The general and unavoidable truth is that reading takes dedication and precious time, and long-form reading takes even more time, even when the book is not nearly as long as those late nineteenth-century doorstops. And in comparison to the works of visual artists or live performers, any naturist aspect in writing is not immediately evident, nor presented visually in any way other than in your own imagination. I’ve written more about this here.
Within the minority of people who still read long-form, only some of them read fiction. (I’ve met many avid readers who refuse to read fiction.) Then, within the fiction-reading public, you’ve got your romance readers, your mystery mavens, your science fiction folk, etc. Very, very, very few readers will pick up “naturist fiction,” which is why some of us who write what could be called naturist fiction prefer to also publicize it as science fiction, mystery, or whatever genre is appropriate.
So what is naturist fiction? Let me offer a definition:
naturist fiction: novels, novellas, or short stories, of most any genre, in which an integral aspect of the plot is the adaptation of one or more characters to social nudism in a context supportive of naturism.
This definition is wide open regarding not only genre, but also setting, time period, character types, tone, etc. The definition mentions social nudism, but then clarifies “in a context supportive of naturism,” because some fiction explores social nudism in erotic or degrading contexts not related to naturism. Would it be possible to have naturist fiction in which social nudism is not depicted? Maybe, but it would be harder to link it convincingly to naturism (see definition here), since one of its basic tenets is social nudism.
Walker does a stellar job expanding the premise (and terrain) of the portal-accessed Mirror Earth in which everyone lives clothes-free. Introduced to a large and diverse cast, we get to catch up on memorable characters from the first book, like Jane, Denise, and Walter, as they are thrust into action to thwart the plans of a greedy corporate villain. We meet new characters on both earths (and beyond) who are forced to examine their values and make tough decisions, often with little time. Our reading is spurred along by romance, industrial espionage, and the odd creatures and organic technology that characterize the Mirror Earth. The alternating-chapter format of the first book continues here, which adds to the suspense and shows off Walker’s terrific plotting. The ending, in particular, is very well done – satisfying, suspenseful, and appropriate.
The novel can and should be classified as science fiction. But it is also, most certainly, naturist fiction. There are a couple of new characters whose adaptation to social nudism in a context supportive of naturism is featured, and recurring characters continue to remark on their adaptation to naturism. These successful and life-affirming nude adaptations contrast with, and prevail against, the unhealthy, prurient attitude toward nudity that is displayed by one of the other new characters.
Just before the end of 2016, I got to read drafts of naturist fiction works in progress from both P. Z. Walker and Robert Longpré. Let me just say that it was a privilege to read these drafts, and I am very excited about these works that will be available sometime soon, no doubt! There are also–and this is very important–other writers of naturist fiction out there whose work (or new work) I simply have not read YET: writers including T. H. Pine, Wallace Greensage, and Ted Bun, among others. And there are of course many writers who produce fine non-fiction work about naturism – essential reading, to be sure. These writers include bloggers, travel reviewers, poets, playwrights, essayists, and academic writers published by Nude and Natural, other naturist magazines, or academic journals and presses–very, very important work.
I mentioned above that reading takes commitment and time. So does writing long-form fiction – in fact, creating art of any kind usually takes quite a lot of time and dedication, from years of practice on down to the draft or drafts before a particular finished product. In the Internet age, people like for art to be free. But given the amount of time and skill that artists put into their work, with real costs involved, it makes sense to value their work through payment. Writers of naturist fiction are not unlike any other kinds of artists in this respect.
Like most artists, I try to provide a mix of free content online with paid content. For example, last year I not only published a novel, Aglow, available as paperback or Kindle at a fairly low price, but I also published a mystery novella serialized in eight parts, Bugs & Bares, that you can read right here for free.
So I am very thankful for your support. Shout out to @Liveclothesfree and @hontouniheart for their promotions of my work as well as other naturist writers! Clothesfreelife.com is even sponsoring a Clothes Free Life 2017 Reading Challenge – see here for more details. The continued success of this genre of fiction brings hope for those of us who write it!