Martin Pyx Annotated Bibliography
Martin Pyx is an author who appears at the end of the period with which we are concerned first appearing in print in the 1980’s. His output is small but distinctive. He has obvious links with P N Dedeaux of which more will be said later. All of his book were initially published by Barney Rossett at Blue Moon Books.
There are five identified works in his oeuvre all of which show stylistic similarities.
The last four are also known as the Sigma cycle since they are all, at least in part, concerned with the activity at the Sigma Epsilon Chi (Xi) sorority of the fictional St. Cloud University and the disciplinary and erotic activities of Professor Porter who tutor’s in English literature.
Autumn Scandals Blue Moon – 1988
This is, at one level, a sorority pledge-hazing tale with plenty of paddling, caning and other sundry beatings. There is also plenty of sex – both lesbian within the sorority and frantic couplings with the males of the college’s fraternity. Pyx opens the book with a dedication to the spanking writer Will Henry, who specialised in domestic punishment and incest, and there is an extended section on the sorority girls’ reminiscences of school and home discipline – perhaps by way of tribute. The culmination of which sees a young man sodomizing his sister.
The book is written mostly in dialogue – the participants prattle away in a relentless, West Coast argot which places the story firmly in 1988 California. There is so much of this that it distracts from the flagellation and the fucking – not what pornography should do. Two chapters are labelled as P N Dedeaux interludes. These are not by the master but by Pyx in a fair approximation of Dedeaux style. There are obvious links with Sorority of Submissive Girls (The Nothing Things) in the plot. There is also an extended punishment of a young man by the assembled sorority which is never found in Dedeaux.
Summer Frolics Blue Moon – 1989
This opens with a tribute to P N Dedeaux and two of his best Venus Library tales issued under the pseudonyms of Frank Mace and Carl Buono, although the Mace title is incorrectly called The Shipmasters when the actual title was The Sensualists. An odd error, but perhaps the editor is to blame. The story proper opens with Lucretia Sue and her chum Juliana locked in a Arab prison reminiscing about shared floggings at Miss Maelstrom’s Academy. The next chapter leaps forward to sorority days again with more homespun discipline then back to the Middle Eastern prison for a session of “carpet polo” an inventive and painful sport among the harem. This repeated analeptic and proleptic zigzagging makes following the plot a task requiring extensive note taking, again not useful in pornography.
Spring Fevers Blue Moon 1992
The third volume in the Sigma cycle opens with Professor Porter and Lucretia Sue fucking. The professor has been advertising his disciplinary expertise and a full bodied matron arrives with her niece who is deserving of a hiding. They are both subjected to an exemplary session of bondage, birching and internal sluicing in the grand manner. Interspersed with this narrative are flashes the usual round of sorority humiliations and punishment. Included are a couple of Dedeaux pastiche episodes, the most notable where Miss Plimsoll and Miss Ward take the cane to a wayward sophomore. Like the other books in the series there is a lot of pseudo intellectual byplay between the characters.
Birch Fever Blue Moon 1994
The fourth and final novel in the Sigma Cycle. The action returns to the sorority with the seniors Lucretia Sue, Gerry Vestry and others together with their pledges. This time however the seniors have a fine time flogging the college fraternity pledges. There are as many males flogged as females in this book with Pyx giving full rein to his bisexual preferences. But the storyline departs frequently from the college setting. A chapter describes in detail a fictional film version of the Memoirs of Dolly Morton and references are made to Nu-West productions. Dedeaux pastiche abounds as the narrative (such as it is) leaps from Jane Eyre in The Governess Governed to The Territory Within with even Lady Mildmount from The Tutor making an appearance. The birch of the title certainly appears and is applied together with sorority paddle, English cane and whalebone. The sex is frequent and buggerings a specialty all in good Dedeaux style.
The Sigma cycle books, taken as a whole, share a stream of consciousness style of writing, which while not uncommon in modern fiction, does not necessarily make good pornography. For fairly obvious reasons, pornographic episodes should build smoothly to a climax, rather than leap from here to there with inserted distractions.
Tutor’s Bride Blue Moon 1996
The first Pyx novel, the book purports to be a reprint of a nineteenth century American erotic novel. In the introduction the author gives a potted history of early American erotica and claims Tutor’s Bride as an 1897 classic no copy of which can now be found among library collections of old erotica. Not a surprising discovery since the novel is clearly not a Victorian era work although Pyx puts some effort into the impersonation. Much of the language is in keeping but the general rhythm of the dialogue gives the game away. The book is in a more conventional narrative style than the Sigma cycle and is better erotica for it. There is plenty of birching, caning and flogging in a wide variety of circumstances in an English colonial setting on the fictitious Caribbean island of Mardi Blanc.
While the main sufferers are female there is an element of male submission at the hands of dominant women as well, a feature of all Pyx’s work.
The novel commences with a prelude, outlining the setting and introducing the principal characters as eponymous tutor’s bride travels to the island in what appears to be the mid-19th century. The supposed editor quotes a publication date of 1897.
There follows fourteen chapters all with solid doses of correction to all the cast of submissive females from the bride to the servants, African field workers, judicial prisoners, schoolgirls and wives. The floggings are generally severe, some extremely so, but like most fantasy flagellation erotica the whippings don’t result in the sort of injury that would occur in reality. Often the recipients are aroused by their treatment and the subsequent sex scenes are plentiful and varied with the sort of extravagant detail that only an author with a true enthusiasm can provide.
The end of the book has a collection of end notes intended to add some authenticity to the claim of a lost Victorian work of erotica.
Who is Martin Pyx?
The author of this short bibliography cannot claim to know the real name of the author. Some have claimed it is Geoffrey Wagner in a late reprise of P N Dedeaux, and certainly the work is intended to emulate the master. The late Dedeaux work Aunt Anna, first published in the same decade as Pyx, closely resembles the style of The Tutor’s Bride, together with a scene of male submission. It would not surprise if Aunt Anna was a Pyx and not a Dedeaux. However there are objections to the Wagner as author thesis – why would Wagner need to invent a new unknown name when he had a perfectly good pseudonym already established. Surely if Rossett of Blue Moon had half a dozen genuinely new Dedeaux titles he would have promoted them heavily – he certainly needed the money at that stage.
And the prattling dialogue in the Sigma Cycle is unlike early Dedeaux and by the date of the Pyx books Wagner was an established serious writer with a style much more polished and complete.
The brief biographical detail offered in the introduction to Spring Fevers indicates a writer who reached adulthood in the 1970’s – generation later than Wagner. One possible clue is the dedication to Pat Califia in the beginning of Birch Fever. In Spring Fevers two characters have a brief discussion about Califia’s work. Pat Califia is a writer of dominant lesbian pornography among other works of criticism and essay. She originally identified as female but is now a transgender man. Could Califia, born in 1954, be Pyx? The age and the literary background fit the picture, however the suggestion is offered on the basis of no evidence whatsoever and can therefore be dismissed with no argument if wished. Califia’s most read erotic work, Macho Sluts, Alyson Books, 1994 and easy to find, might make interesting reading.