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Our Velvet Swordplay: From Precocious Reading to Erotic Horror

I was a “precocious reader,” which is the accommodating term for kids who read adult literature, youngsters who go so far as to tear off the front covers of the books they are reading (before, during, and after class...) so that no attention is drawn to the book in hand, no adult eyebrow is raised, and no dog-eared paperback is confiscated. I read THE EXORCIST as a 6th grader – twice, back-to-back, to better process the horrifying masterpiece I had just ingested. A memorable experience which still gives me reverential pause.

By the time I was in junior high, I had progressed to more graphic, historical stuff, and to best sellers on the adult fiction lists. Peter Benchley’s JAWS was a freshman high school English class lit project; Frank Langella as Dracula was my dark romance paradigm. Jaqueline Susann, I discovered by way of her best seller VALLEY OF THE DOLLS whilst browsing bookshelves at a house where I babysat. What I soon after purchased was her lesser-known sci-fi romance, YARGO, in which a female earthling enters into a relationship with an alien leader, a la THE KING AND I.

YARGO was written in the 1950’s but only published in 1979, four years after Susann’s death.

I loved YARGO, but, as others of our ilk, was so disappointed that the narrative “didn’t go there,” when it came to the consummation of their love. The glossing over was a void; it frustrated the curious, hormonal teen I was back then, has lingered with me to the present.

Having evolved to being a writer focused on horror, with interest ranging from sci-fi to erotic horror, I was eager to dive into a short story that would bring together what I loved and what specifically in YARGO had lacked. The result was “Consummation,” a no-holds-barred sex-focused horror tale, a clear homage to YARGO, with some (imo inevitable) tapping into classical mythology.

Were not those arrogant, supernatural god and goddesses up there in the clouds our first alien elites? And what was one of their preferred methods of conquest? Indeed – the “horror” of erotic aggressions existed in droves!

As with my other writing, I sought to convey the gruesome by way of the most beautiful writing I could manage. “Consummation” was a fabulous opportunity to invoke age-old story telling musicality with wet, hot descriptive. It was a blast to write.

The key is, I believe, about having the courage + broad perspective to – eyes wide open – go there to create such as this, and then with the same breadth of receptivity to read and enjoy it (no feigning of shock), and then to discern what all a work might be illuminating by way of its narrative and imagery. Horror is, after all, dark allegory, and stories, like works of art, will always speak differently to different readers – our takeaways can and ought to suit us, should satisfy us.

We who go there, in this case eroticism in horror, as Arts producers and consumers are not doing anything any society hasn’t done before. Faith-based religions are steeped in erotica, which at its simplest is the sentient animal’s response to core-targeted stimulus. We elevate that to an expressive form with our velvet swordplay, which includes all the allegory – however moribund – that underlies each salacious escapade, every passionate conquest. The horror community as a whole looks unflinchingly to history, folklore and belief systems that have always walked hand in hand with our unstoppable, bio-driven imaginations. Then as now, these works help us disseminate, process, heal, move forward, and indulge. And let us be clear on ideations and protestations of dominance versus submission – those are highly nuanced dynamics; it is a wholly interchangeable dance. If we dare allow our consumption to stoke a response, we are responding in the way blood-imbued, breathing survivalist creatures always have. To “do it” by way of creative expression and consumption is one fabulously artful way of participating in a very big, very organic picture.

If you would like to read “Consummation” in its entirety, click here.

Author Illustrator and HWA member K.A. Schultz writes with pictures and draws with words. Kimann, an art historian and advocate of freedom of creative expression, is a fan of all things darkly romantic – and romantically dark. She is the author of GÖTHIQUE (2023) a gothic horror short story/poetry collection, and NEITHERIUM (2022) a horror/sci-fi short story/poetry collection, and of JACOB – A Denouement in One Act (2021) a Jacob Marley rest of the story and RUGS ON PUDDLES COATS OVER OCEANS collected poems and lyric poetry. To learn more about the author, please visit or, and follow her on Instagram @kaschultz_writer

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Jan 24

Great article!

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