Themes of Pedophilia in the Works of Piers Anthony

When I was but a lad, I used to love me some Piers Anthony. The delicious puns of the Xanth series, the themes of science versus religion in The Apprentice Adept, the humorous take on humanity that was The Incarnations of Immortality—it was pure nerd heaven. I would eventually go on to outgrow his work, but not before I had devoured everything the man had written at the time. This included his lesser known efforts, not all of which were as kid-friendly as the Xanth novels. Which is how I came to read Firefly.

Published in 1990, Firefly is a pornographic horror novel about a creature that uses sex pheromones to lure its prey to their doom. Once it has them in its clutches, it proceeds to suck out their creamy filling, leaving nothing but a loose bag of skin. In between innard slurpings, the potential victims reveal their basest desires by regaling each other with appallingly graphic sexual stories. Or something to that effect. I don't quite remember. What I do remember is that one of those stories was a ten page "love" scene between a grown man and a five year old girl named Nymph.


Prepare to punish your brain:

"Your father wants to have sex with you, but doesn't dare, and your brother wants to, but doesn't know how."
"What's sex?"
"That's when a man and a woman—a grown man and grown woman—get together and do it. Children aren't supposed to."
She didn't know what he meant. A look of great perplexity showed on her face.
"What do they do?"
"They take off their clothes and lie on a bed and, well, they do it."
"What do they do? I don't understand!"
"Well, he puts his—I guess you don't know the words—his thing in her thing."
"Because it's a hell of a lot of fun, kid!"
"You mean like when Daddy plays with me?"
"Yes, only more so. A lot more so."
"I want to do it!" she told him.

Horrified? It only gets worse. The transcriber refuses to type out any more, but describes what comes next as a "wriggle-by-wriggle" description of pedophilic sex.

To make matters worse, the scene is presented as erotic. Not content to leave it at that, Anthony felt the need to justify this eroticism. In the author's note to the paperback edition of the book, he wrote that the games Nymph played with the man "were a joy to her at the time, but [were] nevertheless abuse by our society's definition (not necessarily that of other societies) ..."

Interesting take, Mr. Anthony. Do go on...

It may be that the problem is not with what is deviant, but with our definitions. I suggest in the novel that little Nymph was abused not by the man with whom she had sex, but by members of her family who warped her taste, and by the society that preferred to condemn her lover rather than address the source of the problem in her family.

Oh, you don't just suggest it, you beat us over the head with it. In a courtroom scene with all the dramatic gravitas of A Few Good Men.

The Judge refocused his eyes and mopped his brow with a handkerchief. "Is—is the Defense ready to proceed?"

"We are, Your Honor. We believe that this poignant tape establishes that though the Defendant may be technically guilty of the charge against him, he is not morally guilty. He did not seek the girl, he did not force his attention on her. He demurred at every stage, by her own testimony. It was entirely voluntary on her part. In fact, they were lovers, in the truest sense, age no barrier. The law may say he is guilty, but the law is sometimes an ass."

Several members of the Jury nodded their agreement.

Then he turned to the Jury. "If there is guilt here, then surely it is that of the father, who set her up by incestuously toying with her. And of her brother, who practiced sodomy on her with a candle. Remember, it was to escape that abuse that she first fled and found the Defendant. The Defendant never hurt her. He did only what she asked. He gave her what no other man did. He loved her. We may take issue with the manner of the expression of that love, but we cannot deny its reality. She came to him of her own accord, again and again, because what he offered her was so much better than what she received at home. Her family should be on trial!"

Later on in the book, there is a scene in which a randy old crone—who inexplicably has a one-way mirror in her shed—watches two children unsuccessfully attempt to play house. So what does she do? She takes on the role of "lube fairy" and bequeaths them some Astroglide. This aids in the kid's subsequent consummation, much to the horny hag's delight. How two ten year olds knew what to do with the lubricant is beyond me. I suppose it requires some suspension of disbelief. Moving on.

Another one of the stories in Firefly was actually written by convicted child molester, Santiago Hernandez, who is possibly one of Piers' pedophile pen-pals. Ironically, this is one of the few non-sexual stories in the book, but that doesn't stop Anthony from questioning the reason behind the man's incarceration.

But this is another bit of evidence of the problem in our society: as far as I know, Santiago Hernandez did not hurt anyone. He just happens to be sexually attracted to small boys.

I think those young boys he molested would beg to differ.

