.

Rare Earth by Paul Mason: “She breathed hot into his neck and he plunged three rough fingers down the front of her jeans, making her squeak. She had never tried wu-wei in this situation before and Khünbish, hairy and slightly paunchy, she noticed now that he had his shirt off, was generating slightly more karmic energy than she had anticipated.”

Noughties by Ben Masters: “We got up from the chair and she led me to her elfin grot, getting amongst the pillows and cool sheets. We trawled each other’s bodies for every inch of history. I dug after what I had always imagined and came up with even more. She stroked my outlines in perfect synchrony until I was febrile in her hands, willingly guided elsewhere.”

Infrared by Nancy Huston: “He runs his tongue and lips over my breasts, the back of my neck, my toes, my stomach, the countless treasures between my legs, oh the sheer ecstasy of lips and tongues on genitals, either simultaneously or in alternation, never will I tire of that silvery fluidity, my sex swimming in joy like a fish in water…”

The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox by Nicholas Coleridge: “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.'”

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe: “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.”

The Yips by Nicola Barker: “She smells of almonds, like a plump Bakewell pudding; and he is the spoon, the whipped cream, the helpless dollop of warm custard. She steams. He applauds, his tongue hanging out (like a bloodhound espying a raw chop in a cartoon).”

The Divine Comedy by Craig Raine: “And he came. Like a wubbering springboard. His ejaculate jumped the length of her arm. Eight diminishing gouts. The first too high for her to lick. Right on the shoulder.”

The Quiddity of Wilf Self by Sam Mills: “Down, down, on to the eschatological bed. Pages chafed me; my blood wept onto them. My cheek nestled against the scratch of paper. My cock was barely a ghost, but I did not suffer panic.”

And to learn about how the Literary Review makes the selections for this list (or just to hear men with British accents read about sex), check out this video:


Fifty Shades of Grey (Book)
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