Joy is a new dishwasher and the “Bad sex in fiction” awards

There is one thing my family can always count on: if there is going to be a plumbing problem or an appliance is going to die, it will always happen before or during a holiday meal. This year, the death of an appliance actually happened a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. By rights, we would have had the dead unit replaced with a bright, shining and working one before the holiday. But, as is the way of the family, we’d had several other large expenditures that precluded just going out and buying a replacement. Oh, if we’d wanted to run up the charge card, we could have done it, but that is something we try to avoid.

So, fast forward three, almost four weeks and we have finally gotten the new dishwasher. It was delivered and installed yesterday. I’d like to say it went smoothly but, well, this is our family and nothing ever seems to go as smoothly as it could. First of all, the installer forgot to turn off the power so there was one loud POP, many sparks that flew and the pervasive smell of ozone in the air. Fortunately, no power supplies were harmed — at least so far — in the mini-explosion.

Then, once everything was hooked up and the new dishwasher was started, there was no water. He checked for clogs at the outlet. Nope. Everything looked good. Oh, wait, there’s the problem. The water line was kinked. So, more fiddling to get that fixed. Finally, we had a working dishwasher. Fingers crossed that nothing else will go wrong.

Oh, yeah, all that — as well as other minor emergencies that had to be dealt with — meant no work got done yesterday.

But enough of that. Here is your morning dose of really bad writing. Fair warning here. Do not read the link at work where your boss can look over your shoulder. Do not read it if you have anything in your mouth. And do not read it if you are squemish about reading really bad prose.

Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

The winner of the award is Ben Okri for The Age of Magic. And, no, this is not his first novel. It’s his tenth.

“When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain. She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour.

“Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail … The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.”

Being the perverse person that I am, I wondered why her nipple was a switch instead of something like a dimmer switch where he could build the sensations slowly and surely, increasing and decreasing them at will. And that poor guy. He let off a stray rocket. I didn’t think that was something guys wanted to talk about (Hey, I told you. I’m perverse and evil)

If that isn’t enough to send you screaming into the night, here is this runner-up from Richard Flanagan’s “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”:

“Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world.”

Gee, I never knew eyelashes could weigh so much. I’m not even going to talk about the equator analogy.

There’s more but, well, my stomach isn’t quite strong enough to keep reading. One thing about lists like this, they do put things in perspective. Now go forth and write — and try not to be on this awards list, at least not unless your tongue is planted firmly in cheek.


  1. Yet another reminder of why it is better to stick to generalities and leave certain things to go on behind the closed door and/or after the fade to black…

    1. Yep, I’ve done the “woman invites, man accepts, then write about what happens after the lovemaking is over”. thing. [Smile]

      1. Me too. But then, I also sent one set of characters off to Vega to be married by an Elvis impersonator just because it would tick off her very Southern mother. 😉

    2. Yep. This is when being able to write a scene with the same flair that Hitchcock could film a scene would help. Think about the shower scene in Psycho. You never see anything, not really. But it is one of the most impactful scene, imo, in cinematic history. Sex should be written written the same way — lots of innuendo, hints and nothing really set out there for the reader to “see”.

  2. It’s too bad you can’t nominated published works for the Bulwer-Lytton award, because some of those would be easy winners, and not just in the Romance category. I’m feeling a lot better about my tendency to pan to the ceiling and pick up the scene a few hours later.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.