But enough about Firefly. If said book were the only instance of underage shenanigans in Anthony's oeuvre, maybe it could be overlooked as an aberration. But is isn't. Pedophilic sex also features prominently in his misguided Native American epic Tatham Mound, which I also had the misfortune of reading as a young adult. In this example Anthony once again uses the excuse of cultural differences to get his felonious freak on.

Thereafter he had the favors of many maidens, some quite young. In the Castile tribe a girl was not supposed to indulge in sexual activity until she was married, which could be some winters after she was fully developed. Here she was free to do it the moment her breasts formed, or even somewhat before, if she felt inclined. Already he had learned enough to know that age was not the criterion; the will of the maiden was. A man could not force a woman, unless he was married to her; he could only do what she wished. Among them was one who seemed to be hardly ten winters old, and her body was not yet developed. She had no prior experience. But she desired the favor of the handsome visitor, and he was obliged to render it. She alone came to him purely for love; she was smitten with him, and afraid he would depart before she grew old enough to attract him, so she came now. It was his first conquest of a genuinely inexperienced girl, and he had the wit to proceed with caution, so that she would not be hurt. In fact, he moved so slowly that she grabbed his penis impatiently and crammed it into her cleft, which was overflowing with honey. In her naïveté she had used too much. Honey squeezed out and got all over everything, but it did make the penetration easier. He was afraid that it was hurting her even so, but she seemed not to care. Everything was clumsy. Evidently he succeeded in initiating her appropriately, despite his misgivings, for the following evening Mouse Pelt returned, and expressed her pleasure with him in a most thoroughgoing manner. What a difference experience made!

Starting to see a pattern? In retrospect, even the seemingly innocuous Xanth series contained a healthy dose of child eroticism. It isn't nearly as explicit as in Tatham Mound or Firefly, but the undercurrent of sexual fantasy is still there. Characters as young as 12 years old are married and engage in the act of "stork summoning," which is playfully omitted with an ellipsis. There is also an unhealthy preoccupation with young girls' panties and what color they might be. I never really thought there was anything wrong with it as a kid, because I was roughly the same age as the characters in question and I found the whole thing quite titillating. I never stopped to question whether the much older author found it titillating as well.

Hindsight is like the miracle of laser eye surgery. Looking back, this type of thing was present in all his books—from The Apprentice Adept series to the Incarnations of Immortality to the extra rapey Bio of a Space Tyrant. I don't remember all the specifics off the top of my head (as I haven't read Anthony in 20 years), but a quick perusal of some of the previous links will provide adequate examples. 

So take a refresher course and tell me-—what is the verdict, dear readers? Is Anthony an artist exploring themes of sexuality, or merely a dirty old man getting his jollies? Should he be commended for his honesty when he says, "...if she's 36-24-36 and fair of feature, men are attracted, and so am I, regardless whether she's 15 or 50" or should he be vilified? The majority of adults who revisit Anthony's work seem to find his predilections that much more pronounced, and more than just a little unsettling.

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Joshua Chaplinsky

Column by Joshua Chaplinsky

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor. He is the author of The Paradox Twins (CLASH Books), the story collection Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape, and the parody Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has been published by Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Broken River Books, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @jaceycockrobin. More info at and

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spence's picture
spence from planet is reading Books December 2, 2011 - 10:33am

It pisses me off how easily having sex with a 5 year old is justified by their warped minds. Just like the guy recently who was arrested for having sex with a 7 year old and he said "she was the aggressor". Right. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books December 2, 2011 - 11:16am

Well, that's the rationale of the characters. But considering he's used it in two different novels, and taking his stance on child sexuality as a whole, my eyebrow is definitely raised.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind December 2, 2011 - 11:52am

When I think back on my time with Anthony's work, I only remember enjoying his writing. At the same time, however, I do remember a lot of naughtiness happening with kids around. People running around naked, girls losing their virginity, all sorts of naughty things. It didn't bother me at the time because I wasn't that much older than the kids, and by that time I was reading stuff far worse, but... now that you bring it up...

I want to defend the guy and say he wasn't writing it for pleasure, but for plot--but I haven't read his stuff as an adult, so I have no idea. Maybe I'll read the Xanth series again and see if he's just a dirty old man or... well, whatever the alternative is.


Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books December 2, 2011 - 11:57am

If it was just the Xanth stuff, I wouldn't think much of it. It's pretty harmless as a whole. But Firefly and Tatham. And Firefly. Especially Firefly. Creepsville.

