cover image House of Women

House of Women

Sophie Goldstein. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-68396-051-5

Four women from a colonialist interstellar empire are sent to a remote planet to civilize the alien natives, in the latest SF tale from Goldstein (The Oven). As they get to work making a home in the forest, setting up a laboratory and school and digging latrines, an air of danger hovers over them. Maybe it’s the mystery of what happened to the failed previous mission, which left behind a ravaged base and no clues. Maybe it’s the presence of the planet’s only other nonnative resident, who exudes a certain magnetism as the only man in their new world. Or maybe it’s the planet itself, which draws the women into its liquid depths and haunts them with alien fevers and strange dreams. Goldstein’s fluid black-and-white art, echoing illustration styles from European woodcuts to Japanese hell scrolls, is a far cry from the attempted realism of most science fiction comics. It gives the story a fairy tale’s sublimated horrors and unpredictable psychic depths. It’s another remarkable graphic novel from a creator whose approach to SF consistently defies expectations. (Oct.)