Orgasmatron : The Erotic & Not So Erotic in SF/F

Content Warning: If you can't tell from the title, this post is going to involve a discussion of erotica and erotic content in science fiction and fantasy.  You have been warned.

My second Arisia panel was Orgasmatron : The Erotic & Not So Erotic in SF/F with JoSelle Vanderhoof (mod), Connie Wilkins (also known as Sacchi Green), and Victoria Janssen.  Originally N. K. Jemisin was also scheduled to be on the panel with us, but since she was on something like 15 panels over the weekend a few of them had to go.

Going in, I was intimidated about this panel, I was the only panelist who was not a published author and/or a professional editor.  But everyone was not only fantastic and friendly, but they valued the fact that I was there as a reader rather than writer/editor.  My notes for this panel went wider than SF/F erotica, because to be honest, there's some seriously sexy science fiction and fantasy that is not written as romance (and in my opinion, often has better written sex than romance novels).  Turns out, we focused largely on erotica/erotic romance, what makes for good erotic writing, and what makes for good SF/F.

One thing that I liked is we focused on what makes something good in our eyes, but avoided heavily bashing things that aren't our game.  We did have some fun with the discussion, particularly of possibly questionable word choices, or maybe bizarre story concepts..  I brought up the phrase "throbbing man-root," someone else brought up the phrase "milking the clitoris," things may have gone down hill from there.  There was a anecdote related by one of the panelists about a book they reviewed where they likened the story to John Norman's Gor novels with "daisy chains of anal sex."  Bizarro-fiction was brought up (such as The Haunted Vagina) as well as the fact that dinosaur erotica exists.  But we tried to remain respectful of the fact that not every story is for every reader.  It's really easy to bash writing that you don't like, be you find it poorly written or object to the content of the story.  It's important to remember that "Your squick may be someone else's squee."  I wish I could properly attribute that quote, but it hit the point when I quoted it to the panel.

Overall, this panel was a blast, and one that we could have gone on in more depth outside of the allotted time frame.  For those interested, I've compiled at partial list (ie. what I can remember) of titles and authors mentioned.

Honorable Mentions

Skin Games / Jim Butcher - The Dresden Files are not erotic novels by a long shot, there's no much sex on or off screen in the books.  However, I really liked the "sex" scene that occurs early on in this book.  Butcher did a great job with the build of tension and setting.

Protecting His Witch / Zoe Forward - This is a paranormal romance novel with a dominant alpha male love interest who cares about consent, and the author writes sexy and in-the-moment affirmative consent.  Kudos to that.

Charles Stross - Across a number of his books Stross explores the 'what-if' of sexuality, often creating a setting within 'normal' sex is distinctly different than the hetero-normative sexual norm of today.  One particular example of this is in Accelerando, which starts in a "near future" of a post-antibiotic society where BDSM has become the norm, but the idea of exchanging body fluids is nearly a terrifying oddity.

Fledgling / Octavia Butler - This book is on the list not because it is erotic, but because of the transgressive and well written nature of the sex within it.  The main character in the book appears to be a pre-adolescent black girl, when she is actually significantly older and the end result of a breeding program among vampires to increase tolerance to sunlight.  Part of the symbiotic relationship between the vampires and the humans they feed off of is sex.  This makes for deliberate discomfort while reading.

SF/F Erotica and Erotic Romance
Sacchi Green reviews for D. L. King's erotica review site

Lustfully Ever After : Fairy Tale Erotic Romance / Kristina Wright (ed) - Adult re-imagining of classic fairy tales, some with interesting and surprising results.

Hot and Steamy : Tales of Steampunk Romance / Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg (eds) - As the title indicates, a collection of short stories combining steampunk and romance.

Best Erotic Science Fiction & Fantasy / Cecelia Tan - A highly creative and well curated collection of SF/F erotica.

Carnal Machines / D. L. King (editor) - I reviewed this one awhile back, and my review inspired my mom to ask to borrow my copy of it.  Fantastic collection of creative and sex-positive steampunk erotica.  D. L. King has also edited several other anthologies that fit within SF/F.

Kushiel's Dart / Jacqueline Carey - Politics and a god-touched courtesan that feels pain and pleasure as the same.  Not erotica, but filled with kinky sex.

Cthulhurotica / Carrie Cuinn (ed) - Not as explicitly erotic as the title suggests, but a collection of intriguing, titillating, and disturbing stories.

Emma Holly - Writer of paranormal erotic fantasy

Magic University / Cecilia Tan - Likened to a 'grown-up Harry Potter,' Magic University tells the story of a young man attending Harvard who stumbles across a building no one else sees and into a world of magic (and sex... and sex magic).

Erotic SF/F Comics

Lost Girls / Alan Moore & Melinda Gibbs - A pornographic high quality graphic novel set on the cusp of the World War I.  Wendy, Dorothy, and Alice meet in a hotel and share stories of their childhood and their sexual experiences and awakenings while exploring each other in the present.

Xxxenophile / Phil Foglio - A rare in-print (but available for purchase as PDF) erotic comic series.  A very clever and hilarious (in addition to being sexy) science fiction and fantasy comic book.

Curvy / Sylvan Migdal - Adventures of Ana├»s through Candy World.  Contains people made of candy, transgender and transspecies characters, sexy times, and more.

Athena Wheatley, or, Warp and Weft / Sylvan Migdal - A speculative fiction time travel webcomic that explores diversity and social justice.  Only occasionally NSFW.

Oglaf - A raunchy and rather hilarious fantasy webcomic.  Appears to be regularly NSFW.

Slipshine - Pornographic web-comic subscription website, tagline "Comics for people who think sex is FANTASTIC."  Focus on quality comics and stories, not exclusively SF/F, but a huge collection.

Flithy Figments - Erotic comics by women, not exclusively SF/F, but it's there.


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