Friday, August 11, 2006

Much Ado About Lost Girls

Writer Amanda Earl posted a query about Alan Moore's upcoming Lost Girls graphic novel that follows the adult lives of Alice (of Alice in Wonderland), Wendy (of Peter Pan) and Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz)to the ERWA writer's list, and posted this bit from an interview about the book:

"Certainly it seemed to us [Moore and Gebbie]
that sex, as a genre, was woefully
under-represented in literature. Every other
field of human experience, even rarefied ones like
detective, spaceman or cowboy, have got whole
genres dedicated to them. Whereas the only genre
in which sex can be discussed is a disreputable,
seamy, under-the-counter genre with absolutely no
standards: [the pornography industry] which is a
kind of Bollywood for hip, sleazy ugliness."Alan
Moore, interview with Science Fiction Weekly

While I am a fan of Mr. Moore's work, I surprised, and disappointed, that someone who works in a medium that is maligned by people who have no idea how its changed and the quality of current work would turn around and malign another genre. It also makes me wonder which Bollywood movies he's seen.

Erotica has come a long way in the past ten years, but quality erotica has been around a long time. The Story of O was published in 1955. Other wonderful works have been around for some time. Justine by the Marquis de Sade, Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch, Fear of Flying, Fanny Hill, Lolita, The Sleeping Beauty Series, Lofting... And that's just the novels! Anais Nin, Lisabet Sara, Greg Wharton, Kate Dominic, Mike Kimera, M. Christian, and Ian Philips have published quality collections of erotic short stories. Best Women's Erotica, an annual anthology from Cleis Press, showcases quality writing, as do Susie Bright's Best American Erotica and Maxim Jakubowski's Mammoth Book of Erotica, also annual editions. That only scratches the surface. There are gay and lesbian erotica anthologies, BDSM, cowboys, motorcycles, vampires... None of which are sold "under the counter." Sleaze, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder. To me, ugliness is blatant prejudice and willful ignorance.

Of course there's crap work out there. Many beginner writers assume that anyone can be published in erotica so it's a good place to start, and there are websites that will take any content, so some of those beginner writers do get "published." While I hate to see that out there dragging down the image of the genre, I believe that people have a right to read poorly written crap if they want to. They certainly deserve to if they don't seek better. But it isn't hard to find quality either. Clean Sheets, The Erotica Readers and Writer's Association, and Velvet Mafia, to name a very few, showcase well written stories.

As for Lost Girls - I might read it, I might not. But I assure you that I will approach it with a far more open mind than Mr. Moore.

No comments: