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Experimental Smut

Smutburger Editions Vol. 1

2021 (Smutburger)


A couple of years ago, writers Tamara Faith Burger and Courtney Toderash began hosting a series of public salons about sex, literature, and education in Toronto. While those conversations and discussions have shifted to the realm of the virtual due to covid-19, the duo have expanded their dialogue to now include editing the publication of what can best be described as experimental erotica. The first in this series, Smutburger Editions Vol. 1, features two stories as well as a photographic centerfold, and its design and content a nod to Maurice Girodias´ infamous Olympia Press, a key publisher during the 1950s and ´60s of unconventional literary and erotic works ranging from the first print of Vladimir Nabokov´s Lolita to William S. Burroughs´ Naked Lunch and the first English edition of Pauline Réage´s The Story of O.


In the fascinating and imaginative story "The Original Gentleman" by Cason Sharpe, erotica with science-fiction fuse. A humanoid android, engineered for (predominantly homosexual) pleasure, has escaped from the laboratory. Will it follow the program? Are its desires even its own? And how do its creators measure its success?


Artist and author Christine Davis, in her story "The Sun", paints with words. A man has a rendezvous with a woman in her visual art studio, and the line between the objects of her imagination and the subjects of her desire quickly blur.


In-between the two tales contained in this slim volume is an arresting photograph of model Ariana Reines lying half-naked on a rug, her hair camouflaging her face. Reines´ posture evokes that of a predator, an image whose effect is more arresting than arousing.


The stories in this first edition of the Smutburger series are brief (combined, the pair barely breaches twenty pages), and I hope that future series contain much more. None of the characters in either of these tales have names, or much physical description; and there seems to be a much stronger emphasis on the sounds of the words, the playful possibilities of language, than conventional plot or story. Nonetheless, especially with Sharpe´s tale, there is something intriguing here, and I am curious as to what the editors will concoct with their future experiments.

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