Too much sex in novels is boring

When we were growing up, we occasionally heard about sex books that were banned everywhere. “Banned everywhere” meant those books were must-read novels. We were usually disappointed because they focused on a bunch of people having various kinds of scandalous sex for hundreds of words. Yawn

In some of these books, having sex was the plot. In some books, there was a plot–let’s say it was about the good guys vs. the bad guys–that was constantly interrupted by people stopping to have sex. Of course, when you’re in middle school or high school, you don’t care about the plot.

Since most of us didn’t have a lot of experience (sex-wise) in those days, people in the books were constantly doing stuff many of us couldn’t figure out. Needless to say, we couldn’t ask our English teachers or parents what those characters were doing. It would be like reading a book that mentions the Cardi B song WAP (go look it up if you haven’t heard about it) and then going to mom and saying, “Exactly what is WAP?”

There are a few popular novelists writing decent books that keep bogging things down with sex. These books have actual plots. Whenever the plot is about to take an important move forward, the protagonist gets an attack of lust and the action stops while s/he has a night to remember with somebody s/he just met five minutes earlier.

I want to write to the authors that do this and suggest they put the sex in the footnotes. I’m sure it’s there to sell books. But it really messes up the storyline. Maybe I’m just getting old and find no joy anymore reading about gratuitous sex in the back seat of a Buick or even in a $1000-per-night hotel room.

In high school, such things were WOW. Today, they’re as boring as watching a fly standing on the ceiling.  Occasionally, I find an author who knows how to write about sex and, well, it’s like a miracle. But those books are few and far between.

When I was a kid, I found it amusing whenever a book was banned to hear that a long line of educators, philosophers, priests, etc., had read the book and wanted to protect the rest of us from reading the book. The same thing is happening today with WAP. Important people keep “accidentally” hearing the song or seeing the video and telling the rest of us how appalled they were.

I’ve never figured out how somebody accidentally reads a scandalous book or sees a scandalous music video. Perhaps I should take comfort in the fact that those people are trying to shield me from the bad stuff.





Sunday Shatterings -Stormy, Stevie, CNN, Tropical Fish, &c.

You will be happy to know that I’m running out of relevant titles for posts that rhyme with natterings and clatterings and will soon think up better titles.

I’m wondering today when you lost your innocence. (That’s a rhetorical question.) I don’t necessarily mean in the backseat of a car at a drive-in theater while a Godzilla movie was playing on a screen that was barely visible through the fogged up windows. I’m talking about larger issues.

  • Wikipedia art work.

    Since today is Mother’s Day, perhaps it’s fair to say that my world was shattered when I learned that my mother didn’t know everything. She came up to me one time when I was home for a visit from college and said, “Malcolm, I don’t know why you decided to start smoking.” The world moved. How could she not know? I thought she would know before I knew.

  • Many years earlier, I was reading one of those books most of us hide under the mattress and discovered that people had sex pretty much the same way the tropical fish in my aquariums had sex. Okay, well, it doesn’t usually happen while swimming, but otherwise. . . (I’d been told that God simply sent people a baby when he thought they were ready.)
  • On any given day, many newsworthy events happen. My faith in the news media is shattered when–instead of reporting that news–they’re showing panels of talking, and biased “experts” who are telling us what some news event from weeks ago actually means. Frankly (for example), I don’t care about Stormy Daniels and don’t know why she’s getting so much air time. Okay, of course I know why: ratings.
  • Since I ran out of fresh reading material, I picked up a romance novel that has been on our shelves for 32 years. I don’t know where it came from, but I’d never read it. It’s called Through a Glass Darkly. Everyone in the book is obsessed with sex. How boring is that?!
  • Every issue of AARP Magazine ends with the pictures of five or six well known people who are still attractive, busy and successful in spite of being old. Gosh, Stevie Nicks is 70 and Mich Albom and Michelle Pfeiffer are 60. How do these things happen?
  • In other news, I made a pot roast this week that came out okay, my wife and I mowed the yard, and I am getting near the ending of Lena, the third novel in my Florida Folk Magic Series. CNN didn’t cover any of this because they were still talking about Stormy Daniels.


Idle thoughts about ‘Sex, Rain, and Cold Fusion’

Sex, Rain, and Cold FusionSex, Rain, and Cold Fusion by A.R. Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book fits into the “clever” and “hoot” genres and/or categories. It rocks and rolls from beginning to end with characters, events and language usage that are off-the-scale nuts.

