I overslept a great deal more than I wanted to on this Saturday, but last night I thought of a topic to write about that has gotten me all fired up. So fasten your seat belts, we're headed for the highway of controversy.
Ok, in my quest to find publishers for my material I've noticed that a lot of them have an Erotica section. This whole genre irritates me enough as it is, but the straw that breaks the camel's back here is when companies will say, "We accept erotica but no pornography."
What? Did I just read that?
That's right people: erotica is different from porn, or so THEY say. I'm here to dispel that lucid myth. I'm looking at the dictionary right now as I type this article. You know what it says?
Pornography: "Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal." (answers.com)
How could someone miss that? Now granted, I don't read "erotica" or stuff like that, but I've noticed a great deal of modern fantasy, such as the series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin, and the book "Acacia" by David Anothy Durham have some explicit material. I'm willing to give these guys a bit of leniency, since I'm sure sex is not the major theme of the novels, rather just unnecessary side stories. The point is this: how can you possibly make a distinction? Are erotic novels one step below porn because of the lack of pictures? I don't know, the cover art often seems pretty borderline to me.
The funny thing is that you'll never see big companies like Random House or Tor and Forge advertising an erotica section, the companies are always fairly new and low-budget, often electronic firms. They've probably figured out that these kinda of books push the envelope too far to the edge and will only sell to a certain percentage of the population. Smart move. Why would the literary titans want to pump millions of dollars into a genre of books that are, quite frankly, disgusting? Sexual slavery, women using prosthetics so they can play the male role with their lesbian partners, adultery, rape, and incest? Makes me sick each time I think about it! It's just another useless exploitation of the human imagination and gross depiction of the mistreatment of women...and sometimes men.
I remember reading a quote by some guy long ago who was reviewing an erotic novel, arguing this very issue. He said, "Pornography is just body parts moving together, erotica has a plot." There's...I'm sorry, I just can't see how that's true, since both "genres" have a HUGE theme of sex in one way or another. You NEVER see films compared in this way. Even if the rating is just PG-13, they ALWAYS say "Contains sexual content." No sugarcoating, just the bare, naked truth.
While we're on the subject, is there even such a thing as a "pornographic novel" today? (Yes, there were porn novels written in the Victorian age and so on, but that's another story) I thought it'd be fair to examine the differences between the two, but I can't find any website that sells these books. The only hits I can get on Google are articles written by established authors on the topic.
This whole thing is just stupid. I mean, it's like trying to define how someone can be legally drunk. They're still a danger to everyone out there if they get behind the wheel, but hey, at this toxicity, they may just CRIPPLE someone instead of killing them. I'll bet that a lot of companies are trying to do the same thing, the catch is that I've never heard an erotic novel reader give a good explanation as to what THEY think the difference is.
So what's it going to be readers? Are you a pervert or...a pervert? Honestly, why does anyone buy an erotic novel to begin with? As women say, "They only want one thing."
Now I'm hungry. So, till next time my friends.
Power to the pen and those who wield it with dignity!