Chickenshit or Marketing Genius?

copyright Jay Russell 1996. May not be reproduced without permission.

Reproduced below is the "censored" prologue to Blood.  I have, 
in the past, made rather a fuss as regards issues of censorship
in media, so what gives here?

Basically, Raven Books expressed concern to me about the
somewhat over-the-top nature of this prologue, and fears that
some booksellers might prove reluctant to stock the book
based on a casual read of just the prologue and not the rest 
of the novel.  Given that the prologue is (by definition) the first 
thing most readers would look at, Raven was worried that 
distribution and display of Blood might be hindered simply because
of the explicitness of the prologue.

What to do?

Raven never insisted that the prologue be removed, but asked 
me to consider their concerns.  I understood where they were 
coming from and agreed that the prologue might be a tad...extreme.
I wrote a toned-down version of the prologue, but frankly it turned
out merely to be extreme in a slightly different way.  I toyed with 
writing a different prologue entirely, but didn't like the results.  

In the end, I decided simply to drop it from the published volume.  
The fact that I believe the book works perfectly well without the
prologue suggests to me that perhaps it was always superfluous.  
On the hand, maybe I've just been cowardly and am rationalizing 
hypocritical, chickenshit behaviour.  

I don't know.

In the end, the decision to drop the prologue was more a marketing
decision than an aesthetic one (and involved complexities which I 
am not disposed to expound upon publicly).  I admit that worries me. 
But as fans of the genre probably know, horror is in a truly dire state 
these days.  It is now difficult to get horror fiction published in the UK,
and almost impossible in the US (complexities, complexities). King
and Rice and Koontz continue to sell like ice cream in summer, 
but the rest of us struggle like double-glazing salesmen in hell.  

I am trying ("Try not; do or do not. There is no try."  Fuck you, Yoda.) 
to make a living as a fiction writer.  In order to do that in the
mass market, some compromises have to be made -- that's a simple, if
unappetizing truth.  I believe that Blood is still a strong,
visceral, entertaining novel, and a work of integrity.  In a perfect
world, I admit the prologue would have been included.  Turns out 
this ain't a perfect world.

Censorship is an insidious thing.  Had Raven demanded that I remove the 
prologue, I don't know how I would have reacted.  The fact that the choice 
was mine -- was it? -- made it seem easier.  I fume and fuss when I see
censors demand that works like Crash and Natural Born Killers
be banned.  Such censors would, I'm sure, be equally outraged by much of the
content of the published version of Blood. Yet, ultimately the book was 
censored, albeit by me.  I do believe there is an important difference
between censorship imposed from within and without, and I remain
adamantly opposed to any restrictions on content imposed by the State.  

But should I have done it? I'm still not sure. 

You tell me.