JonnyGibbings's picture
JonnyGibbings December 2, 2011 - 12:06pm

Errrr-hum - insert relevant joke:
"I like my women like my Vodka... 5 years old and illegally smuggled in from Russia"


Carry on...

.'s picture
. December 2, 2011 - 12:42pm

"Why have sex with 23 year olds...when you can have sex with 20, 3 year olds?"

I want to read Firefly now. But maybe I'll start with Lolita.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books December 2, 2011 - 1:06pm

Speaking of  Nabokov, didn't people have the same issue with him? That the pedophilia theme creeped into his work a little too much? That maybe he was speaking through his characters?

Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce December 3, 2011 - 9:09am

Yeah, the difference is, with Anthony, it's all about lust and discovery, but with Nabokov, it's love. (but also lust and discovery)

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books December 3, 2011 - 10:07am

So... if you are in love with an underage person, it's acceptable?


Ben Umstead's picture
Ben Umstead from L.A. is reading Speedboat by Renata Adler December 3, 2011 - 10:39am

If he weren't so adament in defending certain things in prefaces or notes, it'd seem that the guy is exorcizing some demons in these stories, but man... that is most certainly not the case. Did he only get his jollies in writing? Who can say. I never finished a book from him when I was an adolescent, and really don't plan to now.

hereward's picture
hereward December 3, 2011 - 2:37pm

I read about a half of a Piers Anthony novel that had been sent to me by mistake by the Science Fiction Book Club back in the early'80s (I can't remember which one it was). I couldn't stand it; there wasn't any pedophilia in whatever it was I was reading, but Anthony's writing style was like fingernails on a blackboard to me. The more I read, the more irritated I got; my main impression of Anthony is that of a glib lightweight.

For many years, I couldn't quite put my finger on what my problem with Anthony's writing was. It became clearer when the subject came up in a conversation at a science fiction convention; the person I was talking to pointed out that Piers Anthony is constantly doing things in his writing that amount to him saying "Hey! Look at how clever I am! Aren't I cute?" I thought about it, and felt that I had to agree.

Besides that, any books that are as popular as Piers Anthony's are most likely no good anyway; I've found that my taste is not the same as that of the vast majority. I've never read much Stephen King, either.

splop's picture
splop December 3, 2011 - 4:15pm

The reason Piers Anthony is/was so popular is no doubt because of the tinge of pedophilia. 

Although I certainly don't believe in, like or support pedophilia, I believe that all the violence against children should stop, beginning with the kind of violence that hurts and destroys far more than mere sex could hope to do.  I refer to thrashing and beating, stomping, kicking and blazingly hating.  Any grownup that would deliberately hurt a child in any manner is a sick individual, but I would stop the traumatic violence in a priority arrangement over sex.  At least if done in the spirit of sexual desire, typical kinds of pedophilia do not rip the flesh off the child, put large knots on heads, bruise and/or hospitalize.


Rachel Harris's picture
Rachel Harris from Cumberland Basin is reading mindless fluff (god, its so hard to get through, ugh) December 3, 2011 - 4:22pm

anthony's writing is that of a gloating pedophile

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books December 3, 2011 - 4:40pm

Like the new avatar, jacks.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 4, 2011 - 2:15am

It's Pedobear to the rescue!  Saving them kids from the old goats!  

pavlova lamington's picture
pavlova lamington December 6, 2011 - 12:56am

Piers Anthony's books are filled with misogyny, rape apologism, racefail and paedophilia. Take And Eternity, the seventh book in the Incarnations of Immortality series. Aside from the insanely creepy, postively-portrayed physical relationship between a 50-year-old paedophile and a 14-year-old abuse victim, there's also a scene in a female character is transformed into a man and immediately becomes a violent, misogynistic, testosterone-mad boor who attempts to rape her female friend. Upon having her feminine form restored she is horrified, and both women conclude that "men have desires that women do not", and that the only reason that all men don't go around every day assaulting women is that "they have learned control".

This man has something seriously wrong with him.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin December 7, 2011 - 3:09pm

I read every single Xanth book when I was a kid (like, before I was 10), I'm not going to deny that I enjoyed them.

But I have to admit when I saw this article I cracked up, and I was not surprised at all,I remember often thinking that the Xanth books were strangely erotic for children's books, in fact I remember thinking it was what made them interesting... Piers Anthony apparently was molesting my mind... Iand all I can do now is laugh. There is a distinct possibility that it isn't funny, but I can't help myself.

