Unlike many others in my high school, I didn’t read Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger) then. It had a black cover with scary zombie children, and I was under the impression that it was horror about vampires. Much later I learned that it was actually about incestuous children in an attic. I have now read it, and believe that I have discovered the source of fandom’s incest obsession, at least that incest-happy section of fandom which is American and read the book in their formative years.

This is a great book to read on a plane, especially when you can poke your seatmate and read bits aloud. In the first chapter, titled “Goodbye, Daddy,” a highway patrolman comes to the house of the lovely Momma and her four children, Chris, Cathy, Carrie, and Cory. His explanation of what happened is a typical example of how Andrews fulfills expectations (Dad was squashed on the highway) and then takes them not just one, but at least two steps further into feverish melodrama than one expects:

”According to the accounts, which we’ve recorded, there was a motorist driving a blue Ford weaving in and out of the lefthand lane, apparently drunk, and he crashed head-on into your husband’s car. But it seems your husband must have seen the accident coming, for he swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but a piece of machinery had fallen from another car, or truck, and this kept him from completing his defensive driving maneuver, which would have saved his life. But as it was, your husband’s much heavier car turned over several times, and still he might have survived, but an oncoming truck, unable to stop, crashed into his car, and again the Cadillac spun over… and then… it caught on fire.”

As if those THREE accidents weren’t enough, the cop then produces the charred stuffed animals Daddy had purchased for his kids, which he had been driving home to deliver but which ended up strewn across the highway of death!

Momma then whisks her kids away to the ominous house of her parents, who hate her. I had thought the mention, early on, that Momma and Daddy looked like brother and sister was foreshadowing for the upcoming incest. No! It was foreshadowing for the revelation that Momma and Daddy were, in fact, related. He was her half-uncle! So her mother hates her and her incestuous spawn, and Momma and grandmother lock all four kids in the attic until Momma can find the right moment to tell her ailing father about them. Or for the aging father to will her tons of money and die.

Three years of increasingly melodramatic child abuse in the attic ensues. The grandmother spots Chris seeing Cathy naked and tries to hack off her hair. Then she sneaks in, injects Cathy with a sedative, and pours tar over her head. Chris pees into the bathtub to de-tar Cathy’s hair, and it comes out silver and more beautiful than ever. Grandmother doesn’t feed them for a week, and Chris cuts his wrist with a penknife and feeds the others on his own blood!

Momma re-marries and STILL doesn’t let them out of the attic. Chris and Cathy angst and lust over each other. Cathy sneaks out and beholds Momma’s bed, which is shaped like a swan.

And then came the most melodramatic twist yet!

Read more... )
In which there is eye loss, incest, and a cameo by Michelangelo.

I was positive that Mothiavelli was going to advise Chiaro to save Cesare’s soul by seducing him, but it turned out that he meant Chiaro should save Cesare’s soul by killing him. I could say something about the little death and penetration by phallic swords, but really, why bother? As long as manga lives, Freud is not dead.

Cantarella Volume 9 (v. 9)

I lost an eye and all I have to show for it is this deformed baroque pearl. )
The art is still gorgeous. The incest is still disturbingly hot, and there was a surprise heterosexual and as far as we know now, non-incestuous affair that was both hot and sweet. The plot, which featured an evil hand and crystal wings of demonic D00M, is so deliciously insane that I ended up live-blogging them to [livejournal.com profile] oyceter over email.

Click here to buy or feast your eyes on the exquisite cover art: Cantarella Volume 5 (Cantarella (Graphic Novel)) (v. 5)

Cantarella Volume 6 (Cantarella (Graphic Novel)) (v. 6)

Cesare: (as Volpe attempts to lick the blood off his chest wound) You'll die. My blood is poisonous. [...] Volpe: If that is so, then I have already been violated by the poison that is you. The sweet poison that is you. My life and my death belong to you! )
In honor of Cantarella being about the tenth manga to make me root for the incest pairing, I present a fictional sibling incest poll! It is limited to siblings, half-siblings, clones, cousins, and other non-parental cases, because I find the latter too disturbing to even think about.

Please spoiler-protect all comments that need spoilers, either through blackout or rot13.com. If it is revealed as a surprise anywhere later than halfway through volume 1, it is a spoiler!

Cut for incest )
rachelmanija: (Angel Sanctuary: Kira)
( Dec. 15th, 2008 02:17 pm)
I recount this exchange between me and Oyce the other night because she wanted it preserved for posterity. It is especially apropos in light of the bewilderment (mostly mine and Oyce's) going on the comments to the Fairy Cube post. The thing with Yuki Kaori plots is that they're so insane, complex, and insanely complex that even if you understand them at the time, it's hard to get them to stick in your mind later.

Possibly incorrect spoilers for the endings of Angel Sanctuary and Godchild )
I read this manga a while ago, but while culling my bookshelves recently I re-read it to see if it was as insane and incoherent as I remembered. Indeed, it was! I will now recount the plot for posterity before placing it on Book Mooch.

ETA: I forgot about the incest. See comments.

The manga begins with this narration: “My older brother was a kind, generous man. One day, he said, ‘I want to be like Cain.’ Later I realized he was talking about Cain, the model.”

Splash page of Shun, our hero and narrator, looking at a poster of blonde, beautiful CAIN.

One page later, Shun randomly blunders into a Satanic Mass. “Our Dark Lord, Lucifer, will join us tonight!”

The hysterical Shun, who is about to get sacrificed as a virgin, muses, “I can feel Lucifer taking over my body to accept his gift!”

