Now here is a topic I really didn’t expect to see. I suppose it’s two-fold: the first part being online self-publishing, and the second part being the imaginative documenting of the naughty adventures of luscious women with gnarly mythological creatures. If you need an introduction into either of these trends, I recommend you read more at The Daily Beast site.
Monster Porn Is the Latest Wrinkle in Self-Published Smut
Forget brawny cowboys and sadomasochistic millionaires. ’50 Shades’ opened the door for every horny monster, space alien, minotaur, leprechaun, and gargoyle imaginable. Can you say ‘cryptozoological erotica’?
… there’s a growing demand for mythical creature porn in ebook format. Plots invariably center on women seduced by (or forced to have sex with) leprechauns, gargoyles, minotaurs, aliens, or any type of man-beast hybrid. The Week gave special mention to dinosaur erotica in its “Unexpected Trends of 2013” list, calling it “the strangest literary phenomenon of the year, and possibly ever.” But the publication underestimated just how niche this stuff gets. For example, a search for the Bigfoot series on Amazon yields related titles like Ravaged by the Hydra, Mounted by the Gryphon, Fertilized in Space, and—my personal favorite—Frankenstein’s Bitch.
But really, how strange is this so-called “literary phenomenon”? Take Bram Stoker’s Dracula: through observing the Count’s gradual seduction of Lucy Westenra (and her resulting metamorphosis), we come to see that she desired him from the beginning. The lines are slightly blurrier in the original King Kong, but bold enough for critics to extrapolate a sexual subtext, so that an ape holding a blonde woman hostage atop the Empire State Building in Manhattan is an ape holding a blonde woman atop a giant phallus in Manhattan. The difference between the woman-falls-for-demon-beast storyline in fiction then and now is a matter of the implicit versus the explicit. Today, there are no limits when it comes to explicit language and content in self-published erotica.
I suppose we’ll have to revise Carl Denham’s oft-quoted conclusion to the King Kong escapade: “‘Twas beauty fucked the beast.”
We’ve all read Bram Stoker’s very commercially successful treatment of the vampire stories in the character of Dracula. Written in 1897 and adapted to the stage and later to the movies, Dracula became the modern archetype of the vampire. But Stoker didn’t in fact introduce the vampire to the English speaking world. The Irish writer, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, provided a wonderfully creepy treatment of the vampire in his 1872 novel Carmilla.
For whatever reason, I have never responded to Horror genre fiction (at least not since Zacherley’s Midnight Snacks). When we stayed up to watch Chiller Theater on Saturday nights, those classic Universal horror movies were fresh and downright scary. Of course after seeing The Mummy for the sixteenth time, it loses some of its fright factor. It’s interesting that I once found movies scary but it never seemed to work in literature. The last book I read that had me in a sweat was James Dickey’s Deliverance which was almost as scary as James Dickey.
So is it any wonder that I don’t find anything of value in Stephen King? He’s boring and not good enough a writer to make me forget how silly his narrative is. I did read the first Anne Rice—Interview with the Vampire— with some interest. But then I made the mistake of assuming the author was onto something and agonizingly slugged my way through the first half of her second vampire novel before fighting off the horrid writing and casting it into the pit under the sink. I haven’t done a scientific study but I believe Rice mentions blood more than Rowling mentions quidditch … but it’s close and could go the either way.
I have read and reread the standards of horror—Frankenstein, Dracula, House on Haunted Hill, Tales of Cthulhu, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Rosemary’s Baby, The Day of the Locusts, and various copies of the Fortean Times—all without a shudder or a grimace. They all remind me of a very silly joke that went around when I was in fourth grade: “Do you want to hear a dirty story?” [the audience moves in close and begins to pant] … “A boy runs around the corner and falls in a mud puddle.” [groans of disappointment]. Horror stories have a similar effect on me.
So I’m trying to make a list of the books I read that I found even moderately scary. Did I mention Deliverance? I’m stuck … any ideas?