Lightning Strikes Neville Onions Again: Pony Book Stirs Debate in London
On July 13, DaRK PaRTY published exclusive excerpts from children’s author Neville Onions' forthcoming book Phylst the Pony. Here is the link: http://darkpartyreview.blogspot.com/2006/07/pony-tails-childrens-author-neville.html. The book is Onions first in more than 30 years despite the fact that he was a bestselling children’s writer in the United Kingdom in the late 60s and early 70s. Already, the book is under vicious attack by the London media.
Here is a wire service story on the developments:
(Reuters) LONDON __ Author Neville Onions, 63, is no stranger to controversy. Two of his children’s books published in 1973 were banned in the United Kingdom after Christian groups successfully argued that the books contained thinly veiled drug references to LSD, magic mushrooms, and marijuana.
The resulting scandal ruined Onions’ publishing career and led to the removal of the two books – Damon Trips Out and Falling Down the Rabbit Hole – from bookstore shelves. In July, after a 30 year hiatus from writing, Onions announced his return to children’s literature with the upcoming publication of Phlyst the Pony by noted children’s publishing house, Cranberry Peach Books. The book, which is about a pony and his friendship with a water fairy, is scheduled for mass distribution on September 18.
Yet already the book is causing controversy – and this time with book reviewers, who have questioned the sexual content of Phlyst the Pony. The reviewer for the London Daily Mail called the book “smut” and the literature editor at the London Evening Standard described the advance copy of book as “a twisted orgy of homosexual pornography.”
“I was deeply disturbed by the excerpts that I’ve read,” said Literature Professor William Straw of University College of London. “This is a book targeted at six, seven and eight year old children and it contains graphic and disturbing sexual imagery that you’d expect to find scrawled on a men’s room wall.”
Onions denied the charges, but declined to comment for this story.
Terry Goodkind, president of Cranberry Peach Books, released this statement yesterday: “Cranberry Peach Books is dedicated to our audience of juvenile readers and we pride ourselves for publishing original, creative and wholesome children’s literature. We are in the process of reviewing the contents of Mr. Onions’ book and will make an official statement after a thorough investigation of the material.”
Prof. Straw provided Reuters with several examples of what he calls “severely unsettling” material from Phlyst the Pony: • "O glorious day!" he thought. "Take me in thy arms and squeeze me like a sticky bath towel!" • His heart grew and grew until he could stroke it with his sweaty hands. Here was a magnificent pony on who he could impale his never-ending love to! • Puckerlip wrapped his skinny, pale arms around Phlyst's neck as his growing love was replaced by a mounting fear. His fear grew so large and bulging that he could no longer fit it in his mouth. • Afterwards, they swam naked in the cold river to quench the fire of their passion.
DaRK PaRTY contacted Onions yesterday at his London flat. He called the controversy a “tempest in a tea pot” and vowed to fight the campaign mounting against him and his new book.
“These charges are completely unfounded and grossly misrepresent the innocent contents of Phlyst the Pony – a book about male friendship,” Onions said. “I will fight these charges with all of my pumping, engorged heart and make sure the children of the United Kingdom get to enjoy the adventures of Phlyst on September 18.”