Chances are you're not familiar with Amazon's bizarrely awesome erotica scene. That's too bad because let me tell you, that's something you actually want to be familiar with. Especially now with the holidays coming up. You almost certainly know someone who would enjoy the highly technical erotica of Leonard Delaney.
Leonard Delaney is one of the newest names in the growing scene of experimental internet erotica. The Canadian author has gained some internet fame with his series Digital Desires, about having intimate relations with Clippy, Tetris blocks, the copyright page etc. It's 24K internet gold.
According to Leonard, he has been writing erotic fiction ever since he was a child. It's something his mother wasn't very supportive of. "When I was an adult I realized that I could publish my writing and find people who weren't jerks and would appreciate my art," he told Motherboard. "I co-founded Forest City Pulp, an independent publisher for provocative content, with a few other authors who wanted to explore this new world of the internet where you can write whatever the hell you want."
Now he's started his newest epic series: The Planets. The first entry is called Pounded by Pluto: The Crappiest Planet and it's about astrophysicist Tyson DeNeil Grassbone, who, all fed up with the garbage that's published online nowadays, decides to leave Earth and move to Pluto. But, plot twist: Pluto is a living organism. Together they'll synthesize the last undiscovered element of the periodical table: love. By having sex. For science.
Enough reason to talk to Leonard about his newest erotic series, technology, humor, sexuality, and the magical world of digital erotica.
MOTHERBOARD: Hi Leonard, so why did you want to start off this series with Pluto?
Leonard Delaney: I always felt bad for Pluto. It's one of the smallest recognizable celestial bodies in our solar system, so it had a rough time from the start. It must've been bullied in the early formation of the universe. Then people on Earth started taunting it, saying it's not even a planet—people like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who loves space and seems like a decent person—and that must have been devastating. Poor planet. It needed some love, if only in the form of doing sex with a fictional version of Neil DeGrasse Tyson in some steamy erotica. The latter hasn't reacted to my work yet, but I would love to read it to him while we cuddle in a bed in the shape of a spaceship.
Where does this interest in the combination of technology, space exploration, and erotica derive from?
I spend a lot of time surfing the web on a computer, so maybe that passion bleeds into my work. I'm pretty sophisticated. Like, sometimes I read Ars Technica articles and understand most of them. Besides, it just seemed like a massive gap in the literature. There are plenty of erotic books about space, but they always take place in space, rather than about having sex with space.
So are you a keen reader of erotica yourself?
Yes, I like to read within my genre of cutting-edge erotica. Chuck Tingle is a hero, as are Hunter Fox, Lacey Noonan, and those who paved the path for us, like Christie Sims with her dinosaur erotica. And have you seen Mandy DeSandra? She's a real up-and-comer with that genius crocoduck/Kirk Cameron orgy piece, and other hard-hitting political satire.
That's the beauty of indie publishing: anybody can release whatever bizarre-ass stuff they want, and it might find its audience.
How do people generally tend to react to your work?
My mom knows I write things on the internet, but these days I don't tell her the specifics. The closest of my friends know that I do this. They are amused by it, but I don't think they actually buy my books. Dicks.
Most people get what I'm doing and react positively. Some fartbags leave negative reviews because they bought a book called "Taken by the Tetris Blocks" and somehow expected something different than what they got. The best reactions are stuff like this: a sexy live reading of Pounded by Pluto (around 53:00).
Do you think we will see more tech-erotica in the future? Clearly, we need more of this stuff.
Our lives are being radically transformed by technology, and as progress continues its exponential march forward, new technology will inevitably make its way into fiction. And I may be a bit ahead of the curve, but it's just realistic to have technology play a role in love and sex.
Besides, we now live in a time when there are authors out there making a very good living off of very weird writing. That's the beauty of indie publishing: anybody can release whatever bizarre-ass stuff they want, and it might find its audience. In the traditional publishing world, there's less tolerance for the risks of the bizarre.
Is this something you can live off then?
Not right now, but that would be my greatest dream. My writing pays for lunch some days, but that's about it.
Correct me if I'm wrong but, I think it's safe to assume your work isn't supposed to be truly erotic. Are there people who are genuinely turned on by your work and buy your books specifically for erotic purposes?
People definitely masturbate to my books. Which is awesome! I mean, yeah, they're pretty cartoonish, but sex and laughter don't have to be mutually exclusive. I even wrote a book about human sex recently: Womanized by Idris Elba Playing James Bond. Obviously it has a very serious political message at its core (that Idris Elba should play James Bond), but there's a bit of genuine sexiness too. Like, have you seen Idris Elba? I'm pretty straight, but picturing him naked wasn't entirely unpleasant. There are a lot of cats around the house, who I sometimes have to shoo off my lap when I'm writing erotica, or things would get weird between us.
What can we expect for the upcoming sequels? When will they be released and are you working on anything else right now?
I have a few more Digital Desires books in the works. An emoji orgy sounds like fun or maybe Titillated by the Terms of Service. I'm looking at my notes and I have "Pollinated by the Petunias" there too. Not sure how that would work.
To be honest, it depends on sales. There's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing there…people are more likely to buy a book if it's part of a series, but it's hard to justify writing a sequel unless the first one sells a lot. My Digital Desires series sells way better then Pounded by Pluto. If your readers all buy 20 copies and I get a few more positive reviews of Pounded by Pluto, the sequels will come much quicker.
Are you gonna include the sun in this cosmic orgy? I know it's not a planet, but to be fair, neither was Pluto.
YOU TAKE THAT BACK. PLUTO IS A PLANET. IT'S THE WORST PLANET AND NOBODY LIKES IT, BUT IT'S STILL A PLANET AND DESERVES RESPECT JUST LIKE ME
As for the sun, I believe it is too hot to make love to without mystical protection.
Which planet or celestial body really doesn't deserve love?
I fucking hate the Oort Cloud.