Peter Gus Sotos|
April 17, 1960
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Peter Sotos (born April 17, 1960) is an American writer and musician. In his books, Sotos examines sadistic sexual criminals and sexually violent pornography, particularly involving children. His writings are interpreted by some as commenting on media hypocrisy around these issues. His books are often first person narratives, taking on the point of view of the sexual predator in order to explore sadistic and pedophilic sexual impulses.
Pure magazine and after
In 1984, while the day care sex abuse hysteria phenomenon was sweeping the nation and while attending the Art Institute of Chicago, Sotos began producing the controversial magazine Pure, notable as the first zine dedicated to serial killer lore. The original publications are now collectors' items.
In addition to offering many details about the crimes of serial killers and Nazis, the text in the magazine praises them, describing them using such terms as "genius", "glorious", "exemplary", and "illustrious". The text is juxtaposed with pictures and newspaper clippings relevant to the crimes discussed, showing that the media also abuse the victims. A short manifesto introducing the first issue says the magazine "satiates and encourages true lusts."
A photocopy from a magazine of child pornography was used as the cover of issue #2 of Pure which led to Sotos pleading guilty to possession of child pornography, receiving a suspended sentence. A copy of the magazine was found by Scotland Yard in Edinburgh, in the home of a suspect in a series of child abductions, murders and grave robbings, which led to Sotos' arrest.
Despite his early legal troubles, Sotos continues to garner support for his ideas and literary output: in the foreword to the French edition of Index (1999) the publisher Jean-Jacques Pauvert compared him to Marquis de Sade; the American author Bruce Benderson has been analyzing his writings for La Nouvelle Revue Française; in 2012 Sotos joined Dennis Cooper for a lecture at the Centre Georges Pompidou; in 2015 the German contemporary art magazine Texte zur Kunst published “Proxy: Peter Sotos in Conversation”.
Half an autofiction half a survey based on newspaper clippings, Index (1996) sinks in perversion, violence and sex abuses, testifying of a declining culture.
Predicate (2005) explores the Dunblane Massacre in Scotland in 1996 and the motives and life of the perpetrator Thomas Watt Hamilton. Other topics covered include Operation Ore, the Wonderland murders, Russian orphanages, Megan's Law, and non-nude teen websites.
Comfort and Critique (2005) explores the hidden motives of reporters and citizens as shown by their reactions to sexual crimes.
Dealing with sex offenders and the art of photography, Lordotics (2008) is revisiting previous Sotos' writings as snapshots, creating pornography from reviewing pornography.
Pure Filth (2012) dives into transcripts the gonzo movies porn star Jamie Gillis produced during the '90s. Gillis adds an introduction to each transcript. Sotos, who was a friend of Gillis, brings his own perspective to these records. The book was completed a few days before Gillis died in February 2010.
Desistance (2014) is focused on the works of French photographer Antoine D'Agata.
In 1992, Sotos released the solo album Buyer's Market, which consisted of sound collages of spoken word samples from parents, law-enforcement officers and victims of sex crimes. The album was produced by Steve Albini.
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In popular culture
- Pure, 1984-1985, Self-published and released two issues, with a third having been completed before controversy of publication led to a now-infamous trial.
- Parasite, 1993-1995, Self-published twenty issues.
- Total Abuse: Collected Writings, 1984-1995: Pure, Tool, Parasite, 1995 (Goad to Hell Enterprises, ISBN 1-111-17832-1)
- Index, 1996, Printed in 1998 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840680225)
- Special, 1998 (Rude Shape, ISBN 978-1890528010)
- Lazy, 1999 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840680102)
- Tick, 2000 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840680485)
- Selfish, Little: The Annotated Lesley Ann Downey, 2004 (Void Books, ISBN 978-0977799510)
- Proxy: Peter Sotos Pornography 1991-2000, 2005 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840680805). A compendium of five of Sotos' works (Tool, Special, Tick, Index and Lazy). First edition, with CD by Sotos and Steve Albini.
- Comfort and Critique, 2005 (Void Books, ISBN 978-1616583484)
- Predicate, 2005 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681369)
- Waitress, 2005 (Creation Books). Came as an extra for those who preordered a copy of Predicate from Creation Books.
- Show Adult, 2007 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681499)
- Waitress, 2007 (Creation Books). Separate volume from the one included with Predicate. Came with orders of Show Adult in hardcover.
