Novels about war, like novels about all-boys schools, are usually as much about male bonding as they are about war or growing up. In this regard, Tatamkhulu Afrikaâs Bitter Eden (Picador), which is set in a series of WWII POW camps, fits the mold. But this autobiographical novelâfirst published in 2002, when Afrika was 82âalso reshapes the mold by incorporating the subject of art. Afrika died shortly after Bitter Edenâs publication. His death notwithstanding, he accomplished all the above, and considerably more, through Bitter Edenâs central character, Tomâan accomplishment that in many ways does indeed merit the âmodern classicâ badge which Picador has slapped on this reprint. (more…)
The first trailer for filmmakerÂ Patrik-Ian Polk’sÂ screen adaptation of the novel Blackbird wasÂ released this week. The feature film, adapted from a novel by Lambda Literary award-winning authorÂ Larry Duplechan, centers on a charismatic young christian high school student who is grappling with his sexuality and familial tension. The filmÂ will closeÂ theÂ Pan African Film FestivalÂ (PAFF)Â in Los Angeles, CA, which runs through FebruaryÂ 17,Â 2014. (more…)
JanusÂ is the ancient Roman god of beginnings and transitions; he looks to the past and to the future. Janus is usually depicted with two faces. Iâd like to re-appropriate this ancient archetype as the god of transitioning genders for the first book I will review by L.A. Witt that was just reissued in January. Then I will use this same archetype to discuss authorial collaboration–two heads are better than one–in the romance genre in a new release from L.A. Witt and Cat Grant. Finally, I will look at a recent release by Cat Grant that masterfully uses parallelism to illustrate the choices that the characters must make between self-hate and love. (more…)
Readers who held out hope that the son of Anne Rice would eventually find his way to the dark side will rejoice over his latest novel, The Heavens RiseÂ (Gallery Books). Those lamenting the time it took him to get here shouldnât because the years Christopher Rice spent sharpening his literary teeth over the course of five New York Times bestselling thrillers was time well spent indeed. (more…)
Living in a “transitional” city like Washington, DCâespecially as a member of the gay communityâyou get used to having a certain subgroup of friends: the inevitable expatriates. Sometimes these individuals announce themselves openlyâwe all know people who are at any given time, according to them at least, anywhere from two weeks to six months away from moving to New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland (either one), Austin, or any of a host of innumerable more-attractive international destinationsâwhile others just seem so constitutionally incompatible with their current surroundings that we know itâs only a matter of time before they take flight. (more…)
‘In Bed With Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master’ by Tim Teeman
A really good biography is a gateway drug that sends readers immediately in search of more works on and by its subject. For those unfamiliar with Gore Vidal, Tim Teemanâs book should trigger an irresistible urge to learn more about the life and literary output of the brilliant controversial writer who died in 2012 at 86. At the time of his death Vidal had been in lamentable condition for years, demented and alcoholic, mourning the loss in 2004 of Howard Austen, his companion for over half a century. When asked how their union had lasted so long, Vidal said the secret was simple: they didnât have sex with each other: âIâve always made a point: never have sex with a friend.â The biography supplies so many more examples of Vidalâs ornery provocative statements that reading it feels a bit like sitting next to him at a drunken dinner partyâmaddening sometimes, but still an experience one would regret missing. (more…)
Itâs a new year, and Qu33r, Rob Kirbyâs grand, glorious anthology of thirty-three queer comics, feels as fresh and bright as these early days of January. Since 2010, Kirby has been editing Three, a high quality, LGBT comics anthology of three cartoonistâs works, with the expressed purpose of giving the creators space for their work to shine. The high quality of work, editing and presentation of these comics recognized Three with nominations for two Ignatz awards and a 2011 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Qu33r (Northwest Press), a beautiful hardcover volume, feels like an exponential expansion of all these good qualities, times three. (more…)
A homoerotic interfaith adventure awaits in The Daring of Paradise, the newest poetry book by Toronto teacher Brian Day. (more…)
Signing your very first book is a landmark moment for all writers. Itâs like your first crack at kissing or screwing or loving. Possibly, itâs a moment you recall in Technicolor. Or, maybe, itâs a sliver of time coated with murk and fuzz. No matter. Scrawling your name on your first published work is a triumph, a gift, and, above all, one lick of frosting found in the writerâs life. (more…)
‘The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy!’ edited by Tom Cardamone and ‘Al-Qaedaâs Super Secret Weapon’ by Mohammed alâMuhammad Mohammed and Youssef Fakish
As lgbt superhero teams proliferate, it only makes sense to showcase lgbt villains too; this fun compilation of stories sets out to explore that concept. One standout story, Damon Shawâs Light and Dark brilliantly portrays the colossal mess a superhero fight invokes (imagine blowing up the moon!). These tales feature superheroes and villains with especially imaginative super powers, like writer Rod. M Santosâ character Muse, whose power set is based on inspiringÂ others. These stories are filled with sexiness, fun word play, and insider jokes that comic book readers will love. The introduction notes that all the writers are gay men, in order to explore a shared boysâ mythological world inspired by comics, D&D, and an awakening gay sexuality.
The Lavender Menace:Tales of Queer Villainy!
Edited by Tom Cardamone
Paperback, 9781938720222, 232 pp.
Al-Qaedaâs Super Secret Weapon
This well-drawn spoof is based on the premise that once the U.S. military has decided to openly accept lgbt soldiers, the best way for Al-Qaeda to infiltrate their enemies is to get super-sexy gay operatives drafted, and destroy the U.S. military morale with weapons of mass seduction. Readers might chuckle at the word play and sex-related jokes, unfortunately, thereâs lots here that doesnât work, from the offensive fake Arabic pen names, to the already dated feel of the premise and assumptions about gay, Arabic, and Muslim behavior.
Al-Qaedaâs Super Secret Weapon
By Mohammed alâMuhammad Mohammed & Youssef Fakish
Paperback, 9781938730391, 72 pp.