More Lecherous Limericks

Isaac Asimov, that sensuous dirty old man, was not prepared for the nature of the thunderous storm of approval that greeted his book Lecherous Limericks. He had rather thought it would be audible.

There were other unmistakable signs of success.

Within the first six months of publication, dozens of copies had been sold. Upon being questioned, the book editor of the New York Times said enthusiastically, “Lecherous What?” Booksellers by the score, when asked if they stocked the book, nodded their heads vigorously and said, “Isaac Who?” Letters arrived from appreciative readers the world over, some of them actually ticking with excitement and requiring a quick dousing in a pain of water to prevent spontaneous combustion from over-admiration.

Naturally, Asimov felt he owed it to humanity to give it more of his tremendously successful verse.

There was only one objection to this at first. The publishers, it seemed, had ordered an environmental study, and the results indicated that Asimov’s limericks might have a deliterious effect on the ozone layer. Being of the most noble and socially conscious variety of publishers, they hesitated to risk the fate of the world by publishing additional limericks by Asimov.

Asimov, a biochemist by profession, was able to demonstrate, however, that some of the links in the argument made use of unwarranted chemical assumptions; that, more important still, the authors of the study were anti-Poets; and that, most important of all, the record of Lecherous Limericks proved that if a second book were not published, the publishers would stand to lose a handsome sum of money.

The publishers, open-minded individuals, were forced to admit, at the mention of that sum, that social consciousness could be carried too far, and they commissioned the book…

Another collection of one hundred original and sensitive flowers of limerickal beauty, celebrating the age-old mysteries of genderical intercourse, and fittingly entitled More Lecherous Limericks.

When asked if he plans a third volume of limericks, he says, “Certainly! These books are a veritable pewter-mine!”

Having given a recommendation for Lecherous Limericks on the basis that Asimov fans should at least be aware of the intensity of the fun he had making up dirty limericks—well, one book is enough, and I can safely steer people away from the sequels.

More Lecherous Limericks picks up where the previous book left off—again, it contains 100 limericks, but they’re numbered 101 to 200. Each has a title and some commentary, sometimes including earlier, rejected versions of the limerick, and one is left with astonishment at just how much effort the Good Doctor spent on this. (Oh, well, one man’s meat and all that.)

(I will confess, of course, that although I’m not so prudish as to dislike books like The Sensuous Dirty Old Man, I am prudish enough that Asimov’s dirty limericks never did anything for me, so I’m not entirely an unbiased judge here.)

As before, the book is illustrated, but to be frank that’s one of its worst problems. The artist here, Julien Dedman, has a rather more primitive style than the artist for Lecherous Limericks, and the result is not entirely pleasant. The drawings are more angular, more cartoon-y, and to compensate for this, Dedman uncovers as many breasts as he possibly can. In doing so, he misses out on the subtly which Asimov generally brings to the subject. Asimov is above all trying to be clever with the language, and is rarely crude. Nipples popping out on every page is considerably more heavy-handed than the Good Doctor himself was with his bawdiness.

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