Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Alan Moore and Lost Girls

Okay, I said I was going to blog about this so here it goes. (And yes, I'm aware that opening line is about as insipid as it gets. Too bad.)

Alan Moore, for those of you who don't know, is a comic book writer. He wrote From Hell, V For Vendetta, Watchmen (which is one of my favorite books, btw)...a whole list of others, excellent reads all. I especially liked his run on Swamp Thing which was both romantic and spooky, and Promethea which I think any writer would do well to read.
Anyway. Alan Moore has a new work coming out. It's called Lost Girls and is what Moore describes as "pornography". Basically, he's taken three characters familiar to all of us-Alice (in Wonderland), Wendy (Peter Pan), and Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), and written a long, erotic tome about their sexual adventures, which apparently includes their sexual awakenings. There's an interview with him about the book here (make sure you go back to Newsarama home to read Part 2 when you're done).

Now, while there's a whole other issue with this book (child pornography. For more explanation on that go here, although it is discussed as well in the Newsarama interview) the part of the interview I take strong issue with is right near the beginning, where Moore discusses his reasons for writing Lost Girls:

"The only way that we can talk about or refer to sex - we have two choices: we can either do it in grubby works of pornography that will be read by people who are desperately ashamed of what they are reading, or we can discuss sex in the clinical manner of sex manuals or The Joy of Sex."

Now, perhaps I'm looking at this in the wrong way. Perhaps I'm reading something into it that shouldn't be there, and I must remember that Alan Moore, while being an incredibly intelligent man, is still a man. He probably doesn't read romance, and so would not have read any erotic romance.

I believe that erotic romance transcends the very idea of "grubby porn". I think when you're reading an erotic romance you're reading something that not only describes the sex act as a beautiful thing and an important part of life, but that does that in such a way that the reader is--let's be honest here--turned on. Isn't that the point of any erotic work?

You're supposed to be turned on by this stuff. You're supposed to have your mind, heart, and body engaged in what you're reading. A good sex scene will involve all three of those aspects of your reader, no matter how kinky the scene is. And good ones abound. Check out anything written by any of the authors I've linked to on the right. Hell, go to either of the publisher's sites I've linked to. Go to Ellora's Cave. Go to Amber Quill. Buy a damned Harlequin Blaze, for that matter.

All of these works-an entire genre of books that are as sexy and beautifully written as anyone can hope for-are being discounted because someone claiming to write a book because of a lack of beautiful erotica, or beautiful porn, hasn't actually researched what's out there.

I really admire Alan Moore. I love his work, and I'm not disinterested in Lost Girls, although £50 or whatever it's going to cost is a little steep for me. But I'm disappointed to see that erotic romance doesn't even come up once in Newsarama's lengthy forum discussions on this topic. If comic books are a "male" genre, and romance/erotic romance are "female" genres, isn't it about time they met?

(In other, very sad news,Paul Gleason has died. There is an absolutely awesome eulogy/restrospective on him here at Ain't It Cool News. Read it. Laugh. Paul Gleason rocked.)

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Faltenin said...

Arf. New Alan Moore, hooray. The Bard does porn, hooray. Steep price tag... :(

I'll probably still buy it though. Thanks for the heads up, Dec!

Bernita said...

Only two choices, he says?
The man's daft.

S. W. Vaughn said...


[see rant posted on Miss Snark's blog in the comments trail a few months back]

Well written romance and erotica is NOT smut. It is damned good writing. Period.

I adored From Hell. But this guy -- okay, well, he's a guy. Maybe that's the reason.

*softening* Fine. I forgive him. But romance/erotica is just another genre of writing, not a social pariah. Damn it.

Sherrill Quinn said...

Well, if anything Alan Moore has the mindset that a lot of people (including my s-i-l) seem to have. If you write erotic romance, you're writing nasty stuff, ergo, you write porn.


Jenna Howard said...

Sigh. Isn't that just freakin' typical? Sigh.

I loved Paul Gleason. He was the best part of Breakfast Club. That was a funny/touching write up.

December Quinn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Faltenin! I'm probably going to buy it, too.

Are you reading Civil War at all?

Not daft, Bernita, but as Sherill and SW point out, just a man. (And of course you'll forgive him, SW-he's Alan Fucking Moore. :-))

Yeah, hubby and I had some real laughs over that Gleason write up. The guy is right-the line "You go visit John Bender in five years and you'll see how goddamn funny he is" really is hysterical when you read it aloud.

Southern Writer said...

December, hopefully this will popup in your mailbox, but stay hidden where S.W. won't see it. If you'd like to participate in a birthday SURPRISE for her, please send a short greeting and a picture of you (hopefully one she has never seen / avatars are acceptable if absolutely necessary) to me by Tuesday, Oct 17 at 10 a.m.

She's been really stressed lately, so something funny to make her laugh would be awesome. And please don't let her find out!

The address is redheartnovels at lesiavalentine dot com