The Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary presented a one-off night (4 December) of writers reading hilarious takes on erotic fiction at Brisbane Powerhouse’s Wonderland Festival.
On a hot, December afternoon, the packed audience in the Powerhouse were definitely relieved to be in the air-conditioned theatre. However, what they also got was a hot-and-steamy evening of the most erotic fiction around thanks to the Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary’s latest show ‘Mills And Boom!’.
Led by the wonderfully named Valkyrie Cul-de-sac, the group of nine writers each presented their own, highly erotic, poorly written, yet hilarious pieces, or as Valkyrie calls them, “word babies”. The stories are inspired by the trashy paperback romance novels made famous by publisher Mills and Boon (a publisher I became familiar with as a trainee library assistant, with a favourite title being ‘Sex On Wheels In Bed’).
Keeping with the trashy theme, each of the writers take on different personas with delightful names like Gina Rhymehard, Tuesday Thatch and Misty Dawn. In addition, their characters are given more depth with '80s soap opera-inspired fashion and wigs, breathy voices like psychics in late-night infomercials and eccentric occupations, with one favourite being a 'first-response homeopath'.
The first story of the night, written by Valkyrie, was a battle of the sexes within the financial world. The story was filled with business-related double entendres (including ‘mergers’, ‘hedge funds’ and ‘rising stocks’), along with a hilariously clueless grasp of soulless corporate speak, which dived into gibberish.
Other stories included a mundane house inspection being highly eroticised, a yoga instructor so sensitive he has a 'man-womb', and a detective tale that ends with the detective making love to his client atop a giant fold-out picture of the client’s husband’s penis.
One standout tale was a tribute to ‘Twilight’, also called ‘Twilight’, which had a graphic scene of menstruation, and the great description of Edward being such a deadly lover he had to “wrap his penis in bubble wrap”.
The stories featured some of the worst word crimes, including excessive puns, giving more information than a Wikipedia page, and similes and metaphors to make readers cringe. Despite the intentional awfulness of their prose, each of the authors showed it takes a lot of skill to craft something that mixed trash and humour so well: taking the bad out of the phrase ‘so bad it’s good’.
‘Mills And Boom!’ won’t turn on an audience, but it will make an audience howl with laughter, which is a great quality for any lover to have.