Book Supplement

Deconstruc-tion for the Masses

We Are Hungering for Something Else

Celebrity Is Never an Art

The Anatomy of Difficulty

Reviewers Who Love Too Much

New Pornographers' Manifesto

Record Label Turns to publishing

What Poetry is For

THE THRILL OF GRIEF

Charles Mudede on His Sister-In-Law

Plastiques

A Moment in the Park with Galaxy Craze

Poetry That Pushes

NO END TO TRYING

The World From Inside a Tiny Writing Group

Sex: Fiction's Hamburger Helper

Fame! I'm Going to live Forever!

What You Might at First Hate

MEET THE NARRATEMES

Bruce à la Bruce

Gary Lutz, Anaesthete

To Get Famous, Punch Somebody

Rifficult Deading

LIGHTNING ON PAPER

J'Accuse!: An Argument About the Value of Conflict of Interest in Books Criticism

Scandinavian Sex

Bret Easton Ellis

The Year of Reading about Proust

THE JIMINY CRICKET INSIDE ME

Reviews

Hot Off the Net
by Russ Kick
(Black Books) $15

According to Russ Kick, the editor of Hot Off the Net, good erotica on the Internet is outweighed one-hundred-fold by the absolutely terrible. "I've read more of it than any human being should have to," he boasts. But if Hot Off the Net is the best of what the Net has to offer, and if he's read thousands of similar pieces, then, as Mr. T once put it, I pity the fool.

Though the Internet provides mostly safe ways to explore various and sundry sociopathic fantasies, it rarely provides electric erotic writing. Certainly it is better for someone to share a necrophiliac fantasy on a bulletin board than to dig up Grandma's grave, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the fantasy finds a passage from the pervert's head into the small world of worthy prose.

The tired language in this collection is as revolting as the stories themselves. Besides the usual "erotic" fare of cocks, cunts, asses, and tits, there are stock shock stories about sex with dead people, animals, and one's family members.

The closest thing to a poetic moment in the entire volume is a story called "Beach Slut," which repeats the words cock and cunt so many times one is distantly reminded of Gertrude Stein's language experiments. And then there is "True Love," which has this atrocious passage: "The amber charge was rank and heady. Rich organic flavors reminiscent of stew and over-boiled cabbage vied with the inevitably repulsive sting of digestive juices." Sick yet?

One thing this book proves is that great erotic writing is not democratic. You can't dip into the demotic ether of the Internet and expect to come up with a handful of the new and amazing. Great erotic writing can only descend from the tyrants (cf. anything by de Sade) and not rise up from the people.