What always struck me more was his fascination with Florida, him and Dave Berry really hammered in this idea to me that Florida is full of halfassed writers who, sure, they might be funny on occassion, but they don't really try. They just thought writing and living in florida were the "easy way out." It's a really strange belief and I apologize to any Floridians, but that's still what I'll think when I think of Anthony, not his strange and potentially dangerous sexual tastes, more that he's just kind of a lazy sonofabitch.

Zackery Olson's picture
Zackery Olson from Rockford, IL is reading pretty much anything I can get my hands on March 22, 2012 - 5:12pm

"Although I certainly don't believe in, like or support pedophilia, I believe that all the violence against children should stop, beginning with the kind of violence that hurts and destroys far more than mere sex could hope to do.  I refer to thrashing and beating, stomping, kicking and blazingly hating.  Any grownup that would deliberately hurt a child in any manner is a sick individual, but I would stop the traumatic violence in a priority arrangement over sex.  At least if done in the spirit of sexual desire, typical kinds of pedophilia do not rip the flesh off the child, put large knots on heads, bruise and/or hospitalize."


At least not in the immediate situation, but anybody who has seen the statistics about things like adolescent and adult self-injury--in both males and females by the way--might reorganize their priorities. They might also reorganize those priorities if they took a look at the statistics about how sexual trauma figures into schizophrenia in females, bipolar disorder in males and females, and borderline personality disorder as well. Sexual abuse has also been linked to eating disorders in some cases. What else would change their mind greatly is if they knew anybody who is living with the consequences of childhood or adolescent sexual abuse, consequences that were forced upon them because of the desires of some subhuman piece of filth.


I agree with you that physical abuse of any kind is wrong, whether that abuse takes the form of beating or sexual abuse. I do think, however, that your borderline dismissal of the extreme emotional damage--and subsequent self-destructive patterns of behavior--that pervade the lives of survivors of childhood sexual abuse are ridiculous in the extreme.

springheeljack's picture
springheeljack May 3, 2012 - 2:06pm

frankly i think this plot was taken out of context, this was a story told by one character to another, a story implied to come from her own passed. obviousely the author was trying to show the mindset, emotional roots of the female lead.

in her prespective, the villians were those who took away the only person who showed her affection

even though the affection was in reality sexual abuse, from her view point it was love.

sometimes, a rose is just a rose and nothing more, stop trying to read the author by his work.

Gabriel Nepenthe's picture
Gabriel Nepenthe September 28, 2013 - 8:37pm

Piers Anthony's works had kind of dropped off the map for me, after I read the horrific torture porn scene in a story contained in his 'Anthology' collection of short stories. I just couldn't bring myself to read his work after that. And in a way perhaps that was a victory on his part. He made that scene and the feeling of pain, horror and helplesness so real to me that I became physically ill. That's success as a writer.

So since I haven't read anything recent of Piers Anthony, I have no idea of the context behind any disturbing sexual themes. The only one I have any recollection about was from his Incarnations series where I have a fuzzy memory of a 16 year old girl wanting to marry her lover, but finding that she needed to move to a certain state in order to do so, as the age of consent varries depending on which state you live in. Which I later learned is actually true, as odd as that is. In some states it's actually 16. Weird.

I don't think that featuring sexual abuse as a plot point necessarily makes the author a sexual deviant nor the story centered on the abuse - potentially it's merely a plot detail to illustrate your character's journey and their motivations in life.

A good example of this is found in the manga/anime Elfen Lied. One of the characters is a homeless girl. The reason why she's homeless (and her laundry list of personality issues) is she ran away on her own - her stepfather had been 'using' her, and her mother had become jealous of the attention the girl had been getting and abused her physically and mentally as a sort of revenge tactic... which from the real-life cases I've read is an actual thing, believe it or not...

However I won't deny that some authors really are creepers. It sucks, but it's true. I don't know if Piers Anthony falls under this definition though without researching his works now for myself, and I would have to do so before levying any sort of judgement against him. At the same time though I find this task daunting as I no longer find the mans' writing enjoyable. ;P

P.S. I find the commentor springheeljack's take on the subject to be interesting, thanks for playing Devil's Advocate ~ I think some of us need to do that before getting the torches and pitchforks out.

Historicprops's picture
Historicprops January 10, 2014 - 7:36pm

Long before his books began to creep me out with an increasing strain of pedophilia,nI noticed that he had a number of incidences of people having sex with horses. First, it was mention of Conquistadors getting lost in Xanth, and stumbling across a "love spring", and getting"amorus" with their horses. That was creepy enough, but then I read the Apprentice Adept series, in which the Hero's horse transforms into a woman, and they have sex. Again, the man in the episode isn't responsible for what happens: it's the little girl, or a love spring, or something else. Not, him, no. Not ever HIS fault. 


