Unfortunately, I read a lot of bad books. What constitutes a “lot”? Honestly, with how short life could be, one bad book is one bad book too many but, intentionally, I read about twelve a year for Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks and Steampunk Erotica by Ora le Broq, the “book” we read for our Convolution 2013 con-recording, was no exception.
How bad is this book? Well…
Consider first the title. Most books have some sort of creative title, referencing either a theme, event, or character in the book. Steampunk Erotica doesn’t take this route, giving a genre rather than a typical book title, although the current theory is that, more than anything, the title is SEO (search-engine optimization). Because let’s face it: porn sells, and if you want someone who is into the steampunk movement/lifestyle to buy your porn you’re going to make it as easy to find as possible.
Then there’s the way the book is written. Now, any author worth their salt will agree with the sentiment that it’s just as important to use the right word as it is to use that word correctly. For instance, there’s a difference between a punch, a slap, and a rap although all three of them mean to strike someone. Something can be incredible, awesome, or amazing. A tragedy can be horrifying, dismaying, sickening or a mixture of all three. These examples show that words can be used interchangeably but impart different meanings despite each one of them being correctly used.
With that in mind, Ora le Broq doesn’t seem to know this lesson or, if she does, willfully chose to ignore it. For instance, we have this gem of “Her [another name for a cat] gobbled his finger to the first digit.” Now, she probably meant that the female character took his finger into her, perhaps quickly and eagerly, and wanted some creative way to express that. However, when I hear the word “gobbled” I think of someone hungrily eating something with quick, sharp bites (not something you want to have actually happen in sex) or a turkey.
Then there’s “Her [MEOW!] slobbered”, a line that stopped the podcast short and scarred some of the audience.
Slobber brings to mind a drooling child or Beethoven the big, shaggy dog whipping his head about and throwing saliva everywhere.
I think we can all agree that there are certain body parts that should never, ever slobber.
And that’s part of the craft of writing, knowing when to use and when NOT to use a particular word. Words are to an author like the colors of paint are to a painter; it’s important to use the right one rather than just slapping anything on the page/canvas.
Before I continue I should warn you that this review is going to feature some descriptions of the sex in this book which, while I’ll tone it down from what’s in the book, are going to be kind of explicit. I’ll put the rest of the review beneath a cut so you can’t skip it if badly-written and improbable sex isn’t your thing and just leave off with “TL;DR, this book is bad, it’s written as if the author were a thirteen year-old boy who had learned about sex by watching really bad Internet porn, and even at $.99 was too expensive for the quality of the content”.
In my opinion sex should never be this boring. So, here goes the cut and away we go…