Friday, March 14, 2014

Guest Visit by Peter Tupper, of An Angel Has No Memory

Stephen's Note: Today I'm welcoming an author who is with Inkstained Succubus, for a guest post. I do like to host guests who write in different genres from me, and who explore some different themes than I do. Today's guest, Peter Tupper, is an erotica writer, and the topic he addresses today is a real discussion starter, concerning the question of whether someone from different genders and/or orientations can write effectively and represent relationships of a different type than the ones they are personally engaged in. I think this gets at the core of what it is to be a writer and see things from all kinds of viewpoints when creating viable characters, and no matter what genre you write or read, I think Peter brings up some very valid points.

Greetings. My name is Peter Tupper. I’m a writer and journalist in Vancouver, BC, and I’m here to tell you about my new book, An Angel Has No Memory, published by Inkstained Succubus.

 Rose stood against the wall at Girlfrenzy, a semi-underground club just outside the arcology’s walls. She sipped her rum and diet cola and watched the women dance and make out on the club’s floor to the blasting dance music. After work, she had come here solo, hoping things would be different. Instead, this felt like the beginning of yet another night of watching every other lesbian, bisexual, bicurious or just-drunk-enough woman in the arcology have a better time than her. 

 Should a man, and a heterosexual man at that, write lesbian erotica or pornography? For that matter, should I, a white heterosexual man, write a story about a sexual relationship between two women, who are Asian and Latina to boot?

 Let me reflect that back with two other, related questions:

First, should white people make hiphop? I say yes, for the same reason I think black people should make heavy metal, and indeed anybody should make anything. The claim that any particular group has a monopoly on any particular form of expression goes against the whole idea of freedom of expression. Hip-hop itself is based on promiscuous borrowing and recombination of culture items, defying conventional categories of race and class and genre.

 Second, should white people dominate the charts and awards ceremonies for hip-hop, leaving black artists on the margins of the genre they created? That’s a thornier question.

We don’t live in a society with a level playing field. We never have, and we might never. Systems of reward for creative work, whether they are capitalist marketplaces, awards-granting institutions, critical reviewers, or the approval of fannish communities, are not a perfect reflection of merit or worth. They create hegemonies, and I can’t blame anybody for striving to be part of those hegemonies, to get the big check or the award trophy or the triple-digit “Like” count on a fanfiction site. It’s a rare person who makes creative work with no thought of reward, not even the approval of their peers.

 Hegemonies also impede creative expression, by imposing orthodoxies. If hegemonies becomes sufficiently entrenched, innovation only occurs in the marginalized spaces outside of their direct influence. And even within the marginalized spaces, there are mini-hegemonies. In the Elementary Erotica anthology published by Circlet Press (2011), a collection of erotica stories based on Sherlock Holmes, ever story except mine had Holmes and Watson in a sexual relationship. I have no objection to this. It’s a perfectly valid interpretation of the character. I do question why only my story considered the possibility that Holmes would be attracted to women, or even mentioned Irene Adler, whom Holmes called “the woman.” For some authors, “Sherlock Holmes erotica” could only mean Holmes and Watson together.

 I’m not saying that I was excluded or oppressed in this particular space; after all, my story was published. But it does indicate a certain orthodoxy of thought, of paths not explored or even considered, even within a community dedicated to fictional transgression of sexual and gender norms.

 On the other hand, it’s been a long hard road to get GLBT stories out into the world, and even longer to get those stories told by GLBT people themselves, instead of straight people. Representation matters, both in front of and behind the camera. I like to think that someday we can achieve a world in which straight men can write about lesbians without diminishing the ability of lesbians to write about lesbians.

So where does my little story fit into all this? I hope it meets with approval (sales would be nice too). I honestly don’t know if I succeeded in making the story authentic. I did try to take issues like institutionalized homophobia and sexual shame seriously. Even if it doesn’t really help, I hope it does no harm.

 For further information on Peter or his releases, please visit:

 An Angel has no Memory is available from and

1 comment:

The Chocolate Priestess said...

Great article.

Thanks for asking him to do this, Stephen. I miss you both!