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The Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2012: Shortlist

November 20, 2012 | by

The Literary Review has released the shortlist for the twentieth annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The nominees for achievement in terrible sex writing include:

  • The Yips, by Nicola Barker
  • The Adventuress, 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
  • Mr. Wolfe, you will recall, is a previous winner, having taken top honors in 2004 for I Am Charlotte Simmons. He was deemed eligible for this year’s awards by dint of passages like the following:

    But then the tips of her breasts became erect on their own, and the flood in her loins washed morals, despair, and all other abstract assessments away in a cloud of some sort of divine cologne of his. 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 without a word.

    Bad, assuredly. But is it bad enough to take the prize? Find out on December 4. Until then, follow the process via @lit_review. (The tweets are tagged as #LRBadSex2012.)

    And for a glimpse into the judging process, check this out:




    1. Chloe | November 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      This award makes me giggle hysterically each year.
      I can’t believe how these writers even pen such sex scenes.
      They are so overloaded, convoluted and so on.
      I’ll never forget one of the worst sex scenes, also the most unrealistic, I’ve read and it was in Houellbecq’s novel Platform. It made me wonder if the author really experienced fellatio. It was that over the top and unrealistic.

    2. Finn | November 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Chloe, which fellatio scene in Platform are you criticizing?

      I’m not sure what your criticism of Houellecq’s sex writing is. Anyway what is a “realistic” fellatio scene? What if it were written by a surrealist or a symbolist?

    3. Linda Collison | November 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Most sex writing is just laughable. Best I ever read was Michael Kernan’s in The Lost Diaries of Frans Hals. Too bad he’s dead. Kernan and Hals.

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