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David Hines [userpic]

the most horrifying thing Piers Anthony has ever written

January 25th, 2010 (09:02 pm)

Some of you folks may recall that a while ago I mentioned that the curious thing about Piers Anthony, to me, is that while people often dump on Anthony for being weird, skeevy, disturbing, and that sort of thing, nobody doing so ever mentions the stuff that *I* find to be really disturbing. (And remember, when we say "Piers Anthony" we're talking about the guy who wrote protoplasmic sex scenes and a story with a dude boinking a mentally retarded woman who was hooked up to a milking machine.) This is odd as hell, because I remember glancing at the book when it first came out, doing a massive double-take on reading that passage, and thinking, "Holy dogshit, this'll get him run out of town on a rail." Curiously, that never happened.

I'm referring to TATHAM MOUND, in which Piers Anthony's hero boinks a ten-year-old girl, using honey for lube.

Thereafter he had the favors of many maidens, some quite young. In the Castile tribe a girl was not supposed to indulge in sexual activity until she was married, which could be some winters after she was fully developed. Here she was free to do it the moment her breasts formed, or even somewhat before, if she felt inclined. Already he had learned enough to know that age was not the criterion; the will of the maiden was. A man could not force a woman, unless he was married to her; he could only do what she wished. Among them was one who seemed to be hardly ten winters old, and her body was not yet developed. She had no prior experience. But she desired the favor of the handsome visitor, and he was obliged to render it. She alone came to him purely for love; she was smitten with him, and afraid he would depart before she grew old enough to attract him, so she came now. It was his first conquest of a genuinely inexperienced girl, and he had the wit to proceed with caution, so that she would not be hurt. In fact, he moved so slowly that she grabbed his penis impatiently and crammed it into her cleft, which was overflowing with honey. In her naïveté she had used too much. Honey squeezed out and got all over everything, but it did make the penetration easier. He was afraid that it was hurting her even so, but she seemed not to care. Everything was clumsy. Evidently he succeeded in initiating her appropriately, despite his misgivings, for the following evening Mouse Pelt returned, and expressed her pleasure with him in a most thoroughgoing manner. What a difference experience made!


AUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. OH PIERS ANTHONY NO.

ETA: it has been brought to my attention that this is far from the worst thing Piers Anthony has ever written. In his novel FIREFLY, Anthony wrote a detailed thrust-by-thrust (or, to be more precise, wriggle-by-wriggle) pedophilic sex scene, described by a five-year-old girl, who is depicted as quite literally asking for it. The five-year-old is being interviewed for the trial of the guy who was molesting her. She is eidetic and demonstrative, even to the point of having the (female) interviewer act out positions. At the end, the child realizes that her molester is In Major Trouble and starts crying, because she knows that telling the truth has gotten the guy sent up the river. She says she wishes she'd never done this, that she's sorry and such is the depth of her True Love that --

"So am I, dear," the interviewer murmured, wiping her eyes. "I wish I had
never done this."

* * *


The courtroom was quiet as the videotape ended. The Jury sat stunned. Several
jaws hung slack. One jury woman was openly weeping. No one had anticipated a
story like this.

The Judge refocused his eyes and mopped his brow with a handkerchief. "Is—is the
Defense ready to proceed?"

"We are, Your Honor. We believe that this poignant tape establishes that though the Defendant may be technically guilty of the charge against him, he is not morally guilty. He did not seek the girl, he did not force his attention on her. He demurred at every stage, by her own testimony. It was entirely voluntary on her part. In fact, they were lovers, in the truest sense, age no barrier. The law may say he is guilty, but the law is sometimes an ass."

Several members of the Jury nodded their agreement.

Then he turned to the Jury. "If there is guilt here, then surely it is that of the father, who set her up by incestuously toying with her. And of her brother, who practiced sodomy on her with a candle. Remember, it was to escape that abuse that she first fled and found the Defendant. The Defendant never hurt her. He did only what she asked. He gave her what no other man did. He loved her. We may take issue with the manner of the expression of that love, but we cannot deny its reality. She came to him of her own accord, again and again, because what he offered her was so much better than what she received at home. Her family should be on trial!"


Spoiler: the dude goes to prison anyway.

Incidentally, when the little girl (who goes by "Nymph" in the story) tells the molester about her home life, he explains, and that explanation leads into their sex scene. Thusly:

"Your father wants to have sex with you, but doesn't dare, and your brother wants to, but doesn't know how."

"What's sex?"

"That's when a man and a woman—a grown man and grown woman—get together and do it. Children aren't supposed to.'

She didn't know what he meant. A look of great perplexity showed on her face.

"What do they do?"

"They take off their clothes and lie on a bed and, well, they do it."

"What do they do? I don't understand!"

"Well, he puts his—I guess you don't know the words—his thing in her thing."

"Why?"

"Because it's a hell of a lot of fun, kid!"

"You mean like when Daddy plays with me?"

