So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Paying for It

Paying for It by Chester Brown
Paying for It by Chester Brown is an autobiographical graphic novel that relates Mr. Brown's sex life from 1996 to 2010, which consists of his using professional female escorts for his heterosexual encounters. He mentions using masturbation to cool his ardor prior to these encounters, but provides no further details. To protect the women he changes their names and doesn't provide locations or identifying features. For those of us not familiar with sex workers or their customers, this is a chance to get a glimpse into the workings of this trade.
Brown is dispassionate but clearly happy with his decision to outsource his sexual needs, feeling that sex and girlfriends do not go together well for him. The text alternates visits to various escorts with discussions with his male friends and ex-girlfriends about the advantages of his chosen sexual lifestyle. He is well-read on the politics of sex workers and takes a Libertarian position condemning the present laws restricting or outlawing sex work.
The body of the book is preceded by an Introduction by Robert Crumb who calls it Mr. Brown's best work. At the end of the book there are 50 pages of Appendices and Notes that go into much deeper detail than the narrative of the book permitted. I would say that he makes as good an argument for unregulated prostitution as you will find in the popular literature.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Unknown Witches Of Oz: Locasta And The Three Adepts

The Unknown Witches Of Oz: Locasta And The Three Adepts by Dave Hardenbrook
The Unknown Witches of Oz is a uneven addition to the Oz tradition that was started in 1900 by L. Frank Baum. Baum wrote over a dozen Oz books before he died, and the publisher then hired Ruth Plumly Thompson to write over a dozen more, starting a genre that continues down to today. I would rate Dave Hardenbrook's contribution to the field as an amusing self-published fan fiction that makes a poor attempt to bring the magical land of Oz into the 21st century. Modern technology is thrown in with classic Ozian magic in mostly jarring ways.
These flaws aside, his main characters are charmingly Ozian in their approach to life and may appeal to loyal Oz fans. A young computer geek named Dan is transported to Oz and struggles along with the titular witches to save Oz from a concerted attack by all the evil characters of Oz.
This was to be the first of a trilogy of novels. The second in the series, Jellia Jamb, Maid of Oz was also self published in 2008 at Lulu.com. Not highly recommended.