In 1907, the French battleship Iéna was destroyed when munitions it was carrying exploded, killing 120 people. A nitrocellulose-based weapon propellant had become unstable with age and self-ignited.
In 1908, La Bonne Auberge became the earliest known pornographic film. It depicted a sexual encounter between a French soldier and an innkeeper’s daughter. Like all films at the time, and for decades afterward, it was made with a highly combustible nitrocellulose-based film stock.
Loosely based on these historical events, The Good Inn follows the lone survivor of the Iéna explosion as he makes his way through the French countryside, has a sexual adventure with an innkeeper’s daughter, and even more deeply into a strange counter universe. It is a volatile world where war and art exist side by side. It is also the very real story of the people who made the first narrative pornographic film. The novel weaves together real historical facts to recreate this lost piece of history, as seen through the eyes of a shell-shocked soldier who finds himself the subject and star of the world’s first stag film. Through Soldier Boy’s journey we explore the power of memory, the simultaneously destructive and healing power of light, and how the early pioneers of stag films helped shape the film industry for generations to come.