But who should rescue him but… Cain! The golden beast! He leaps in and says, “I am the devil,” before carrying Shun away. "Jesus!" exclaims a Satanist. Shun flashes back to his brother giving him an expository lump regarding the Biblical Cain. This is followed by an expository lump on the mysterious model Cain. (“Three years ago, he appeared in a cosmetics ad…")

Cain explains that he is half Japanese but was raised in Vietnam, which explains why he will periodically murmur endearments in Vietnamese. “My income provides medicine and education for the poor,” he adds, lest Shun think him a worthless parasite. Then he gives Shun a blow job and vanishes.

Cain then appears as a student at Shun’s high school. This contradicts the note at the beginning of the manga informing us that all characters depicted in sexual situations are at least nineteen. Uh-huh. Shun flashes back to his brother’s horrible death in a car crash, which he feels very guilty about—so guilty that he must have more sex with Cain! “Shred me with your fangs,” says Shun. “Em yeu qui cua anh,” says Cain.

From foreign lands, he has come… to wield the sword of revenge )
This is all [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink's fault. Who would have thought that my hunger for pulp sf with psychic powers and adventures and exotic landscapes and culture shock, which has gone so long denied because most of what's written in the genre is so clunky that I can't read it, would be satisfied by, of all people, Marion Zimmer Badley? True, her prose sometimes clunks, but not so loudly that I can't read it. Although I do wish that she had stopped herself from the over-use of "somehow," which I keep wanting to redline: "Somehow he knew the storm was unnatural," "Somehow, she was able to tap into a surge of power," "He somehow found the strength to go on--" in every case, the sentence would be better without the somehow. And yet somehow, I continue to read.

I liked both of these a lot. The nice thing about re-reading books I last read when I was fifteen is that I don't recall what happened in any of them, but I have very very vague recollections of which I thought sucked, so I can avoid them and just read the ones I recall liking. Stormqueen! is an exception: I didn't actually ever read the whole thing. I had a bad feeling a few chapters in, flipped to the end, and was so disturbed that I never read the rest. So with that one, I went in knowing what happened, but not how or why.

The Heritage of Hastur concerns the sweet true love between two teenage boys, depressed crown prince (sort of) Regis Hastur, who can't use his telepathic powers, and Danilo Syrtis, abused cadet and catalyst telepath. You see how neatly that works? Their story is very reminiscent of oldish coming-out novels, full of fraught moments and silences and memories of the first time a boy knew he was different. Only it's all so much more fun when there's telepathy involved. The villain here, six-fingered Dyan Ardais, is rather more complex and interesting than evil older sadistic gay child-molesting predators usually are.

There is second story going on, involving Regis' childhood pal Lew Alton, now grown-up and suffering from a common affliction of MZB's male protagonists, the tendency to cut off their noses to spite their faces. This is generally expressed in the form of "I am so rebellious that if an authority figure wants me to do something, I'll do the opposite, even if we both really want the same thing." After a fight with his admittedly overbearing father Kennard Alton, Lew takes off for the notorious clan of Aldaran, and there discovers that there's a reason why everyone thinks Aldaran is bad news. (Do we ever learn what exactly was the reason they were banished?) I can't help feeling that a great deal of tragedy and trauma would have been averted if Lew had just given a chance to the perfectly nice woman his father was trying to set him up with, whom he rejected solely because society would have approved of the match.

Stormqueen! takes place way earlier, but also involves crazy Aldarans meddling with powers they can't control, which also leads to disastrous results. It also is the first indication that no one should ever name their girl baby Dorilys.

In the Ages of Chaos before the coming of the Terrans, laran has been enhanced to a fantastic degree by a eugenics program which favors strength over stability, so people are born with incredible powers, but tend to die at birth, drop dead at puberty, go insane, or be unable to control their powers and cause huge amounts of trouble before going insane or dropping dead. Oh, and they've also developed a whole range of nasty laran-powered or laran-created weapons, including napalm. And they can directly manipulate genes, and thus created some non-human sex slaves. It's all very oppressive and decadent.

Dorilys Aldaran is a little girl who can call lightning, but isn't so good with controlling it. Her increasingly nutty father calls in several psychics to teach her to control her powers, but it's a big struggle and the neighboring kingdom is trying to seize his, and everything goes horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. Oh, and there's incest. Why does everything I've read in the last few months involve incest?
This is all
[livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink's fault.

These are a set of old (1965-1970) sf novels about Darkover, a vividly evoked lost colony where, due to interbreeding with native psychic aliens, a caste of red-headed telepaths evolved, used their psychic powers to commit massively destructive acts, then renounced all weapons that kill at a distance and most of their psychic technology, became sexist semi-feudal semi-barbarians, and then get rediscovered by the Terran empire and have to deal with questions of who has the better culture and whose culture will come to dominate the planet. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink explains it much better than that.

I was fond of Darkover when I was a teenager, but didn't re-read many of them as an adult for fear that they would be awful, until Mely inspired me. They hold up much better than I had expected.

All three of these have more or less the same plot-- a red-headed male Terran or half-Terran or Darkovan who thinks he's a Terran comes to Darkover, re-connects with his heritage, discoveres that he has psychic powers, male-bonds with red-headed psychic Darkovans and/or falls in love with a red-headed psychic Darkovan woman. But these all read quite differently and don't seem repetitive. I enjoyed all three of these very much, but probably Star of Danger the most.

Read more... )
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