In many ways, the plot–which is deliciously tangled–doesn’t matter because we’re all along for the ride and where we end up doesn’t matter. . .it’s one of those “the journey is more important than the destination” kind of books, er, in a wry way.

My only cautionary words are these: reading this book is rather like eating a cake that’s 99% frosting. You feel guilty but you keep doing it anyway.

View all my reviews

You can learn more about the author of this book on her website.



Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” a comedy/satire that is also flat nuts.

2013 without sex, drugs or rock and roll

britneyI’m proud of all of you who made up the 12,000 views this blog had during the past year. You came here to read author interviews and reviews and fiction and fantasy rather than searching for sex, drugs or rock and roll.

I’m proud of myself, too, for I said nothing about JLo, JLaw or Miley on her wrecking ball, and didn’t display any gratuitous pictures of Britney Spears, much less any of the year’s babes rocking jaw-dropping dresses on various runways, beaches, street corners, parking lots and other places where “regular people” wearing such clothes would be arrested.

I ignored Justin Bieber, Cory Monteith, anyone named Kardashian, the “Duck Dynasty” drama, said nothing good about “Breaking Bad,” and said nothing bad about the NSA taking over Santa’s job of compiling naughty and nice lists. I kept quiet about Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones being spotted together for first time since the split.

Instead, the busiest day on Malcolm’s Round Table was August 7th with most of you reading “Briefly Noted: ‘The White House Boys’ and ‘The Boys in the Dark.'”

orangeblackSuffice it to say, Piper Kerman didn’t stop by to tell us why orange is the New black. Would that have been a hot post? Probably. Instead, my most-read posts here (in addition to the White House Boys) were:

As an author of contemporary fantasy, I considered writing a cautionary tale about a young man who discovers that “the whole Hollywood thing” is more of an illusion than we thought. Joe Doaks, my protagonist, would discover that 99% of the hunks and babes we see on the Yahoo “news page” are really holographs projected by a Wizard Of Oz kind of guy who hides behind a curtain.

Then it occurred to me: but hey, that’s not a fantasy.

I’m hoping 2014 will also be a fun year on this blog without sex, drugs or rock and roll. Thank you for all your visits and comments in 2013. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Britney Spears Says She Loves Jennifer Lopez And Wants To Act.


Malcolm R. Campbell is thinking about being the author of books with titles like “Pretty in Orange,” “Researchers Discover the 51st Shade of Grey,” and “Wrecking Ball Breaks Up Pot Party.”

Man plus Woman equals What?

“As soon as a man and woman of almost any age are alone together within four walls it is assumed that anything may happen. Spontaneous combustion, instant fornication, triumph of the senses. What possibilities men and women must see in each other to infer such dangers. Or, believing in the dangers, how often they must think about the possibilities.” – Alice Munroe

If the Yahoo home page is even remotely accurate in suggesting what people wonder about, then people appear fixated on revealing dresses and bathing suits, who celebrities are sleeping with, and older people who’ve “still got it.”

“It” is the danger of a man and a woman alone in a room.

If novel sales are even remotely accurate in telling us what we like, then we like speculating about what might happen in that room (car, forest, castle, swamp) when a man and a woman are alone. According to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Romance was the top-performing category on the best-seller lists in 2012, generating $1,438 billion in sales.

“Romance” in novels is often linked to the danger of “Man plus Woman.”

Like many other authors who read a lot of books, I am variously amused, excited, disgusted, bored and curious about the what the reporter says s/he will tell me about in his/her celebrity story or what the author promises to reveal between the covers of his/her novel. As an author, I usually care a lot more about how the writer/reporter tells the man+woman story than what happens when the man and the woman are together. Not much is new on that score, but I guess we like hoping there might be.

There are times when I think the cynics are wrong about the $ sign being our defining symbol. Perhaps it should be a bed.

The old newspaperman Horace Greeley once said that the thing most readers are interested in the most is themselves. I know a lot of us are interested in having money, friends, security, good food, successful children, great health and long lives. A lot of that involves the $ sign.

Yet, when reading habits come into play, a lot of us apparently want to be in the bed when–as celebrity journalists’ would say–somebody arrives in a jaw-dropping outfit and asks, “How about a night of spontaneous combustion?” Or, if we can’t be there, we like hearing about people who are.

I’m not a romance novelist or a celebrity journalist, so I try very hard not to focus my writing on the sexual what that happens in the “Man plus woman” equation. But, as I look at the importance of the bed in our culture, I sometimes wonder if I need more beds in my books.