"Yes, only more so. A lot more so."

"I want to do it!" she told him.


I refuse to transcribe any more of it.

Comments

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Posted by: Mara (marag)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
Just shoot me

::wince:: Yes, Piers Anthony can be very disturbing. Skeevy is the least of it. I don't think I can read this without my head exploding...

Posted by: Supreme Dictator of Hyperbole (treelines)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
[R] - ugh!

A man could not force a woman, unless he was married to her
WTFFFFFFFFF

UGGGGHHHHHH, SO SKEEVED OUT BY THIS WHOLE PASSAGE
"CRAMMED IT INTO HER CLEFT," SAKDJFA, AND THAT STUPID EXCLAMATION MARK

CAN'T UNREAD IT, THOROUGHLY REPULSED

Posted by: peeps wanna see peeps boink (musesfool)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
eek

Okay, I knew he had some weird...proclivities in his writing, but I did not need to know about this! OH PIERS ANTHONY NO indeed.

Posted by: Tim Pierce (qwrrty)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)

Is the hero of this book really, honestly, named "Throat Shot"? No foolin'?

Posted by: Ellen (keyne)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
facepalm

HONEY? As lube?

<cringe>

Posted by: Betty (brown_betty)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)

I know it's not the most terrible part, but yes, that's where my brain's last defense was breached too.

Posted by: Cathryn (formerly catslash) (remindmeofthe)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
what the shit Fantine? - credit 10little

I like how he's going for this lofty, fairytale-esque tone, and then he just totally ruins it with this:

Honey squeezed out and got all over everything, but it did make the penetration easier.

Such dreamy, romantic phrasing!

(Yes, I'd rather snark the trees than take a look at the forest. It's easier that way.)

Posted by: Andrew Lambdin-Abraham (kd5mdk)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:35 am (UTC)
Will to be stupid (ase blue)

2 bad things in one sentence. For this story, it's merely average.

Posted by: leftarrow (leftarrow)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Fail

and he had the wit to proceed with caution

Just no *other* wits, apparently.

*needs brainbleach*

Also, is it actual honey? For a minute there I thought it was, like, honeypot honey. But then maybe not. I AM APPARENTLY MORE UNNERVED BY THE HONEY THAN THE MULTIPLE OTHER VASTLY MORE HORRIFYING THINGS HERE.

Posted by: Vvalkyri (vvalkyri)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)

One would hope it was 'honeypot honey' but then "but she used too much" so I guess she gets her first yeast infection, too.

Aigh.
Or maybe it's Honey Brand Lube? Waterbased, for easy cleaning?

Posted by: O.K. (caprinus)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)

Posted by: shannon j.l. (shanejayell)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Nao-WTF

*wince*

Ewww.

I used to really like Xanth, too. At least the first couple of books.

Posted by: madripoor_rose (madripoor_rose)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)

Eeeew.

And now I'm ashamed I used to collect the Xanth books as a tween.

Posted by: Sidney Crosby is a gateway drug (jamethiel_bane)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Yelling

....

AUGH. There is so much wrong on so many levels.

(I don't read Piers Anthony because he is wrong and he should feel wrong. GOOD GOD)

Posted by: Randall Randall (randallsquared)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)

This does not need to be a t-shirt. Please.

Posted by: soundingsea (soundingsea)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
btvs/ats - connor - ocean

Heh, his book Firefly is even worse. IIRC the little girl is 5. FIVE.

I can't believe I read so much of his stuff when I was a pre-teen.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

Y'know, I'd never read FIREFLY, and on your comment I did a quick check and JEEZUS.

He also had a young girl justifying pedophilia and human trafficking in the BIO OF A SPACE TYRANT series. (She was sold to a rich man, whom she called "Uncle," and yeeaaaggghhh.)

Edited at 2010-01-26 03:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Grey Bard (grey_bard)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)

Posted by: 3fgburner (3fgburner)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 04:46 am (UTC)

Klink? Take him out back, und schoot him.

[/GeneralBurkhalter] I'm really glad I quit reading him after the Xanth books got old.

Posted by: Minim Calibre (minim_calibre)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC)

Wow. Apparently, this was written at least 4-5 years after I stopped reading Piers Anthony.

And to think, I had thought there wasn't any way in HELL he could go lower than the milking machine thing.

Posted by: tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
Book

Right now I am just so, so grateful that I gave up on Piers Anthony after four books, or I might eventually have gotten to this one. As it is, I got 20 extra years free of this TOTAL HORROR OH GOD EW EW EW. (I love how he manages to throw in an extra layer of horror - not only is there the FUCKING a TEN YEAR OLD part, there's the added fillip of "A man could not force a woman, unless he was married to her." OH MY GOD SOMEONE INVENT A TIME MACHINE AND GO BACK AND PUT A TRACKING ANKLET ON ANTHONY STAT. Also, while you're at it, please burn his manuscripts.)

