I am opening a can of worms when I approach the idea of trying to define Naturist Fiction. Defining any kind of word is problematical. Despite any attempts to define naturism or naturist, the only thing that emerges is that nudity is a prerequisite.
Some equate the word with a percentage of time one is nude. Others equate the word with nudity in social settings only. Then there are others who use the word for describing self and others in solitary environments such as in a room, apartment, home, or even in the cab of a tractor. A few who consider themselves purists demand that the nudity must be outdoors in a natural setting such as a forest or along a mountain path.
There are other ideas held by yet other different groups of people, but it isn’t important to enumerate all of them. Defining naturism and naturist is problematic at best. Perhaps the dissertation being prepared by Sandy Bottoms, as noted by Will two weeks ago in his post Dissertation on Naturist Fiction will help solve the problem of defining naturist fiction.
Added to the complexity is the issue of worldviews that are different, even between people who seemingly agree on a definition for naturist. I wrote a blog post more than a week ago at my own site about the problem of worldview which might be worth a read. How one understands the outer social world results in differences in what a word means. How one understands, or even acknowledges as the inner world creates sharper contrasts in definition. So, it should come as no surprise when a plethora of books are emerging that claim the genre of naturist fiction.
Last week’s post by Paul, Brave Nude World, focused on one such book of the same name. In case you missed it, you can find it here. As Paul noted, the book had elements of naturist fiction as we, as a group of three, accept. However, though nudity, the first requisite fact, continues through the story, it is very difficult to call it naturist fiction. Somehow, I think there are quite a number of naturist fiction readers that will agree with us – it all has to do with the issue of sexual activity in the story. That said, I am as equally certain that there are others would would disagree with us and be just as adamant that the book is naturist fiction.
I am currently writing a book which I wouldn’t define as naturist fiction. There is nudity in the story. The nudity isn’t focused on sexual activity, so that problem is ruled out. So why do I hesitate in calling the story naturist fiction? There are no preoccupations with the state of nudity, other than initial surprise by the main character when he comes upon the scene of nude others. And, almost as soon as he is surprised, the nudity loses it centre of attention.
The nudity is a normal state of affairs and unremarkable. Think of it as natural nudity in a scene. Does this mean the novel falls into the realm of naturist fiction? Or, does the novel find itself in a different genre?
In comparison to my novels that I don’t hesitate to call Naturist fiction, including my latest novel, Deja Vu which was edited by Paul, this latest effort is subtle when it comes to the presence of nudity. The nudity isn’t a central pillar of the story. In fact, the nudity could have been left out entirely [with difficulty] and not have affected the story line. So, perhaps that is what is missing in my estimation in defining naturist fiction.
As readers of naturist fiction, what do you expect when you see the book advertised as naturist fiction? Which books with nudity do you feel aren’t naturist fiction? Don’t hesitate to be honest and give examples.