The nominees for Literary Review's 2009 Bad Sex in Fiction Awards were announced last Friday evening.
The awards were established by the editors to "gently dissuade authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels." They are annually awarded to the author who produces the worst, most laughable and/or jarring description of a sexual encounter in a modern novel.
At first, we thought we'd hit the jackpot: Ungrammatical sex scenes! Yes! (And yes, and yes!) Apparently, though, this is not the case. We don't completely follow this paragraph, but it ends with dirty punctuation puns, which earns automatic forgiveness:
In other words, when sex scenes go horribly wrong secondary to punctuation, syntax, or falling off a cliff into a seething, moist cleft of sexual imagination, and penetrating, deeper into the black velvet-painting darkness, with pen and paper meeting as one in a turgid embrace that ends with exhausted stylus squirting its bounty directly upon the face of the laid paper, the defiled page now laying there, humiliated but with a twisted smile. "Did you comma?" the pen asked. "I prefer verso to recto," the paper said, suggestively, "semi-colon."
The award itself is in the form of a "semi-abstract trophy representing sex in the 1950s," which depicts a naked woman draped over an open book.
This year's nominees are (with brief excerpts from offending passages)...