The Bad Sex Awards were established with one aim: “To draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction.”
To that noble end, many people nominated Cable’s debut thriller Open Arms.
However, the organisers have revealed their shortlist and the politician simply did not make the cut.
Was his work not filthy enough? Not badly written enough?
It turns out that the judges thought that the raunchy scenes in Open Arms were actually “very discreet.”
They pointedly added a novel does not qualify for the award “simply because its author is a Member of Parliament”.
The biggest name on the final shortlist is iconic author Wilbur Smith nominated for War Cry, co-written with David Churchill.
The South-Africa author has sold over 120 million copies of his action blockbusters over the years. Extraordinarily, over 24 million of those were sold in Italy alone. However it seems that passionate peninsular still has a thing or two to teach him about “amore.”
The judges selected offending passages like “It’s bloody cold. I might get frostbite on my c***” while one character has nipples “standing up as proudly as little guardsmen on parade”.
Elsewhere one character says he wants to explore his lover “like Dr Livingstone and Mr Stanley exploring Africa”.
Another contender, The Future Won’t Be Long by Turkish-American author Jarett Kobek, compares the sexual qct to a “pulsing wave”, a “holy burst” and a “congress of wonder”.
The Seventh Function of Language by France’s Laurent Binet includes the distinctly unsexy moment a man woos a woman with the words: “Let’s construct an assemblage.”
In fact it seems the judges struggled this year to find sufficiently bad smut.
The Literary Review’s Frank Brinkley said:“There’s plenty of sex around (such as in Patrick Ness) but a lot of it is quite good. Maybe we are having an effect – definitely literary fiction’s changing and the ‘Oh sod it, I’ll put in a sex scene’ attitude that prompted the creation of the award has pretty much fallen by the wayside. Maybe publishers aren’t pushing for it in the way that ‘sex sells’ was used as a prompt 15 years ago, either. All to the good.”
The Bad sex award 2017 shortlist:
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet
The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen
Mother of Darkness by Venetia Welby
As a God Might Be by Neil Griffiths
The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek
War Cry by Wilbur Smith (with David Churchill)
Here Comes Trouble by Simon Wroe