Observations: Erotica's time has finally come again
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Saturday 28 July 2012
Thanks to the swelling popularity of EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey, the sight of commuters reading erotica on public transport is commonplace. In the early Seventies, however, it was a rare thrill. So recalls author Brian Aldiss, now 86, whose first sex-themed novel, The Hand-Reared Boy, was published in 1970.
“I was once sitting on the train from Oxford to London,” he says, “opposite a young woman who was reading The Hand-Reared Boy. I thought, 'Fantastic!' When we stopped, I got off [the train] and said, 'You're reading a book I wrote. Do you like it?' She was terribly embarrassed. I said, 'Let's go and have a coffee, or go to your place?' A generous offer, I thought! But she was pretty snooty about it, or shy.”
Aldiss is best known for his science fiction writing, but The Hand-Reared Boy was the first in a trilogy featuring his semi-autobiographical protagonist, Horatio Stubbs. It is perhaps best described as a “cumming-of-age” story: “I lay back in a swoon,” says Horatio of a teenage encounter with the housemaid. “The feeling rose and flowered and burst magnificently, and my body seemed to churn into dozens of delighted particles. It was my first orgasm.”
The saga including A Soldier Erect (1971) and A Rude Awakening (1978), is being republished as an e-book by HarperCollins' experimental imprint The Friday Project, as are all the works from Aldiss's 60 years as a writer: a back catalogue of nearly 100 books. Was he tempted to use a pseudonym for his erotica? “No. And anyway, there's a lot of sex in a lot of my other books.” Were he writing Stubbs again in this liberated age, he says, “I'm sure there are other things that I'd include. All sorts of disgusting things.”
'The Horatio Stubbs Trilogy' is available as an ebook, £7.99
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >