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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.

OH PIERS ANTHONY NO.Collapse )

Comments

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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)

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

(Deleted comment)
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: Mindset (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)

(Deleted comment)
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: Azure Jane Lunatic (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.

Posted by: O.K. (caprinus)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)

Damn, I wish half my library weren't in boxes, because I could swear I've read Moorcock and Lieber stories cut from the same cloth. But I don't remember which...

Posted by: Mindset (mindset)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
escapist

Oh yes, Piers Anthony. D: I was a regular reader from about age 9 (found a copy of A Spell for Chameleon in my aunt's apartment) to age 15 or so. (I kept buying the books till I was about 17-18, but just out of habit.) I commented upthread regarding the Xanth switch from Del Rey to Avon and how the books seemed to have no editing anymore, but one of the other reasons I got so turned off was the constant focus on child sexuality. It was frankly creepy.

I mean, Bink is 25 in ASFC, there's sex in that book, whatever. In Book 13, Isle of View Dolph is, IIRC, 12, and marries a 13-year-old and consummates the relationship. It was bothersome no matter how much the plot tried to rationalize it. Plus the infantilization of referring it as "stork summoning" and the constant focus on panties was again, creepy. It's very hard to believe those books are still going, over 15 years after I gave up on them.

And Incarnations of Immortality, while they too started out great (in my teenage opinion) -- albeit with a few disturbing bits not quite on the level of the barn story, but up there -- totally went to creepy creepy hell by the last book. There's a teenage girl who the main characters save from being raped, and then they move her into a judge's house, and she and the judge hook up, and everybody's fine with that! (It does preclude him from becoming God in the end, surprisingly.)

And I can't remember much about the last Adept book, but I think it also had very young characters who of course were completely sexually mature and demanding. It also had a really crappy plot, but anyway...

The Pratchett thread on the previous page is interesting. When I was 19, Pterry was doing a US tour, and his bookstore signing in the Chicago area was incredibly under-attended -- I think maybe 7 people showed up, including me. But it made for a great, personal conversation about how we got into reading fantasy, and I admitted ruefully that I used to be a Xanth/Anthony fan. All of us there shuddered, including Terry, and I received lots of sympathy and congrats for learning better. :)

(BTW, other authors who tried to get the humorous fantasy concept in the 80s-early 90s and totally fail in retrospect? Craig Shaw Gardner. Not that he was creepy at all, it's just the writing kind of sucks.)

Posted by: Barbies May Bite Me (obsession_inc)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)

In Book 13, Isle of View Dolph is, IIRC, 12, and marries a 13-year-old and consummates the relationship. It was bothersome no matter how much the plot tried to rationalize it.

OH GOD. I HAD FORGOTTEN THAT. OH GOD.

I remember finding the Xanth books when I was ten, and reading Anthony stuff by the bucketload until I was thirteen or so and it finally occurred to me that something is not right with this guy.

Posted by: Margalo Streussal (streussal)
Posted at: January 28th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Starshadow (arielstarshadow)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
What??

You know, you'd think those of us who regularly read james_nicoll would have learned better by now.

We are masochists, apparently.

This is...there are no words.

Posted by: tlonista.wordpress.com (ext_114031)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)

Here via James Nicoll. WHY DID I CLICK. WHY IS THERE NOTHING TO THROW UP.

Posted by: That Chick with the Evil Laugh (sparkymonster)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)

UM UM UMMMMM

HOLY SHIT WTF THE BITS FROM FIREFLY WTF OMG OM GOMG

Posted by: Fandom: karass or granfalloon. Discuss. (sherrold)
Posted at: January 27th, 2010 11:15 pm (UTC)

You know, there's nothing in his Wikipedia article about any of this -- not even a hint. (Though he does sound like a pain to his publishing companies.)

If anyone's a wikipedian, this sounds like a great place for an edit or two.

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