LobsterGator's picture
LobsterGator January 28, 2014 - 4:59am

Have any of you read the Geodyssey series' he wrote?  Lots of 7-year-old girls having sex, especially in Isle of Woman and I believe also in Shame of Man.  Little girls clamoring to have the village elder take their virginity.  I managed to get through roughly half of the third book (Climate of Change, I think) before getting thoroughly disgusted with repetition, and the pedophilia he surmised took place when humans were in their infancy.   I've read the Xanth series and he always makes sure to follow the "adult" rules he's set in place in those books, that no one under 18 has sex.  I was really surprised, as you can imagine, when I read the Geodyssey books. 

Also, Piers is a homophobe.  I've asked him several times why his couples in Xanth are never same-sex, being there are love springs and centaurs are the result of man and horse falling into one, I asked him if any of his characters would be same-sex and entering a love spring together.  He said (and I'm paraphrasing), 'the country is not ready for gay characters in Xanth, it's mostly a family-friendly series.'  Yeah.  Naked, big-breasted half-demons and nymphs running around are "family friendly."  

nicoleanne's picture
nicoleanne August 18, 2014 - 9:06pm

This whole thing utterly disgusts me because it's an APOLOGY to pedophilia.

Now please allow me to come in defense of Mr. Nabokov. "Lolita" is considered one of the best literary works of all times, a classic, a masterpiece. It is one of the most beautifulyy written books I've ever read, and mind you, at first I didn't want to read it because I don't like its premise. Now let's note that it is about love, lust and GUILT. The narrator feels guilty but cannot control his obsession toward Lolita, and he refers to himself as a monster.

Now what does exactly this other "author" here brings to the table? Bad prose (sorry, it's mediocre at best), and all sorts of justifications for pedophilia. Oh, she was 5 and wanted it, he was 30 but not morally guilty of anything, and it was all ok because they were in love.

Yeah, right,

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to puke.


krazykaren's picture
krazykaren from SLC UT VIA, TX,WVA,TN,AND BORN SOUTH CHICAGO is reading THE WORD October 4, 2014 - 11:16am

I was reading the comments on the pedophile author. As a victim of sexual, religious, mental and emotional abuse by family members and stangers. What I've learned is this: There comes a time as female/ male chidren (we don't understand) but we realize r sense of a power around the male/female species. We experiment with the power of manipulation. It is up to the ADULT to set the boundaries for the child. If we are fortunate to have a healthy ADULT that does his/her job and teaches the child apropriate and inapropriate touch. DO NOT DELUDE YOURSELF THEY WANT THEIR CHILD HOOD RIPPED AWAY FROM THEM And call it L O V E.

qweasd42's picture
qweasd42 December 6, 2014 - 10:29am

Wow, thank you dear Joshua Chaplinsky, this article has made me quite interested in the works of Piers Anthony. I have only read the Incarnations series so far and I had thought that the pedophilic content only extended so far as little girls dancing the tanana. I am glad to be wrong on that.

That being said, I would like to address some comments pertaining to the Incarnations series and about pedophilia, old as they may be. Warning though, spoilers ahead. First, while it may be true that the whole scene  in "And Eternity" with Orlene turning into a man was intended to argue for compassion towards men who let their passions run wild, it only extends up to that. Compassion. Throughout the rest of the novel the characters make it a point to condemn rape,this is most apparent in the scenes with Kane the slut hating rapist. It is still a vile act very much deserving a few thousand years in hell by old and new definitions. The importance of that scene is that it sown the seed of compassion and understanding towards men's desires in Orlene. That very same seed is what drove her to help the condemned bus driver and even Kane in their penitence. For that is what is needed in the world, compassion and understanding towards evil, not blind prejudice.

Second, as with rape, child molestation, is very much still a vile sin in the Incarnations series, with the fat slob of an Incarnation candidate at the end of the sixth book, "For Love Of Evil", being set apart from all of the evil men of the world, implicitly, due to the cruel acts he did towards children. Setting him up on the same level as Parry who has orchestrated the deaths of thousands with his role in the inquisition. Did no one else wonder why it wasn't a corporate businessman who became Parry's intended replacement? Plus, there's the scene where Jolie recalls, with contempt, how young boys often raped young girls in her village during parties.

