I was just four years old. I went through a phase of retiring with my entire plastic prehistoric menagerie, bought from the Sentry Box. My older sister said she had to wait until I was asleep before prising the tyrannosaurs and triceratops from my grasp, lest I should hurt myself in my sleep. I loved them, you see.
Fast-forward three decades and it seems I’m not alone in my choice of bedfellows. We arrive at the new frontier of fiction: Christie Sims’ dinosaur erotica. That’s, dinosaurs… having sex… with people.
Now, I am about to commit a cardinal sin of criticism by commenting on a work I haven’t read. However, given its recent exposure through social media, I think I can dig out the bare bones of Sims’ work.
First things first: why didn’t she call it Tyrannosaurus Sex? A literary open goal missed. She decided to go for Taken By The T-Rex instead - perhaps because in a certain context, “taken” implies “devoured”, a process we can more readily connect to a tyrannosaurus. You know, like those horrible news reports about some poor bugger in South Africa or Australia being “taken by a great white”.
Strewth. Now I’m thinking about shark sex. Squalorotica? Have people written books about this already? Have a look on Amazon if you must; I don’t want to. I guess if it’s even slightly dirty and you’ve thought about it, someone’s already made it happen on the internet.
Secondly: Logistical issues. There’s that awkward fact of dinosaurs having died out millions of years before humans first slinked out of the trees. That’s been no barrier to authors before, admittedly. But what I can’t quite figure out is the mechanics of dinosaur erotica. They tend to be bigger than humans, so there are issues of, er, accommodation to consider.
It reminds me of a news story a few years ago concerning a guy who was up in court after he was caught having sex with a bicycle. I had the mental equivalent of the Krypton Factor “blocks” round as I puzzled out the mechanics of this. “Sex with a bicycle? How?” (Hint: You have to take the saddle off… and, well, go from there.)
Ditto dinosaur sex. Now, Ravished by the Triceratops, I can see how that fits. Sorta. But Taken by the T-Rex? What’s next? Diddled by the Dimetrodon? Who, what, when, where, how and why?
Oh, right…. It’s to do with their tongues. I see… Good lord, I’ll never be able to watch Doug McClure strip to the waist and wrestle rubber monsters again!
All joking aside, it seems that Kindle’s invisibility cloak is helping to push new frontiers of filth. That person on the Tube could be reading Simone de Beauvoir, for all you know; equally, they could be charging through Stripping for the Stegosaurus.
In literary terms, we’re witnessing evolution in action. Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t a fluke; someone, pardon the expression, saw it coming. And I wonder: is literary erotica driven by women? In How To Be A Woman, Caitlin Moran talks about how women’s fantasies are different from men’s in ways that men can’t really understand, hammering square pegs into square holes, as we do. If you dare, have a look at the top erotica writers on Amazon; they’re mostly women (unless some men are fibbing). Is the same true of the readership?
That said, dinosaur erotica is a bit of a leap for anyone. I can’t imagine Mary Anning, as she hacked away at her rocks in search of plesiosauruses, thinking about being pleasured by them… although the title permutations certainly please me.
What does dino-sex augur for the future of literature? There’s no doubt that self-publishing directly to Kindle or Kobo or similar, with a potential readership of millions, has opened up new frontiers for blue books. Like visual pornography, it can be difficult to tell if the technology is driving the art, or vice versa. Kindle makes it easy to hide what you’re reading. In this, I’m reminded of John Waters’ famous theory about the real reason VHS was invented.
What dino-rotica and similar bizarre fetishes prove is that we are entering a new era of guilty pleasures. The new porn is a step closer to our Id; a direct download from the shadier parts of our psyches. In many cases it’s running free, unfettered by agents, editors, reading panels or slush pile prowlers. Perhaps the recent furore over e-books - allied to a slow acceptance that yes, people do like to read and write about sex, and some of it quite ghastly - shows us that there may be a long way to go before such tastes can seem normal. Or at least, good clean fun.
Or it could be that someone was simply having a laugh. Dinosaur erotica?! I can’t wait to see what she does with a diplodocus.