**spoiler alert** I've liked some of Jeannette Winterson's books in the past - most notably Oranges Aren't the Only Fruit and her more typically surre**spoiler alert** I've liked some of Jeannette Winterson's books in the past - most notably Oranges Aren't the Only Fruit and her more typically surreal (and admittedly a little schmaltzy) The Passion. There were some really interesting ideas in this book that were sort of shallowly explored. I love the idea of a 'Robo sapiens' - the first of its kind perhaps - falling in love for no particular reason. But there really was no particular reason, other than falling in love with the sort of main character is the easiest way to tell that story. But that whole story could have been so much more - not as a romance but as an exploration of humanity, and emotion, and who you allow yourself to have feelings for and uncanny divide type prejudices... but really it was just... shallow and frustrating. There was a bit of ... sort of time-hopping? or something going on that was honestly a little confusing. I mean, Winterson's sort of famous for that kind of stitching together of different perspectives in different times, but this one felt a little pat and over-reached. It reminded me a little of The Fountain, too, or something like that, with its attempt to almost reincarnate people "meant to be together" in different places and times. That's frankly something I've never liked, and am growing quite tired of - and that's when it's done in such a way that it makes sense. And some attempt was made, that for me at least totally failed, to connect these different time periods and different failing societies in history and different explorers 'discovering' new worlds to each other with some kind of metaphor - particularly something was going on in trying to reach for a larger metaphor with the title. I'm assuming the author was trying to reference what happened to the people on Easter Island when they realized they had doomed themselves with their overuse of resources, particularly to build their giant and now famous statues. But this attempt at meta just doesn't work. I get the idea, and the message... but, I really feel like this book could have been really interesting if it had just been written by someone else. Or perhaps if Winterson had tried to venture a little further away from her usual style of writing. Winterson's style leaves a little too much hanging in the surreal to make enough connections or sense, or to explore any of her most interesting ideas in any real depth. Fans of Winterson might feel differently, but this book was ultimately disappointing for me. ...more
I thought the third volume picked up again quite a bit in action and excitement. Natalya is one of my *favorite* characters and that whole plot line iI thought the third volume picked up again quite a bit in action and excitement. Natalya is one of my *favorite* characters and that whole plot line is pretty brilliant. ...more
I liked this book a lot; unreasonably so perhaps. Several things just really worked for me and I'm not entirely certain I could pick them apart. SomeI liked this book a lot; unreasonably so perhaps. Several things just really worked for me and I'm not entirely certain I could pick them apart. Some elements were no surprise, and I could see where the author was going even before she started purposefully laying hints about going there. But I suspect that really I enjoyed this book for its subject matter and for its haunting tone, which despite all the ice imagery seemed to me very autumnal. This is one of those books that upon finishing, I became sad that I couldn't erase it from my mind somehow and then experience reading it again. I think this is a perfect book to read on a crisp October afternoon, sipping tea and looking out at a lake. Take it camping with you. ...more
This series had some ups and downs but overall was one of the best ongoing series I've followed in several years. This first volume is a solid start -This series had some ups and downs but overall was one of the best ongoing series I've followed in several years. This first volume is a solid start - things get much better from here. ...more
Elizabeth Watison, while perhaps too slow in her production, is the finest black and white artist shy of the Hernandez Brothers of Love and Rockets faElizabeth Watison, while perhaps too slow in her production, is the finest black and white artist shy of the Hernandez Brothers of Love and Rockets fame. And her classic love triangle story of girl realizes she's gay, meets boyishly cute vampire and falls in love, only to then be pursued heavily by an outrageously hot and persistant faerie chick who has a lot more going on than meets the eye is ridiculously cute. The setting of a sort of "Halloween High" is excellent and the background characters have a lot of personality and provide endless amusement. I'm not even sure who I want to see Bunny the good witch end up with - both the sexy drag racing vampire and the smoking otherworldy faerie Fairer Than are awesome. This is cute and sweet and beautifully drawn, but painfully short as the trade only holds about 6 of the existing 7 issues. Also, there hasn't been a new issue of this out in over a year... much to my sincere dismay. They were never very regular to begin with but I have no idea - even from searching the internet - if this series has been discontinued or put on hiatus or what. ...more