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

Best part: he has one book (LETTERS TO JENNY) that's his collected letters to a fan. It is a one-sided correspondence, because the fan is *an (initially) comatose young girl.*

I... am not letting Piers Anthony near my comatose young daughter, okay? He's an old hippie and I'm sure he's the sweetest dude, but, just, yeah, that ain't happening.

Posted by: Calyx of the Heavens (heavenscalyx)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Maevele (maevele)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:54 am (UTC)

Y'know, I read a lot of piers anthony as an impressionable young whatsit of like 12-16 and never gave them much of a second thought after I outgrew his stuff and moved on to good sf, other than re-reading a couple of the immortals books. holy shit, now that I give them that second thought? EEEEEEEAAAAWWWWWWGHHHGHH!

I picked up a couple of the Phaze books on the dollar back before the holidays, and just hav leftthem in the bag.

Posted by: Jess (raanve)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)

The phase books were some of my earliest introduction to spec lit - there was a book with a unicorn on the cover (albeit a chestnut one), and so I went for it. I read a LOT of Anthony before I eventually got tired of it in high school. (For a while, I always got a Xanth paperback in my stocking.)

Now I shudder. I considered going back & reading for snark, but if I'm going to run into shit like this, I can probably find better things to snark.

Posted by: were_duck (were_duck)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Tim Pierce (qwrrty)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: [will fuck for sex] (anatsuno)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)

Posted by: and things we're all too young to know (darlas_mom)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: SithRose (sithrose)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)

Posted by: Azz (bolt of blue) Обещанного три года ждут. (azurelunatic)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)

Posted by: Cesare (almostnever)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
grant - cornered

Yow. Linked here by a friend who's had to hear me cry about Anthony's depiction of child molestation as consensual in his novel Firefly.

The little girl in Firefly was five.

No honey in that one, at least.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

I just found a copy of FIREFLY and skimmed it.

That scene is worse, far, far, far worse, than the excerpt above.

Posted by: Cesare (almostnever)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)

Did you ever read Race Against Time? It's his book about how in the future race goes away, everyone is kind of beige, and society stagnates and is HORRIBLE due to lack of race. So they genetically engineer/breed various races again (also there are three races: caucasian, african and asian). They mange to breed/create a "pure" pair of each race. Then, because without race everyone is a slacker, hi-jinks ensue. It turns out the white guy wants to get with the african girl, the asian dude wants to hit it with a non-asian chick and CHAOS HORROR OMG. At the end of the book the pure members of the races realize that it's important to create races again and stuff.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

But then they discover Earth's True History and the African girl finds out about the slave trade and her attraction to white dude is instantly over and he slinks away in a pile of white guilt and hooks up with the white chick.

I am certain that Anthony meant it to be Deeply Profound.

Posted by: Betty (brown_betty)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Maevele (maevele)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 08:20 am (UTC)

Posted by: FIERCENESS (polymexina)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)

Posted by: FIERCENESS (polymexina)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC)

Posted by: pokeyburro (pokeyburro)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)

I wonder what his editor thinks.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

"Oh, look! A license to print a modest amount of money!"

Posted by: pokeyburro (pokeyburro)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Brucha (mindset)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)

Posted by: Grey Bard (grey_bard)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)

I... did not even know this scene existed. Because of all his books, I never read this one. Thank god.

OH PIERS ANTHONY NO!

Posted by: Grey Bard (grey_bard)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
Useless Knowledge?

OH GOD. And when I was, myself, a squickily young girl, I wrote him a (g-rated)fan-letter and he replied and said something about how precocious I was.

EEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Um. He probably didn't mean it that way. BUT IN RETROSPECT.

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)

Posted by: james_nicoll (james_nicoll)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)

May I link to this? I want to show my readers how grateful they should be that the worst I link to are Orson Scott Card screeds.

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: January 26th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
oh john ringo no

No need to ask me -- my attitude on such things is, "It's the internet, man; linking is the whole point." Though (especially with the addendum), your readers may be *really unhappy* if you do. Lord knows I am GIVE ME BRAIN BLEACH GYEEARRRGGGG.

Edited at 2010-01-26 11:28 pm (UTC)

Posted by: grime and livestock (cofax7)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)

Posted by: JoSelle (upstart_crow)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)

Here via James' link.

WTF

WTF

WTF

A REALLY GOOD FRIEND OF MINE USED TO READ THE XANTH BOOKS WHEN WE WERE IN FUCKING JUNIOR HIGH.


aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Posted by: Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 05:25 am (UTC)
feminist

I am vomiting in my mind. Close to doing it in the flesh.

Posted by: Azz (bolt of blue) Обещанного три года ждут. (azurelunatic)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
eyespork

Also here via james_nicoll.

Posted by: iscariot (izcariot)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)

Anthony wrote great first books, then complete rubbish for the rest of a series; however, it is fair to say that they only thing worse than his writing is his arrogance, which is on a par with Harlan Ellison, although without any of Ellison's redeeming talent.

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