Lastly, is there anything wrong with Piers' logic? If the child wants it and you are capable of giving it to her in a way that does her no harm or ill consequence then why not give to her? I myself am a victim of child molestation and my only regret is that it was not with someone I would have wanted to have sex with.

SFLisa's picture
SFLisa January 14, 2015 - 11:35am

Like many here I read through most or all of the Xanth novels in early adolescence. Dropped Anthony after starting his autobiography and found him to be a pompous ass. 25 years later in a moment of biblio desperation picked up an old copy of the first Xanth novel.

Within the first 100 pages of this "family friendly" series I found enough questionable references that I started Googling.

Example of just one "off colour" scene. An illusion sorcoress is trying to tempt the main character into a marriage of political convenience. One aspect of the offer is her ability to change her form to any female type.

"Youth?" Suddenly she looked fourteen, very slender, lineless and innocent.[More female forms described.]

Bink was suddenly, forefully tempted. There were times when he wanted this, though he had never dared admit it openly.

At least in the Xanth series Anthony seems to cloak pedophilic and mysoginistic tendencies in fantasy. Please keep in mind that Anthony is a mainstream author. And unless he wants an Orson Scott Card level controversy he has needed to keep on one side of a certain fuzzy line. So he writes apologetically of pedophilia tendences with the attitude, "It's wrong, yeah, but it's natural to want it."

Pedophilia and rape are ligitimate literary themes to be explored because they are, horribly, a real part of life experienced by many. But Anthony's treatment of these painful themes is not in any way thoughtful or meaningful.

Please excuse my crassness, but it reeks of a child molester getting off to kids in their underwear in Sears catalogs. Not illegal but certainly very, very nasty.

mastermesh's picture
mastermesh February 17, 2015 - 11:25pm

What, no mention of the unicorn sex scene in the Adept Series?  That's got to be one of the craziest sex scenes in his books.

David Miles's picture
David Miles May 4, 2015 - 11:39pm

Having not only read but owning every Anthony novel, writing to him on and off over decades therefore knowing the man as much as the author, I can only say that I've never seen such a group of modern day witch hunters.  Do you people ( not the two who allowed for facts ) have any clue what fiction is about?  Let's talk Xanth first.  Only the original novel was written as a youth book or story.  He found that adults were buying it as much as kids and made some SLOW adjustments.  There are now over forty Xanth novels and they move in real time, characters age but does Xanth really exist? No.  The charge of pedophilia is a rather strong one.  Sexually driven sections or stories, I buy that. But it's fiction.  Only the landscape is that of Florida.  You do understand fantasy/fiction means it's not real? Firefly was not for me but do we hate because of works of fiction or ideas in people's minds?  Is this Russia 40 years ago?  Germany in pre and during WWII?  Damn I hope not.  Why is it not one person mentioned Bio of a Space Tyrant??? Because they KNOW it's adult sience fiction.  The Incarnations books are not children's reading.  If you as a parent give this to your kids that's your fault for not looking at the subject matter.  Does piers write openly about sex in all forms?  Without a doubt!  Why shouldn't an author make you look at more than just your side or one side?  As for the Adept series I just finished it for the 4th time in the years since it was published.  If you read the second series you will see that The Unicorn ( Neysa ) who one here claimed he had sex with ( keep in mind she didn't disclose her nature to him until after, being a shape changer ) had difficult with her own offspring marrying a different " breed ."  Piers address many of societies problems with use of characterization.  He makes you think outside the box.  I say prolific genius author.  You only see dirt.  The dirt is in your minds and Piers is attempting to open it to new ways of seeing our world through his words and situations.  That's what a great author does. 

acclic's picture
acclic January 5, 2016 - 9:33pm

Piers Anthony actually has had this theme in several books. He clearly thinks sex with children is just fine, and has a very typical delusion that children want and enjoy sex. It wouldn't surprise me to find Anthony has a lot of child porn on his site, and really I'm surprised no authority has ever investigated him, considering his very blatant and public endorsement of pedophilia, as shown hin his writing. 

goldie's picture
goldie August 19, 2016 - 8:37am

Makes one wonder about his personal life and his two daughters, and grandchildren..

Adam Edgington's picture
Adam Edgington from Houston, TX October 11, 2016 - 12:21pm

Great pic of the TRF centaur.  Shoulda seen him in his prime.

