Alan Moore, writer of the ground breaking graphic novels, Watchmen and From Hell, here turns his considerable talents to erotica or pornography produced as art. His partner in this endeavour is his wife, the equally talented Melinda Gebbie, who provides the beautiful but sexually explicit drawings. The titular lost girls are the adult versions of three characters from classic children's fiction-Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), Wendy (Peter Pan) and Alice (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.) They all meet by chance as guests at the exotic hotel Himmelgarten on the Austrian border, prior to the start of World War 1. Their meeting soon blossoms into a triangle of lust and friendship as they recount to each other their randy exploits-Alan Moore bases these on the plots of the original stories-while engaged in copious amounts of lesbian sex. This is marketed as classy erotica, but please don't think Lost Girls is softcore; it's very hardcore indeed, suffused with a genuine (porno)graphic explicitness and will be considered obscene by many.
But unlike boring formulaic porn made to make money, Lost Girls is something more then a cheap turn on. Melinda Gebbie's colourful, fantastical but also realistic art is based on many different types of late Victorian and Edwardian styles, complimenting its Fin-de- Siecle decadent feel. Alan Moore's writing is wonderfully overripe, the story and the stories within a story engrossing and most importantly it's more then about sex as a mere bodily function to be gawped at for visceral thrills (although there is a lot of that too!) It deals with the lose of innocence of the three 'lost girls'; combining a subtle feminist critique of male values with a literal 'make love not war' message; nor does it shy away from difficult subject matter such as child abuse. It's overriding theme though is the power and ecstasy of the sexual imagination which does not always relate to reality-what gets you going inside your head might not do the same if acted out in real life. As one character says: "Fiction and fact: Only madmen and magistrates cannot discriminate between them."
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