- Lordotics, 2008 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681529)
- Perfect: The Collected Peter Sotos Volume One, 2009 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681550)
- Waitress, 2009 (Creation Books). Third in a series of additional material offered in limited editions from Creation. Came with pre orders of Perfect.
- Public: The Collected Peter Sotos Volume Two, 2009 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681574)
- Waitress, 2009 (Creation Books) Fourth in a series of additional material offered in limited editions from Creation. Came with pre orders of Public.
- Private: The Collected Peter Sotos Volume Three, 2009 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681581)
- Waitress, 2009 (Creation Books). Fifth in a series of additional material offered in limited editions from Creation. Came with pre orders of Private.
- Kept: The Collected Peter Sotos Volume Four, 2010 (Creation Books, ISBN 978-1840681642)
- Waitress, 2010 (Creation Books). Sixth in a series of additional material offered in limited editions from Creation. Came with pre orders of Kept.
- Mine, 2011 (Creation Books, reprinted in paperback by Nine-Banded Books in 2013, ISBN 978-0578112336)
- Pure Filth, 2012 (Feral House, ISBN 978-1936239313) with Jamie Gillis
- Tool, 2013 (Nine-Banded Books, ISBN 978-1616583491). First printing as a stand-alone volume.
- Home, 2013 (Kiddiepunk) with images by Michael Salerno
- Desistance, 2014 (Nine-Banded Books, ISBN 978-0989697279)
- Ingratitude, 2018 (Nine-Banded Books, ISBN 978-0990733584)
Texts featuring Peter Sotos
- Apocalypse Culture, edited by Adam Parfrey, interview with Peter Sotos (Amok Press, 1987, ISBN 978-0941693028)
- Apocalypse Culture II, edited by Adam Parfrey, chapter by Peter Sotos (Feral House, 2000, ISBN 978-0922915576)
- The Gates of Janus by Ian Brady, afterword by Peter Sotos (Feral House, 2001, ISBN 978-0922915736)
- Straight to Hell: 20th Century Suicides, edited by Namida King, contributed to by Peter Sotos (Creation Books, 2003, ISBN 978-1840680904)
- .45 Dangerous Minds: The Most Intense Interviews from Seconds Magazine, edited by Steven Blush and George Petros (Creation Books, 2005, ISBN 978-1840681246)
- Pornocracy by Catherine Breillat, afterword by Peter Sotos (Semiotext(e), 2008, ISBN 978-1584350477)
- The Gates of Janus: Expanded Edition by Ian Brady, new afterword by Peter Sotos: Bait (Feral House, 2015, ISBN 978-1627310109)
- Linnet Myers and Dave Schneidman (December 6, 1985). "$100,000 Bond in Child Pornography Case". Chicago Tribune.
- NRF #577 (April 2006)
- Centre Pompidou: Peter Sotos — Mine Kept
- Texte zur Kunst #98: Media (June 2015)
- YouTube: “Peter Sotos Reading at St. Mark's Bookshop, NYC”
- YouTube: Buyer's Market by Peter Sotos
- I am Steve Albini, ask me anything
- Pitchfork: “An Interview with Xiu Xiu” (April 9, 2006)
- Stereogum: “Xiu Xiu & Michael Gira Cover Queen & Bowie” (February 29, 2008)
- San Francisco Bay Guardian: “In the Weirdness of Xiu Xiu” (March 16, 2010)
- Under the Radar: “2014 Artist Survey: Xiu Xiu” (January 28, 2015)
- Palais de Tokyo: Program from April 13 to 30, 2005
- New Galerie presents What's Up Doc?
- YouTube: “Omi Is Pregnant”, excerpt from Love by Gaspar Noé
- IMDb: Love by Gaspar Noé
- Nine-Banded Books
- Feral House
- Laurence Viallet
- Peter Sotos: A Case Study in Lust and the Unconditioned by Michael Lujan
- Fucked in the Head by Travis Jeppesen
- Peter Sotos : Aucun autre crime que l'amour du crime by Christophe Bourseiller
- Instinct, Drive, and Reality: An Interview with Peter Sotos (The Hoover Hog)
- Peter Sotos Day by Dennis Cooper
- Interview with Peter Sotos by Brandon Stosuy (Fanzine)
- Tesco Fest 2011, Brooklyn NY
- Natt&Dag (May 2011)
- The Putrid Voyeurisms of Peter Sotos by Blake Butler (Vice)
- Basilica Soundscape 2013, Hudson NY (Pitchfork)