Kate Spencer asks where all our decent fiction is…

woman-reading-a-bookI was doing my normal trick of procrastinating the other day when I decided to scout a well-known online book seller for bisexual fiction. Bored of the mainstream, straight, cisgendered pile of literature by my bed, I was looking for a change and a challenge, especially as I’m loving Biscuit so much. Erotic fiction and chick lit was the best they had to offer. Titles like The Proposition: A Bisexual Threesome Short Story and Nanny Makes Three may be the acceptable face of porn but they feed into the stereotype that all bi people are nymphomaniacs who want as much nookie as they can get their hands (and other appendages) on. Even titles that at first appear scholarly are overwhelmingly sex-fuelled. Because of Lust: Bisexuality and Group Sex almost sounds like an in-depth look into the social mores of a certain section of society. Nope. Here’s part of the blurb: “Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for the three young people to start experimenting together and with others. But not satisfied with all the sex she’d been getting, Lois began to look for it elsewhere, too, which resulted in a deeper emotional bond between Carmella and Johnny.”

Wow. Looking for an intelligent read? No such luck!

Where are the substantial, well-written modern novels aimed at the bisexual crowd that have any sense of realism? The Color Purple is fabulous but it’s as old as I am, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series was less about exploring Lisbeth Sander’s sexuality and more about her sociopathy, and Virginia Woolf’s body of work, while it still speaks to women today, is very much of its time. There are a multitude of handbooks, guidebooks, and essays regarding the whys and wherefores of bisexuality and, while that’s wonderful (it really is, in academic terms we are finding a place), there doesn’t seem to be an author out there writing specifically for bright and brainy bisexual women.

I wonder why there is no significant bisexual voice in fiction? Do writers not want to write? Do publishers not want to publish? Or are readers just not interested?

Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places. “Bisexual” as a search on a book site is rather narrow. Maybe I’m missing books that are more subtle in their use of characters who go both ways. A quick search on a well-known site (rhymes with frugal, other engines are available) is more promising and throws up lists upon lists: “Top Ten Bi Books You Must Read” screams one, “Favourite Bisexual Fiction” says another, less threateningly. Why didn’t these feature in my original query, famous retailer? Indeed, I’m not convinced that these “best of” lists actually include anything that will really get my juices flowing – my creative juices, you filthy perverts – and I’m still in need of an author who speaks to me.
So, dear readers, recommend something to me. Or, even better, write something and be the voice I’m searching for. That would be awesome.

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A Jill of all trades, mistress of none, Kate has tried everything: prison psychology, volunteering with homeless people, teaching English abroad, and editing a magazine in China (thankfully not in Chinese!). A born procrastinator, she's been working on her autobiographical sex book for the past four years and has got nowhere. She's hoping to find some motivation on the open road - a born traveller she's hoping to leave for America very soon. Happiest performing her comedy poems at spoken word nights and getting inordinate amounts of attention, Kate is a whirlwind of a woman.

One Response to Kate Spencer asks where all our decent fiction is…

  • Sam says:

    The only bi fiction-writer I know is Colette, who wrote in French and has been translated into English. I’m pretty sure the poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) was also bisexual. Also possibly Edna St.-Vincent Millay. I think I may have heard rumors about the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. Shakespeare wrote sonnets to a “fair youth” AND a “dark lady.”

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