Not sure how I stumbled on this, but more than once as an adult I was surprised to think back on PA's work.  I read everything.  Shade of the Tree, Space Tyrant, even the alien dentist (Prostho Plus) book.  Cluster, Tarot, read 'em all.

Pedophilia is a recurring theme.  Period.  More than that, deviations and convoluted rationalizations are bog-standard for his work.  Gosh, y'all, Hope doesn't want  to rape that busty space pirate, but he just has to.   And that's the problem for me.   The real problem.

Deviations are fine and sometimes part of a story -- but a constant need to justify them and convince the reader that it's not wrong  isn't fine.  At all.

(I read dozens of his books.  My kids will never read a single one.

Doug Mertaugh's picture
Doug Mertaugh November 24, 2016 - 8:14pm

I must admit that I liked the early xanth books when I first read them even though the sexism was overwhelming.  I even recently stated rereading them and liked parts of them even though the sexism is just as overwhelming and maybe more than ever since I notice more of it.  But the pedophilia?  I had no idea until I started reading here.

I wanted to puke.  Nobody spends the amount of time he has spent writing pedophiliac stories unless he has an itch in that direction himself and nobody writes such detailed defenses of what is undeniably child molesting unless he has an itch in that direction.

I'm not saying he has actually done it.  I know he has been married for sixty years and has a daughter.  It may all be just a sex fantasy in his mind that he has channeled into story after story.

I'm still dealing with the fact that, in his Xanth stories, women are either mindless idiots or need a man to tell them what to do or both.  Ironically, he denies that he writes women as sex objects when there are people who have detailed literally dozens of sexist examples in just a few pages of any of his Xanth books.

I realize that it can be a mistake to equate the author's opinion with the opinions of characters in his stories.  But, in this case, it is a recurring theme of virtually all of the characters in all of his stories.  

As to the pedophilia, regardless of his cultural justifications, we are talking about brutal, primitive cultures in which destroying the psychological well-being of children for an adult's perversions are being justified by the author.  Children cannot see the consequences and they trust adults, especially ones they think love them.  What Anthony is trying to justify is a complete betrayal of a child's trust and a complete lack of concern for a child's well-being in the future.  F**k him.






Tybalt's picture
Tybalt from San diego is reading Shade of honor by taki drake and t.s. paul November 15, 2017 - 5:05am

Splop  it's obvious you have not been sexually abused. Which while good,means you have no idea how damaging it is. I was both. Physically and sexually abused and let me tell you the damage done by being raped at 6 years old has far outweighed the physical. Your comment makes me want to scream and bash your head in quite frankly. The arrogance of thinking that getting your body,your personhood violated by another isn't as bad is just repulsive. I'm going to stop now before I say something that will get me banned. Ugh.

Sylko's picture
Sylko November 21, 2017 - 12:41am

I searched for this topic after all the 2017 news. I was a huge PA fan as a teenager. I started with Xanth, then Incarnations (only first five out then), Apprentice books, and the Bio of a Soace Tyrant and some one-off (race against time, anthology).  It was Bio that started it. The love interest to the main character had an ongoing relationship when she was a child with an adult until she aged out of his taste. Ummmm, ewww. Then Race was pretty clear that it was anti-miscegenation. I just couldn't read any more with gusto. Then I started thinking about the Xanth books and got more uncomfortable. The women are terrible characters. 

as I started buying books for my avid fantasy/sci fi reading daughter, I got her a lot of the books I loved at her age (Hitchiker's Guide, Le Guin books and MacCaffrey and others), I hesitated with Xanth. The first 5 were my favorites but looking back at the first book with the woman who changed from sweet, beautiful & dumb to mean, smart and ugly over the course of every month, I couldn't do it.  But his defense of the "relationships" between YOUNG girls & adult men is just creepy AF.  (I can defend 14+ girls because they at least have secondary sex characteristics & can give birth, even though any man who wants to get with a 14 yo is a creep).

Not_You's picture
Not_You December 16, 2017 - 3:03pm

I went through some trouble to get The Sopaths, and having never been a big fan, I had only recently heard that the guy was a creeper, and CONFIRMED.  The worst part is that The Sopaths is a great idea, and would be a great book if this asshole could get his dick out of it.

Phil K's picture
Phil K December 29, 2017 - 12:16pm

This bears the stench of SJW hypocrites.