I loved this book. This was a complex, thoughtful, and moving work. There are many layers at work not just in the narrative and many literary referencI loved this book. This was a complex, thoughtful, and moving work. There are many layers at work not just in the narrative and many literary references but in the subtle language of comics. Bechdel's specificity in her illustrations combine with her cartoonist sense of humor and command of gesture balance the book between a straightforward and accessibly narrative that is both tragic and comic, and a series of deeper layers of in-jokes, literary allusion, and contradiction born of human emotion. This is what a memoir should be. I appreciate her openness and her self-awareness. ...more
This is a sexy comic, and an excellent example of fumetti, the process of creating a comic using real photography. The story also is surprisingly inteThis is a sexy comic, and an excellent example of fumetti, the process of creating a comic using real photography. The story also is surprisingly interesting; a decidedly feminist bent comes through the tale of a Victorian British housewife who travels with her husband to visit a sultan and becomes fascinated by his harem. She befriends a younger woman in the harem and listens to stories the women there tell her, and after seeing (and briefly experiencing) their way of life she starts to question her world views and assumptions about men, women, marriage, and sex. Though the story is short and not particularly detailed or digressive it does raise some interesting questions. I thought the ending was a little contrived and contradictory, but I still like this book on the whole, if only because it's still kind of hot. ...more
Reading this book and its companion, Angry Women in Rock, gave me some my first experiences with queer culture and feminism in general. It was also thReading this book and its companion, Angry Women in Rock, gave me some my first experiences with queer culture and feminism in general. It was also the most radical thing I had ever encountered, as a 16 or 17 year old baby dyke just realizing how many different types of women in the world there were. I remember reading this and feeling positively subversive. Reading about these women made me feel less alone in my small midwestern town. It also make me feel totally inspired to do something great, and for the first time like that might actually be possible. ...more
I may have actually liked this book a little bit better than its companion, Angry Women. While Angry Women has more visual artists and writers, and foI may have actually liked this book a little bit better than its companion, Angry Women. While Angry Women has more visual artists and writers, and focuses more on feminism in general, Angry Women in Rock seemed to have more queer women and radical sex politics content, which was the most exciting thing I had ever read at 16 or 17. I think this both indoctrined me into punk culture and made me aware that while I had never seen any in my small midwestern town, other gay people were out there doing amazing things. ...more
The best thing to come out of this book is The Escapist, a fantastic meta-superhero. The novel itself I feel is a little overly long and the main charThe best thing to come out of this book is The Escapist, a fantastic meta-superhero. The novel itself I feel is a little overly long and the main character and his utter awesomeness and sad sad tragedy really got on my nerves. He felt a tiny bit like a Mary Sue character to me. I know this won a Pulitzer and everything and it was by no means bad, but maybe a little disappointing. For me it didn't live up to the hype - especially not all 600 some pages of it.
Personally, I'm also just a little irked that the guy who writes the supposedly great novel about comics, not merely coincidentally right in time with comics becoming really hip, is not actually anyone working in (superhero) comics. Because you know... there are "real novelists" and then all those "comic writers" I guess. I mean, what do they know? It's not like any of them have ever had anything published in McSweeney's. ...more
This anthology is thorough, though not always entertaining. Academically it's an excellent collection; the contents are in chronological order and splThis anthology is thorough, though not always entertaining. Academically it's an excellent collection; the contents are in chronological order and split into sections named by the general type of representation in literature predominate for lesbians in each period covered. You can really see the spectrum and evolution of how lesbians and queer characters were viewed in different eras of literature.
But as far as merely wanting to read more early lesbian themed literature... there's certainly a lot of it in this book, and if you're reading it merely for informative purposes or historical context, this is perfect. However, if you're looking for romance, happy endings, positive or at least neural images of queer characters and women in relationships with other women... I would honestly suggest trying a more modern anthology instead. From reading this anthology, it seems early queer literature was more about demonizing, diagnosing, or in some other way attempting to 'explain' lesbians and bisexuals rather than really representing them. (And that includes some things written by lesbians and bisexuals themselves.) It's only positive if in reading it you can hold onto the thought that, well, at least we've come a long way. ...more
I read this in 2005 and found it to be incredibly frustrating. For one thing, don't believe any of the blurbs on the back of the book - this book is nI read this in 2005 and found it to be incredibly frustrating. For one thing, don't believe any of the blurbs on the back of the book - this book is neither a romance nor a comedy. It doesn't really have much at all to say about artists communities in the '30s. And for that matter, it doesn't really have that much to say about lesbian relationships either. The characters are mostly either dispicable or tragic.