Technologies of Perverse Desire and
Queer Sex in Science Fiction Erotica
I'm not asking that you change what you find sexually attractive; only
that you experimentally discard the requirement for compatible fantasy
when reading about sex. Remember, it's just a book. And if you do
occasionally find yourself responding – well, that's educational, too.
— Ray Davis, 'Delany's Dirt' 165
Visiting a world where the most intriguing gender of all is 'I'm not
telling'… Boys, girls, both, neither, licking, kissing, liking, loving. It
doesn't matter whether you, reader, are boy, girl, straight, all or none of
the above, I think you'll get along just fine.
— Cecilia Tan, Genderflex 8
Working on the fantastic in the arts means occasional trips to strange (imaginary) places. The science fiction erotica published by Cecilia Tan, and the 'pleasure' of researching queer science fiction pornography, took my experience to a new level. Tucked away on back shelves of independent science fiction bookstores and alternative erotica shops, these books are intended to be consumed in bed or while stretched out on the living room couch during an afternoon alone at home. They evoke a flushed reading satisfaction and a slight sense of guilt because they decadently provide nothing but pleasure. Reading them for 'research' earns the dedicated academic raised eyebrows from colleagues and produces slightly awkward moments at the photocopier. Literary critics do not usually regard pleasure as an analytical variable. The concept of pleasure that underlies these narratives, however, is central to queer theory, which addresses the navigations of bodies and desires in relation to subjectivity. My reading