I've read most of Anthony's books and seen nothing of the sort. Ive seen no homosexuality crossdressers and submissive "males" either which is more likely where the accusations come from. lost count of the lesbians and misandrists screaming about "paedophilia" when the subject is a woman in her early 20s - or late teens at the youngest (read up on the corrupt PC war against male only, heterosexual only types in the public eye who "touched up" girls in the 70s. One such accuser is now a middle aged lesbian working for the BBC (as most of the "wimmin" are nowadays) who accused DJ Dave Lee Travis of....wait for it......patting her backside when she was 17. This was apparently "paedophilia" to the man hating corrupts (they're always in management of PUBLICLY PAID "jobs" notice ?)

And notice these are the same people who defend muslim "white christian only" underage girl rapists, remember.And make excuses for their religions thinking its fine and dandy to have 8 year old sex slaves.

The basis of this SJW tripe against Anthony has bugger all to do with paedophilia. Its ONLY to do with his "traditional" view of sex with women and REAL femininity not feminism or bloated cacophony of whining homosexuality

Esteryear's picture
Esteryear April 15, 2018 - 12:28am

I began reading Xanth in my later 20's and wandered here and there throughout the series over the years. Must admit that more than one of the puns left me doing double-takes and most of the time laughing----But subtlely lowering my head trying to close the book over what I thought had just happened: naked creatures wanting "it" with other creatures, etc. But having not read any "adult work" at that age I assumed this would be more or less on that level. Since I STILL have not read any "adult" books (That I know of.) I have nothing to compare it to. Overall, the humorous side of the books was-what-I-was-looking-for anyway--not sexuality. So for years I had considered the possibility that the guy had a twisted outlook that was highly contributed to by his more twisted readers who furnished him with more puns to use up.  The repetitive use of puns one after the other makes for really head banging reading after a while, which resulted in my putting his books down for long lengths until I could tolerate taking them up at a later date.

Anyway, when I am old and bedridden I figure going through them in actual sequential order would be a better way to keep track of what was going on.  By then the sense of sexual flavor would be in the past.

However, I did take a moment and sent a message via some link to him and thanking him for the humor in the Xanth series.  I did receive an odd reply back--well, receiving any reply back was totally unexpected-- the response was; "He said he has written other books."  This seemed a bit on the petulant side. I have not read any of the other books, but (See above paragraph.) there will come a day for that...

I do believe that the Xanth series out-grew Mr. Anthony and many years from now, maybe that is all he will be remembered for, and that bothers him very much.  And in a way, maybe it should.  After all for the major part of the mainstay for the series, once it caught on, were furnished to him by his readers.  All he had to do was fill in the blanks between puns.

As far as trying to interpret his motives or state of psychological balance/imbalance at the time of his writing the series:  Who cares? 

However naughty they were. or whatever the author was doing under his typewriting desk does not matter since I was not exposed to his exertions except through a paper bound book.  I would believe that "out there" in the author/literary world there are millions of others who have done the same or came very close to leading their readers down that same slightly/graphically tainted path.

Dear Tybalt: 

Before I get flamed by a response from you: yes I was sexually assaulted at age 5 and continuously until I was old enough to wander alone over 113 acres by myself hiding in the treelines and pastures, showing up only at dark in time to ride back home.It destroyed 40 years of my life in a way that was entirely different--I imagine--than yours. But let's not go there.  Let's just agree that people analyze by perceptions tainted by life experiences, meaning that reality is sometimes different for all of us.


slideyfoot's picture
slideyfoot June 20, 2020 - 6:57am

Yep, I loved Piers Anthony as a child. Golem in the Gears is the first book of any kind I can remember reading (I'm guessing I was something like 10 or 11, so this would have been late 1980s/early 1990s), Crewel Lye was a particular favourite as I devoured the rest of the Xanth series, also really liked the Adept series. Biggest favourite of all for me was Battle Circle (which I got in that big omnibus edition). My sister was a huge Piers Anthony fan too, she has kept on buying them.

However, when I reread some of those old favourites a few years ago, like many of the rest of the commenters here, that uncomfortable sexual content really stood out to me. Never noticed it as a child, but as an adult, it's a disturbing theme. I should re-read them again, but I would most definitely never recommend Anthony for children, highly inappropriate from what I remember of the last read through. 

amberview's picture
amberview February 19, 2021 - 1:15pm

I remember reading any book that he wrote and thinking it was interesting that no one was coming after him for his overtly pedophilic themes and scenarios. My parents had no idea what I was reading and were probably excited that I was a reader. Looking back it kind of makes you think these books were like pedophile grooming. How does his wife and children feel when they read the books. Did they read the books?