It’s the last Monday of the month which means it’s time for our Banned Books feature. This month we read Saga, Volume 1 which includes chapters 1-6.
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
First published: 2012
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2014 (source)
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?
BETH: Okay, so here’s where things might get a little bit interesting. I am very much against the idea of ANY book being banned as we should all have the freedom to read anything we desire without restrictions or fear of recrimination but ever since starting this feature and with what I’ve learned from my sister as she became a primary school teacher, I can see why books might be challenged in certain situations and with certain age groups. I’m afraid Saga is one of those graphic novels that I can understand why it might be appropriate to restrict access in schools for the younger children. I think it’s probably one of those books it would be terrific to discover as a teenager (and perhaps either hide from your parents or share with your parents if they are particularly cool!)
CHRISSI: I TOTALLY understand why it is challenged. I don’t think it’s particularly a book for teenagers even though I’m sure they’d lap it up if they found it. It’s incredibly explicit and definitely geared towards adults. It even says in the synopsis ‘sexy subversive drama for adults.’ Sure, teens may really enjoy it and have a good giggle. Like Beth says, I can imagine some discovering it and hiding it from their parents. I’m all for them reading it eventually, but being promoted in a school? No. Just no.
How about now?
BETH: As this book is a relatively recent release, please see previous answer. I have a bit of an issue with one of the reasons for the challenge though, the anti-family one, as from what I’ve read so far and that’s only the first six chapters, there is a clear family in the novel – Alana, Marko and baby Hazel, the mother and father despite being two aliens from separate planets who are in the midst of a very bloody war, seem to have a very loving and protective relationship. Just because something in literature isn’t the conservative “norm,” doesn’t make it “anti-family,” in my opinion and it makes me cross when this is brought up, especially as a reason to avoid a particular piece of literature. The other reasons, well I have to admit to being shocked by exactly how graphic this novel gets. I was going to reproduce an example in the post but don’t want to intentionally offend anyone. Maybe just do what my sister and I did and flick through a copy in your bookshop? Warning – you may snigger uncontrollably.
CHRISSI: Oooh, look at Beth on her soap box there. I have to say, I agree with her though. There is a family involved. It’s not a conventional one, but it’s a family nonetheless. I know there are some pretty strange family units where I work and that’s everyday life, not another world! I do agree with the explicit, sexual content and offensive language bit though. There’s plenty of it in there, so if it’s likely to offend you then I’d stay clear…
What did you think of this book?:
BETH: As soon as I heard about this book and as soon as Chrissi and I found ourselves a copy in Foyles (marvellous UK bookshop) to look through I knew I had to have it and add it to our banned books list for this year. I enjoy reading a diverse range of fiction and we both desperately wanted to get more into graphic novels, a genre we have both been tentative about approaching in the past. I’m so glad I’ve finally started the series, I can see it being something I will carry on with and look forward to future releases. The artwork is amazing, the story original and intriguing and I really enjoyed the anticipation of flipping over a page – it was soon guaranteed that there would be something to surprise, shock or indeed, inspire me!
CHRISSI: I am really jumping on the bandwagon with graphic novels. I really didn’t think Saga would work for me. I’m not heavily into fantasy, I don’t usually read gore-y, violent stuff but for some reason I really enjoyed Saga. I think this is largely down to the artwork and the shock factor!
Would you recommend it?
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course!