The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2, Fall 1990/Winter 1991.
The multiple story lines deal with Doc, a solitary biker dyke, who meets Fluff, who wants to leave Prez, the leader of the Alamo Chapter of a latter-day Hell’s Angels dub, with Raven, the chief Priestess of Harpy Farm, a women’s community. The time is an indeterminate future. If there is a larger, functional society any longer, we see only the barest hint of it; the view focuses on the Angels, the women of Harpy Farm, various drug-dealing commando/terrorist groups, and the family of pimps and whores in the city where Doc and Fluff end up.
The intended audience appears to be people who are eager to push their reading matter (at the least) to, if not beyond, the usual bounds of language, topic and treatment. Califia’s style in this book changes the point of view from one character to another each chapter. She keeps each one in her/his own voice, and while it may be difficult to like many of them, it is easy to recognize them. (It is almost too easy in some cases–Hattie is a parody of the (Black) whore with a heart of gold.)
If you are at all offended by, 1) casual use of drugs; 2) frequent brutality, as well as sado-masochism; 3) algolagnia, urolagnia and other non-vanilla sexual practices; or 4) a strong dose of Goddess revenge, you will find this book powerfully offensive. If you do not find these things offensive,
you are likely to find the book powerful. Somehow there is a strong moral element, and a (possibly) happy ending.
Reviewed by Susan Lee Sills
University of California