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31 May 2011, 9:00 am One Comment

Literotica: Titilating Tales of Ribaldry

This post was submitted by Topher Burns

courtesy Cleis Press

At TNG we get a lot of pitches for stuff that’s gay.  Sometimes it’s noteworthy or important, sometimes it’s tedious. The Handsome Prince, a compilation of short works of gay erotic fiction, is none of those things and I couldn’t volunteer fast enough to review it.

According to the back cover, which also promises that “someday, your prince will come (and come again),” The Handsome Prince is a “bawdy collection of bedtime stories brimming with classic fairy tale characters, reimagined and recast… The one thing all of these stories have in common, along with the original fairy tales, is a happy ending.  Whether it’s happily ever after or happy for now, when these guys find their princes, hot steamy sex ensues.”

I’m never one to turn down something bawdy. We’ve all furtively cracked open a Harlequin and scanned for words like “turgid” before – there’s something sort of naughty about seeing lewd words in print that even the most salacious of internet pornography just can’t capture.

"Bawdy" you say...?

The Handsome Prince delivers on the obligatory clichés, with “pulsing” this and “breathless” that, and all in good fun around its theme.  The collection of stories doesn’t revolutionize the world of erotic fiction, but blue literature is hardly the realm in which you’d seek out Joycean innovation in the first place.  For me the fun of these types of stories is as a jumping off point for the reader’s imagination.  The same basic equations, descriptors, and outcomes free the reader to fill in the details of his own fantasy.

An article I was reading recently entitled “Your Brain on Porn” really highlights the opposite end of the spectrum.  With a few clicks you can experience every imaginable type of sexual act featuring every imaginable partner – if sex is a banquet then erotic fiction might be a rich meal but internet porn is unlimited free fast food.  Because reading is more mentally interactive I’d bet that indulging in erotic literature doesn’t have the mind-numbing, reality-warping power that an hour spent in the seedier districts of the interweb does.  The Marquis de Sade still has a few lessons for Chi Chi La Rue.

And speaking of saucy fiction, have you checked out TNG’s Ruben Diaz writing contest?  New York’s number one voice for bigotry is none-to-pleased to be fodder for the twisted, brilliant imaginations of TNG readers, and he’s making a fuss we frankly couldn’t be more pleased about (The Advocate, New York Observer). Thank you Rube, may we have another? If you’d like to compose your own tawdry tale to shame (or celebrate?) one of the most strident opponents of gay rights check out the contest rules here and get out your Quills!


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