Nominations continue to come in as the Literary Review prepares to announce the winner of the notorious ‘Bad Sex in Fiction’ prize, which aims to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.
Books nominated so far include The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet, The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen, Mother of Darkness by Venetia Welby, As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths, The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek, War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill), and Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe.
The prize is not intended to cover pornographic or expressly erotic literature. Monique Roffey’s The Tryst, despite being heavily nominated, is therefore not eligible, even though it is full of the sort of lines that tend to be picked up by the judges, such as ‘He lightly kissed my breasts, his beard all grassy, like a great sea sponge.’
Many people also nominated Vince Cable’s novel Open Arms for consideration. However, Open Arms does not qualify simply because its author is a Member of Parliament.
“Fuck me like a machine”
Among the choice passages chosen in this year’s shortlist is the following extract Laurent Binet’sThe Seventh Function of Language:
“He tips her back and lays her on the dissecting table. She takes off her skirt, spreads her legs and tells him: ‘Fuck me like a machine.’ And while her breasts spill out, Simon begins to flow into her assemblage. His tongue-machine slides inside her like a coin in the slot, and Bianca’s mouth, which also has multiple uses, expels air like a bellows, a powerful, rhythmic breathing whose echo – ‘Si! Si!’ – reverberates in the pulsing blood in Simon’s cock. Bianca moans, Simon gets hard, Simon licks Bianca, Bianca touches her breasts, the flayed men get hard, Gallienus starts to wank under his robe, and Hippocrates under his toga. ‘Si! Si!’ Bianca grabs Simon’s dick, which is hot and hard as if it’s just come out of a steel forge, and connects it to her mouth-machine. Simon declaims as if to himself, quoting Artaud in an oddly detached voice: ‘The body under the skin is an overheated factory.’ The Bianca Factory automatically lubricates her devenir-sexe. Their mingled moans ring out through the deserted Anatomical Theatre.”
The winner of this year’s award will be announced on Thursday 30 November. They will join a long line of illustrious authors – or not so illustrious, in the case of 2015’s winner, Morrissey – to have picked up the booby prize (pun intended, of course), which stretches back to 1993.
Italian novelist Erri De Luca scooped the 2016 award for his book, The Day Before Happiness.
You can read extracts from all the Bad Sex in Fiction Award-winning books in our connoisseur’s compendium.
For more information about the award, visit the Literary Review website.
Nothing in the Rulebook will continue to monitor all updates relating to the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards with (possibly too much) interest.