East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

These are not the cavemen you are looking for


The things one learns! While I juggle writing jobs (having divided my day in three chunks – morning, afternoon and after-dinner), I am reading – mostly at lunchtime – and looking for missing bits of documentation. And considering I am revising a neolithic-style story, I thought it might be fun to check out a few novels about the primitive world. I love Burroughs’ Land That Time Forgot and Pellucidar series, and I think I have already mentioned Lin Carter’s Zanthodon. And then, in a totally different league, there’s Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman.
But I am game for more – this might be the right time to go to the library and check out a copy of Clan of the Cave Bear.
Is there anything else? Let’s look around for some new reading stuff.
Well, this is the twenty-first century – so I googled “caveman books”, and I found a big fat list on Goodreads, twenty-five pages and… oh!

For some mysterious reason (mysterious to me, at least), a lot of soft-core and erotic romance got listed under “caveman books”.
Stuff like…

Like a pagan god, Rolfe the Relentless rode into Castle Aelfgar to claim it as his prize—and Lady Alice as his bride. Lauded for his bravery in France, in England he was the hated enemy. Once ensconced in his new domain, Rolfe became determined to tame the Saxon beauty Ceidre, Alice’s illegitimate sister, whose spirit and sensuality made him risk treason to have her—not Lady Alice—in his bed.

What’s this to do with cavemen? And why is there what looks like a 19th century cavalry saber hilt (quite bejeweled, by the way) wrapped in flowers on the cover? And a golden ribbon?
I can imagine Rolfe the Relentless’ Saxon raiders mocking their boss behind his back for his liking of flowers and glittery things.
And what about this…?

Juliet Simon gets herself into all kinds of situations, but breaking into the scary mansion near her college campus has got to take the cake. When she finds more than she bargains for behind closed doors, will her fear take over, or will she fall for the beast? 
Kane Viscardi is unlike other vampires. He’s spent most of his time hiding away and is alone in the world without a mate. Until one night when there’s an unexpected knock at the door. Suddenly something awakens inside of him for the first time in a century.

A vampire? On a college campus?
Caveman books? Really?
What the fuck, Goodreads?!
And selecting a page at random…

Ten years after their broken affair, Sebastian and Caroline meet again: this time in very different circumstances, against the background of the war in Afghanistan.
Now a successful journalist, Caroline meets Chief Sebastian Hunter, US Marine. Will this chance encounter rekindle the erotic madness of her passionate affair with a younger man?

Do we care?
And why does the guy on the cover look as passionate as a guy doing his tax returns?
But anyway, whatever happens between Sebastian and Caroline takes 375 pages, so I guess there’s a lot of rekindling going on.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against romance, erotica, plain old porn and all things in between.
What really really makes me mad is the complete hijacking of a category, a classification. Because scattered among those 1250 titles there is Clan of the Cave Bear, and there is a book about primitive paintings, and a few others. But they are completely drowned in a mass of books about people screwing. Which is a thing that not only cavemen do.
And considering that Goodreads is a user-curated system, this carelessness in tagging the books is a sign of a general carelessness of the users. The readers. The people that should be interested in what I write.
This makes me SO mad!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “These are not the cavemen you are looking for

  1. Hahaha, I think this has a lot to do with the reasonably graphic sex scenes you’ll find in Clan of the Cave Bear (and more so in Auel’s subsequent books). Goodreads probably assumes if you like CotCB you’re the type who also likes the erotica found in books like Bitten by the Beast. CotCB is a good read, has some good insights into cavemen times, but also has some colourful sex scenes! Enjoy 😁


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.