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The Lesbian Fantastic: A Critical Study of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal and Gothic Writings by Phyllis M. Betz
Review by April Disney
McFarland Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780786458851
Date: 23 February 2011 List Price $40.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

This text is touted as "a vital addition" to the works of homosexual awareness and philosophy. I would have to both agree and disagree.

The main problem with Betz' work is that it is not concise. The ideas presented don't flow together to create a good focus point. There are errors in grammar and verb tense, and one particular content error stood out as unacceptable in the editing department: China Mieville is not a female author last time I checked.

However, this is a subject you don't find much criticism on, and that in itself gives the book some value. Betz introduces a lot of good sources for those seeking further study on the subject of lesbianism in our speculative fiction. The author also possesses a clear passion for the subject which is evident in her writing if not her approach. There is enough thoughtful discussion in this text to keep the mind occupied, and some very important questions are raised. For example, what is the role of speculative fiction in helping to define society, and how does that differ from general fiction or even nonfiction? In what ways does speculative fiction offer an easier insertion for the so-called Other into society that might not be plausible in a general fiction work?

Overall this text is worthwhile as a source of work to research, and as a lead-in to a discussion about lesbianism in speculative fiction. However, clear and concise this text is not, so be prepared to dig through some repeating ideas, errors, and poor organization to find the gold.

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