Joanne Lagrasse is a newly graduated college student living the life. Well, if the life is sitting in your apartment all day trying to research monsters for a novel. The strange book her favorite professor gave her is full of ramblings by what must be a mad man, which makes for uneasy reading and a loner lifestyle.
She pushes herself to go out to the beach, though the takes the tome with her. When she decides to not heed her professor’s warning and reads a chant out loud, she finds herself faced with a giant monster and its lewd tentacles, each one eager to fill her holes.Booty Call of Cthulhu, back cover copy
Before the internet, erotic literature often left a literal paper trail. It wasn’t enough to write a story or book, if you wanted to sell it you had to advertise—small ads in appropriate adult newspapers or magazines (or, for erotic fanfiction, fanzines), mail-order catalogs or lists of other publications in the backs of books, and for particularly notable works perhaps even a published review in some suitable medium. By the early 2010s, the game had fundamentally changed: the cheap adult paperbacks of previous decades had largely fallen off with the rise of more readily-available pornography, and self-publishing became feasible thanks to print-on-demand publishing and ebooks. The internet was a great leveler, doing away with much of the traditional advertising—and with it, much of the traditional paper trail which historians and smuthounds alike relied on.
Now, scholars have to rely on search engines and internet archives, hoping for social media posts, blogposts, and the occasional interview:
ED: I see you write tentacle erotica, which has a soft spot in my heart as an anime geek. How did you get into that sub-genre?
DD: I love H. P. Lovecraft! I’ve been a member of 4chan’s /x/ for, well, probably 6 years now. That’s their paranormal board. Horror and tentacles are both very fun to write, especially when you can make them sexy.EROTICA AUTHOR INTERVIEW: DALIA DAUDELIN, AUTHOR OF BOOTY CALL OF CTHULHU by Ellen Dominick
Booty Call of Cthulhu by Dalia Daudelin is a good example of the works of the period. Originally released as a Kindle ebook under the nom de plume Roxy Feurouge in 2012 (and as by Mia Lust on Barnes & Noble’s website), then as a thin print-on-demand softcover in 2013 (still available), the story is straightforward and geared toward specific, clearly indicated kinks: monsters, tentacles, dubious consent—and it delivers on all counts.
My jaw went slack. My mouth opened just enough for the tentacle to slide in. It went from a wool texture to something more slimy, a bit like another tongue.Dalia Daudelin, Booty Call of Cthulhu 14
Readers hoping for an erotic re-telling of “The Call of Cthulhu” or a Cthulhu Mythos pastiche with a bit more explicit sex than usual will be sorely disappointed. While not quite Porn Without Plot, most of the twelve print pages are devoted to a detailed array of sexual acts, most involving tentacles. Comparisons with tentacle-themed Japanese adult animation like La Blue Girl fall a bit short: while the sex scenes cover much of the same material (penetrations anal, oral, and vaginal, etc.), there is quite a bit more story and character development in the Japanese manga and its anime adaptation. Booty Call of Cthulhu is written like a typical pornographic feature film, with the brief non-sexual interludes providing the set-up for the next carnal scene, with an abrupt finish after the final climax.
Short, sweet, and to the point—and when compared to similar works of the period like I Was Impregnated by Cthulhu! (2012) by Penny P. Zahn, The Tentacles of the Elder Gods (2012) by Lindsey Purl, Cthulhu’s Carresses (2013) by Amy Morrel, Uhluhtc’s Sacrifice (2013) by Grace Vilmont, I Fucked Cthulhu! (2013) by Deliah Fawkes, Cuckolded by Cthulhu (2013) by Lillian Jacobs, and Cthulhu Comes (2014) by Sandy Laws—Booty Call of Cthulhu isn’t particularly poorly written. If there’s a real criticism to be made, it’s that it is no more than it set out to be, and a much more engaging erotic narrative could have come from the same premise.
What differentiates Booty Call of Cthulhu from most of its contemporaries is that it was either popular enough or sufficiently tickled the imagination to elicit two sequels: Booty Call of Cthulhu 2 and Booty Call of Cthulhu 3 by Wren Winter—and neither of which is currently available (Wren has also written My Night With Cthulhu, which is not either of those two books under a new title).
Whether this is a licensing issue or Amazon removed the ebooks for violating one of their policies is unclear, and probably will remain so…because as with internet fanfiction, the internet’s archive is imperfect and there is no paper trail. Neither 2 or 3 ever received a hardcopy printing, at far as I’ve been able to determine, and unless you were fortunate enough to buy them during the window of opportunity they were available, those texts are essentially impossible to obtain. Should the files be corrupted or Amazon stop supporting them, they may well be lost forever.
Several of Booty Call’s contemporaries, including I Was Impregnated by Cthulhu! and Cuckolded by Cthulhu have already suffered the same fate. It’s not just that these works exist only on a handful of Kindle accounts, but unless you were aware they existed already it is exceedingly difficult to find out they ever existed. Posting an ebook to Amazon and letting the search engine handle discovery for a public apparently starved for sexually explicit Mythos-flavored content was often enough to sell a few copies…and then, for one reason or another, the ebooks were no longer sold, and there might not even be a page to point at to show where it had been for sale.
Given the ephemeral nature of pornography and the quality of the writing, few folks will lament this as a great loss to our shared cultural heritage—most erotica is treated as eminently disposable, to be enjoyed in the moment but not necessarily saved for posterity as with so many other books. Yet works like Booty Call of Cthulhu certainly represent a certain moment in time, and a literary trend which, in its perennial reflowering, means critics and fans of Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos need to acknowledge two truths:
Some people want to read about having sex with Cthulhu, and a body of work has grown up to meet that demand.
The question that remains to be seen is how, if at all, these works might be preserved. It is fair to say that Booty Call of Cthulhu was not the first and will not be the last sexually explicit story about an amorous eldritch entity, but it is disturbing how easily such works can effectively fall off the face of the internet, perhaps never to be read again. Because it has a print edition, Booty Call of Cthulhu will probably linger on longer than most—and it is weird to think that in generations to come, a furtive Mythos fan may enter into a dusty bookshop and find among the dross of the 2010s an ancient example of Lovecraftian smut…
I entered, charmed, and from a cobwebbed heapH. P. Lovecraft, “The Book” from Fungi from Yuggoth
Took up the nearest tome and thumbed it through,
Trembling at curious words that seemed to keep
Some secret, monstrous if one only knew.
Then, looking for some seller old in craft,
I could find nothing but a voice that laughed.
Bobby Derie is the author of Weird Talers: Essays on Robert E. Howard and Others and Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos.
Deep Cuts in a Lovecraftian Vein uses Amazon Associate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.