I’ve peaked! Today sees the official UK release of The Mammoth Book of the Best of the Best New Erotica, a collection of stories selected from fifteen volumes of Maxim Jakubowski‘s bestselling series.
This is doubly delightful because a) I’m in it! And b), for the first time in the series we’ve got a guy included on the cover instead of the usual single, white, sexualised female. Awesome, no? Those of you with long memories may recall that Erotica Cover Watch, the blog I co-founded to campaign against sexism in erotica publishing, launched with a criticism of Mammoth’s covers. When we started ECW, we were concerned (and warned) that speaking out might damage our writing careers. So for me, personally, being in this book represents an artistic and political success. I’m thrilled!
It was also nice to find out about the couple-cover after hearing the sad news that Filament, a magazine that has done masses to challenge the notion that women aren’t interested in eyeing up men, are to close after a hugely successful run.
But to go back to a) I’m in it!, Mammoth is a series which, over the years, has featured fiction from Anne Rice, Kathy Acker, Leonard Cohen, Poppy Z Brite, Ramsey Campbell plus numerous well-respected names from the erotica genre. In his introduction to this new volume, Jakubowski recalls his struggle in the early 90s to persuade his publishers to take erotica on board, and makes a strong case for the validity of erotica as a genre with relevance and literary merit.
Sex was and always will be an integral part of the human make-up and I do strongly feel it is essentially dishonest to censor it out of our writings for the sake of propriety or social convenience. [...] Here are thirty wonderful tales of sex, life, hotness, passion, of erotica at its best. If you have not been converted to the sensual and intellectual pleasures of our genre already, this is your chance.
You hear that? This is your chance!
Best of the Best includes fiction from Marilyn Jaye-Lewis, Poppy Z Brite, Thomas S Roche, Matt Thorne, Carol Queen, Carole Anne Davis, Lucy Taylor, Michael Hemmingson, Lauren Henderson, M. Christian, Mike Kimera, Donna George Storey, Alison Tyler and more. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an anthology where so many of the contributors have wikipedia entries.
Anyways, Happy New Year to you all!
I’d like to wish you Happy New Rear too but, um, eyes right, our ass is currently being corrected! Alison privately confessed she’s always had difficulties with the word ‘annual’ … but anal? Alison Tyler?