Prologue to Blood

Titus groaned. The fat lady pumped furiously at his thick penis, nipping sharply at the head. She popped one, then both testicles into her mouth and rolled them on her tongue, applying gentle pressure with her teeth. She slid her other hand underneath him and slowly inserted two pudgy fingers up his ass. Licking her way back up the shaft, she swirled her lips and tongue around the circumcised, strawberry head. She lightly fingered his balls with her free hand and took the entire length of his penis into her throat. If she was put-off by the small, tumor-like growths around the base of the organ she gave no indication. Her head bobbed up and down as Titus clenched and unclenched his toes. As she inserted a third finger in his asshole, he grabbed her by the flabby skin on the back of her neck. He pulled her off his cock and shot his load directly into her eyes. He dabbed at the sticky tip of his penis with a handful of her curly brown hair then pushed her aside. "Goddammit," she said mopping her eyes with the sheet, "My contacts!" Titus laughed. He glanced at the naked blond woman lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. She smiled faintly, looking distant and drugged. Her pubic hair was matted and damp, and a line of liquid glistened down her muscular thighs. Titus pointed at the fat lady with his chin. "Want some?" The whore was a great fleshy thing with meat enough for two good-sized women and a little girl to spare. With every move she made, seas of flesh ebbed and flowed against each other like coupling jellyfish. Mounds of fat ringed her midriff in loose concentric circles, obscuring the deep cave of folded skin leading to her cunt. Immense bovine tits flopped on her chest like lipid mountains, the nipples big as baseballs. Her thighs were skeins of cellulite corduroy, the loose flab on her upper arms a patchwork of purple stains and legions. She finished adjusting her eyes and stared at the blonde who blankly appraised her. "I'll just watch," the blonde purred. "For now." Titus shrugged. He slapped the fat woman on the stomach, watching waves of pockmarked flesh crash at her sternum. "Ready for more?" he asked. "Anything you got," she said. Titus picked up two leather straps and secured them tightly around the fat lady's wrists. He tugged her meaty arms over her head and looped the bonds through a steel manacle imbedded in the middle of the ebony headboard. He spread her squat legs and fastened each fat ankle to one of the wooden posts that supported the bed's missing canopy. He reached for a hypo of Tunnel on the nightstand and kissed it, then slid the silvery needle into the soft skin between the whore's sausage-sized toes. He eased down on the plunger and watched as the trussed woman closed her eyes and soared away on the golden fluid. Titus threw the needle aside. Grabbing handholds of flesh at her waist, he mounted her. He pushed aside the hairy drapes of skin and entered her as sharply as the needle. She opened her eyes and giggled slightly as the drug lit up her nervous system. Her lips parted and the thick slab of her white-coated tongue lolled over her chin, a dribble of spittle rolling down a puffy red cheek. Titus poked her fat breasts. He rubbed his hand across the broad expanse of her stomach as he plunged in and out of her. He found a doughy fold around her solar plexus and twisted a sharpened nail into the skin. The woman groaned slightly at his prodding and pulled at her bonds. Titus dug his finger deeper into the incision as a small pool of blood began to spurt into the chasm of flesh. The whore garnered some sense of her situation and started to complain through the Tunnel haze. She struggled more forcefully, but the straps held fast. The pain grew intense and even over the fleshy swell of her breasts the woman could see Titus' finger inserted in her stomach beyond the second knuckle. She mumbled an incoherent complaint, but Titus just laughed and thrust the rest of his finger into the wound. The blonde got up now and knelt on the bed beside Titus as he pulled out of the whore. He disengaged his blood-soaked finger from her stomach and held it up to the blonde who licked the blood off, slurping loudly. The blonde then climbed over the prostrate woman and forced two fingers into the small opening in her belly. She tensed her muscular arms and pulled at the hole. The flesh tore like newsprint and the fat woman started to scream. Titus closed his eyes and listened to her wail. He grabbed her enormous, soiled panties from the floor and stuffed them in her mouth. The blonde lapped up blood from the torn flesh while rubbing furiously at her own cunt. Titus watched as she brought herself off, his cock still hard, then roughly pushed her off the bed. She tumbled to the floor and rolled onto her back offering a contented sigh as she licked her fingers and smacked her bloodstained lips. Titus again straddled the moaning fat woman and viciously inserted himself in the gash in her belly. With every brutal plunge of his cock a small cascade of blood geysered up from the wound, splattering his thighs. The whore tossed her head from side to side, issuing a high, thin, barely human sound. Titus thrust harder as the skin stretched and ripped and chunky viscera began to poke through the shredded opening. He forced himself deep enough inside her to rub the engorged, clitoral tumors at the base of his cock against her tattered flesh, grunting savagely with the contact and panting like a thoroughbred at the wire. By the time he spent himself in the whore's gut, the fat woman had stopped moaning and the bed was awash in red. The whore's pinpoint eyes saw only blackness, and the blood slowly ceased gushing from the ragged wound extending across her mid-section. "Didn't even sing," Titus said to no one in particular. He lapped briefly at the mixture of cum and blood still oozing from the wound, then crawled over to the blonde who had fallen asleep on the floor. He sat beside her and gently stroked the side of her cheek with the back of a bloody hand. She woke up and smiled at him like a babe at a church picnic. She lapped the blood off his cock and balls and tongued the small tumors ringing his groin back to tumescence. Titus growled with contentment and fingered the cancerous growths that formed a solid ridge just below the blonde's coccyx. The night was young.