Anybody who spends as much time as we do in romance and romance-adjacent book circles has heard of Chuck Tingle, but how many of us have purchased and read any of his books? Well, we couldn’t hold back our curiosity any more, so this year we’re diving in feet first. Dinosaurs? Cryptids? Animated inanimate objects? Physical manifestations of ideas and current events? We just have to know what’s behind those hilarious book covers.
Why did you think this was a good idea?
Erin: Could I have read these books on my own? Yes. Would it be more fun (and more likely to actually happen) if I roped in my romance-reading buddies? Definitely.
Holly: I blame Erin, frankly. Ok, but I also admit that I have been Tingle curious for a while and this is probably the only way it was actually going to happen.
Ingrid: Because there’s really no other way to get away with titling a blog post “Jingle, jingle, here’s Chuck Tingle”.
Erin: That really did clinch it.
What do you know about Chuck Tingle?
Erin: He lives in, like, Montana? And even when he does an event, he wears a paper bag on his head? Not much, I guess. But when he shows up on Twitter, it’s like a mic drop every time.
Holly: I first fell down the Tingle rabbit hole in 2015-ish, when he was nominated for a Hugo award by some angry white dudes who thought sci-fi was becoming too woke. (Here’s a Vox explainer on the whole thing.) His response was, of course, was to write a new story: “Slammed in the Butt By My Hugo Award Nomination.” I got really excited about the whole thing and his philosophy of love and I was going to write about paper about the theology of it or something but my execution very rarely keeps up with my ideas so that never happened.
To actually answer the question: What I know about him is that he’s famously reclusive and writes gay erotica that leans absurdist and often satirizes current events.
Ingrid: I know about the bag on the head situation and that Erin cackles whenever we hear whatever title Tingle’s just released. Just the title, mind you…she didn’t even require more than that. I know he writes clever gay erotica and that he’s got his finger (and possibly other things?) on the pulse of current events.
What are you expecting from Chuck Tingle’s books (known as Tinglers)?
Erin: I feel like Chuck Tingle on social media is clever and sometimes profound, but I’m expecting the actual books to be totally bananas.
Holly: Um. Butt sex? But with dinosaurs? And toasters and jet planes? I’ve gathered that he has this philosophy of radical inclusion and that love is love, and that his books came from the moment when people were wringing their hands about gay marriage and saying that people were going to marry their toasters next, and Chuck Tingle was basically like, “Hold My Beer.”
Ingrid: I really don’t know. Will it be really tongue in cheek? Will it be sensual and lush with detail? I really have no idea.
Chuck Tingle is prolific, and he writes really short books. How did you choose what to read this week?
Erin: Well, Holly already picked a dinosaur book, and I couldn’t say the title “Pounded by That Handsome Bigfoot Hiding on the Wing of my Plane Whose Wiener is Huge” without laughing, so it seemed like a promising choice. Also, I really needed to know how the sex worked if the bigfoot is on the outside of the plane, right?
Holly: “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” is the book that was nominated for a Hugo. So it seemed like a defining work in his oeuvre. Yes, I just used the word oeuvre to describe a collection of short stories about dinosaurs with big schlongs.
Ingrid: I went with something based solely on the title and did not consider Erin, Holly, or the blog’s needs whatsoever.
How excited are you to read these Tinglers and discuss with the team?
Erin: So excited. I really hope this is as entertaining as I’ve built it up to be in my head.
Holly: Discussing smut with the team is one of my favorite pastimes. Adding a dinosaur and a well-hung bigfoot and the physical manifestation of holiday shopping to the mix will just make it more fun.
Ingrid: I’m going in with a completely open mind.