Hell-Bent for Leather

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Hell-Bent for Leather

Sex and Sexuality in the Weird Western

Edited by Kerry Fine, Michael K. Johnson, Rebecca M. Lush, and Sara L. Spurgeon

Postwestern Horizons Series

441 pages

Paperback

January 2025

978-1-4962-4190-0

$35.00 Pre-order
Hardcover

January 2025

978-1-4962-4154-2

$99.00 Pre-order

About the Book

Hell-Bent for Leather: Sex and Sexuality in the Weird Western builds on the Locus Award finalist Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre. This new collection takes a deep dive into the myriad ways sex and sexuality are imagined in weird western literature, film, television, and video games, paying special attention to portrayals of power and privilege. The contributors explore weird western challenges to assumptions about varied genders and sexualities, drawing our attention to how the western can reinforce existing gender and sexual paradigms or overturn them in delightful, terrifying, or unexpected ways.

Primary texts range from CBS’s campy BDSM-inflected steampunk western The Wild Wild West to the Star Wars franchise’s popular leather-daddy bounty hunter The Mandalorian, from Ishmael Reed’s satirical postmodern western Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down to C Pam Zhang’s acclaimed novel How Much of These Hills Is Gold. Chapters engage texts from Australia and Great Britain, classic horror like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, the popular video games BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us II, and less well-known texts like Laguna Pueblo–Navajo author A. A. Carr’s erotic vampire/monster slayer western Eye Killers.
 

Author Bio

Kerry Fine is an instructor in the Department of English at Arizona State University. Michael K. Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Maine–Farmington. Rebecca M. Lush is a professor in the Literature and Writing Studies Department and is the Faculty Center director at California State University San Marcos. Sara L. Spurgeon is a professor of English and directs the Literature, Social Justice, and Environment Program at Texas Tech University. Fine, Johnson, Lush, and Spurgeon are the coeditors of Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre (Nebraska, 2020).
 

Praise

“The project is timely, professionally crafted, and genuinely fun. This book is nicely packed with analysis of weird westerns from the 1960s to the very present, paying attention to diverse representation and experience in sex and sexualities. These are terrific essays that form a rich and nuanced volume that will be welcomed in the scholarly community.”—Lydia R. Cooper, author of Masculinities in Literature of the American West

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part 1
1. The Daddy with No Name: The Kinky Cowboy Aesthetics of The Mandalorian
JENNESSA HESTER
2. Beyond the Virtual Frontier: New Possibilities of Sex and Desire in Black Mirror’s “San Junipero”
KATIE GOOGE

Part 2
3. Recreations and Inescapable Repetitions: Sontag’s ‘Pornographic Imagination,’ Bacigalupis’ The Water Knife, and the Weird Western
MICAH DONOHUE
4. Lost Max: Mad Max and the Challenge to Masculine Dominance in 1970s Australia
SCOTT PEARCE

Part 3
5. “Touch your wound, dear”: Eye Killers and the Vampire of Manifest Destiny
MIRIAM BROWN SPIERS
6. Qweirding the West: Re-Forming the Nation in the Novels of C Pam Zhang and Emma Pérez
ANNE MAI YEE JANSEN
7. Ishmael Reed Takes on the Weird Western in Yellow Back Radio Broke-Dow
JANA KOEHLER
 
Part 4
8. Coming Back to Shane to Redeem the Cyborg in Soldier and Logan
ELIZABETH ABELE
9. Leatherface Families and Final Grandmas: The Reproductive Rites and Slaughterhouse Sexualities in the New “Old West”
JOSHUA T. ANDERSON and REBECCA M. LUSH
10. “What Makes You Worth $100,000?”: Heists, the Commodification ofWomen, and Capitalism Condemned in The Professionals and Army of the Dead
MEREDITH HARVEY

Part 5
11. The Woman in Room 327: Western Domesticity and Oedipal Conflict in The Shining
JEFFREY CHISUM
12. Transgression on the Frontier: The Ludicity of Incest in Bioshock Infinite             
CHRISTINA FAWCETT and MARC OUELLETTE
13. Dead Fathers and Monstrous Daughters in The Last of Us II” 
SARA HUMPHREYS
14. “Do I bring my own leash, or do I pick one up at the door?”: Kink, Camp, and QueerMasculinity in CBS’s The Wild Wild West
SARA L. SPURGEON
Notes
Index

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