It’s not often that a work of erotic fiction leaves me scratching my… head. But then, Birdland is hardly a typical piece of porn. It’s a solo project by Gilbert “Beto” Hernandez, co-creator (con sus hermanos) of the classic indie series Love and Rockets. I’ve read very little L&R (don’t worry, I will), but I know that one of the hallmarks of the series was the characters. Birdland has a rather remarkable cast as well. Bang Bang, Inez, and La Valda are professional strippers who (remarkably) have differing body shapes, personalities, etc. Fritzi is a psychologist with a lisp… and mysterious heart-shaped pendant. Simon is obsessed with Fritzi, who is married to Simon’s gorgeous brother Mark, who is lusted after by Petra, Fritzi’s sister and receptionist. And that’s not even mentioning the aliens.

 One thing all of these characters have in common is sex. Lots of sex. You can’t go more than a page or two without coming across two (or more) of them stroking, sucking, fucking, or otherwise stimulating each other in graphic detail. This isn’t teasing, softcore stuff… I’m talking “money shots” left, right, and across the room. Much of the sex would probably fall into the “kinky” category as well, involving body parts and combinations of people not mentioned in most sex ed classes.

This collection of the original Eros series is said to include five pages of new material, but I’m not sure whether they were added at the end, inserted various places in the book, or what. All 94 pages are sequentially numbered. I tried figuring it out from the number of pages between logical “breaks” in the story, but eventually gave up. {shrug}

 As the story progresses, it gets progressively unusual. Fritzi turns out to have a rather unorthodox method of treating her clients, and her sister Petra learns what the mysterious pendant can do… and does it. Little bug-eyed aliens step into the spotlight and turn the world of the central characters the rest of the way upside-down. There are choices to be made, with uncertain implications.

Toward the end, things get thoroughly surreal. Except for the final page, the last two dozen pages don’t contain any dialog whatsoever. They do, however, have rather odd sound effects (cynognathus, cuarenta, gilgamesh) that have more of a dream-like relationship to the setting than to the sex acts they’re associated with. Time, space, identity, gender, and reality itself all seem to be in flux and subject to change without notice. I can’t help wondering if Beto, after a bit of a delay between the third and last issues, decided to finish if off by seeing how much he could fuck with the readers’ minds.

 If you’re just looking for a stroke book, Birdland may not be the best choice. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have plenty of hot sex scenes; it does. But as the story requires more and more thought to figure out what’s going on and what it means, you have to make a choice between trying to follow it, or just give up and look at the pictures. It’s a tough choice to make. But it’s also a fun and interesting read (and not so deep and thought-provoking as to change your life forever), so I’m certainly not trying to steer anyone away from it. Just know what you’re getting into: a rather strange and erotic tale.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.