Today in publishing and literature: The Literary Review's roundup of the year's worst sex writing includes Stephen King and Haruki Murakami, Mark Danielewski gets $1 million for 37 percent of his upcoming serialized novel, and even Mark Cuban has embraced self-publishing.
- The Literary Review has announced the shortlist for this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award. On Twitter, the publication highlighted the clinical, overheated, and/or ham-fisted bedroom scenes that helped each text earn its on the list. each text secure its spot on the list. Here are the 12 finalists, accompanied by a cringeworthy passage. (Note: A few of these are NSFW, but most are fun and silly.)
- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami ("A freshly made ear and a freshly made vagina look very much alike.")
- On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry ("We got rid of our damned clothes, and clung, and he was in me then.")
- The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey ("Every part of my body sang some song I had never heard.")
- Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas ("They hit gracefully on this exceedingly advantageous position.")
- 11.22.63 by Stephen King ("Her head bonked on the door. 'Ouch,'I said. 'Are you all right?'")
- Ed King by David Guterson ("At the moment of their mutual climax, Ed made sure Diane was on top.")
- The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M Auel ("It surged up, unti, with volcanic release, it engulfed them.")
- The Affair by Lee Child ("Then faster and harder. Then we were panting. faster, harder, faster, harder.")
- Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas ("My tongue furiously worked the craters.")
- Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller ("We're part of the same organism: some outrageous sea creature.")
- Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy ("Henry reached up her thighs ... as though quietly imploring.)
- The Great Night by Chris Adrian ("His lady lifted to the stars on his impossibly stiff, impossibly elegant cock.")
- Mark Z. Danielewski, author of the very scary, very elliptical House of Leaves, has signed a $1 million deal with Pantheon Books for the first ten installments of a planned 27-volume novel called The Familiar. Starting in 2014, the plan is for Danielewski to release one installment every three months, which means the book will be wrapping up some time in 2021. Contemporary authors love to dabble in serialized publication (Stephen King did it with The Green Mile), It was a necessary way of doing business back in, say, 1859, when nobody had Kindles and owning a bound book was still a luxury reserved for the Miss Havishams of the world, but now it seems vaguely exploitative. Even if each installment sells for a dollar, readers will end up spending more than they would on a single print or Ebook copy. Danielewski's editor tells The New York Times it's all about getting people talking and creating a "serial relationship" between the author and his fans. But who wants to be in a relationship with someone who's quietly soaking you? [Media Decoder]
- The Q.R. Markham plagiarism scandal was an embarrassment for the author and publisher Little, Brown, but it should go down as triumph for the average reader. Stuart Kelly of The Guardian points out that in Markham's case, ""it was fans who first detected the purloined words, not a piece of software." Kelly continues: "The Bond fans knew their books – and later unacknowledged borrowings were swiftly found once the initial theft was made public." The wide availability of original source material online, Kelly argues, confuses us by serving as "prosthetic memory." We may collect novels on Kindles and a singer's entire back catalog on iTunes, but it's useless unless you're engaging it. It's experience that teaches us what to look for, and gives us the ability to sniff out something that's not quite right., [The Guardian]
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is adapting a series of blog posts into a 30,000-word Ebook that he's planning to self-publish. The book itself isn''t particularly noteworthy (it's called How to Win at the Sport of Business and looks to be one of those management books that uses sports as a frame), but what is significant is that if Cuban wanted to write the book ten years ago, he'd almost certainly have to go through a traditional publisher, and there'd be agents and lawyers and lots of money going in lots of different directions. Now he's doing it himself. Which is great for him, not great for people in the publishing business, and dire for people who work at the bricks-and-mortar stores that would have stocked the title. [The Wall Street Journal]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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