Jeremy Pellington writes:

“i would like to know what sexuality means to your work. reading some of your books, i’ve noticed that sexuality is a common theme, sometimes leering towards discomfort. i know that you are a bizarro writer, and it may be possible that you’ve thrown these things in for a bizarre attitude.”

Sexuality is usually important to my stories. I probably wouldn’t say that the sexuality has any meaning, but I often use sex as a way to create conflict, build character, or add strangeness. Sometimes it’s even there for the sake of world-building. Almost every one of my books has an unusual sex scene that is there for a reason. In Ugly Heaven, people have sex by cutting open their bellies and pressing these squid-like organs together, which is important for world-building because it illustrates how people are able to have sex in Heaven even though they no longer have human sex organs. In Cybernetrix, there is a sex scene in the Tron world, which is important because it creates conflict when the character goes back to the real world with an electronic STD. In the Egg Man, there is a lot of uncomfortable sex between a man with a heightened sense of smell and a woman who purposely never bathes in order to torture him. This creates conflict and builds on the woman’s sadistic nature. In Apeshit… well, I don’t even want to get into the sex scenes in Apeshit, but let’s just say they reveal the ugly sides of some of the characters.

So the sex in my books have a reason for being there. Kurt Vonnegut said that every single sentence you write should do one of two things: build character or move the plot forward. Sex scenes shouldn’t be any different.

I also try to make the sex scenes as imaginative as possible, because imaginative sex is something I feel is lacking in most books. And, as they say, if you want to read about something that other people aren’t writing about then that is the thing you should be writing about.

I also use sexuality to explore gender roles in my books. I often give conventional masculine personality traits to the female characters and conventional feminine personality traits to the male characters, so the sexuality of the female characters tends to be more aggressive, lewd, and predatory, while the male characters tend to be more innocent, emotional, and tender. Of course, this is nothing new (not just in fiction, but in reality) but in my opinion it makes the characters more interesting and more fun to write about.

I’m not saying the sexuality is completely without meaning. Razor Wire Pubic Hair, for example, is one big exploration into the meaning of sex. But for the most part, it is usually there to build the characters.

4 Responses to “Sexuality”

  1. jonnykelly Says:

    This guy that send you this is obviously a person who likes to think he is a christian saint, but at night when you, Jeremy, have your boxers by your ankles masturbating over Britney’s camel toe I’m watching you!

  2. Carlton, you should create a special 3/5-pack of your books for sale for a limited time at a special price or something. It would be so cool!!! Like classifying them by similarity or “these are the books you want to read if you feel sexually frustrated…”

  3. Eli Hicks Says:

    Carlton, I was wanting to ask you a question about your work, too. What makes bizarro “bizarro” is the plot, right? But how do you know how normal or how strange to make your protagonists? In all your work that I’ve read, I’ve always found the “heroes” quite relatable, but I’m a kinda lame weirdo myself, like some of your main characters( e.g. in “Satan Burger” & “Sausagey Santa”) I guess, in short, since bizarro is a genre so defined by plot, is it easier for you to come up with your protagonists being however you want them to be? And can you give me some advice on character development and the like?

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