Sunday, December 23, 2012

Eminent Outlaws; The Gay Writers Who Changed America

From a broader perspective I have just completed reading Eminent Outlaws  by Christopher Bram.  He takes a close look at the last 50 years of gay writing from America,  Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and James Baldwin all feature heavily in the 1950s post war period.  They were often friends but also combative competitors. 
Their writing was often criticised for being too homosexual or read as homosexual pretending to be straight.  Baldwin suffered under the charge of not writing as a black man when he wrote a gay story.  It is these writers who along with Christopher Isherwood and Edmund White showed that gay writing could be good and did not always have to include suffering homosexuals.  Straight people had difficult lives and gay people often lived happy lives. 
The literature produced could be entertaining, informative and for the publishers even profitable.  The details of the plays, poems, novels and essays produced in the second half of last century is amazing.  This could be a book in which to find your future reading lists.

Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov

The famous author of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov seldom mentioned the brother he left behind in Europe.  Paul Russell has very cleverly reconstructed this gay brother’s life from the few known facts.  It is a beautiful journey from the decline of St Petersburg in the early 20th Century as the time of the Tsars is brought to a close through to the end of Hitler’s Germany and Sergey himself. 

Sergey lives and loves an amazing life.  His father was immensely intelligent and he idolised his gay uncle who ignored him, while focussing his attentions on the elder Vladimir.  Sergey becomes friends with many famous people of the era such as Cocteau and Alice Toklas.  This is the story of an emigrant community and an overlooked brother.  It captures a changing world over a period of just a few decades. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Queen of Iron Years

By Lyn McConchie ad Sharman Horwood published by Kite Hill Publishing

Its 2035 and the world has gone to pieces.  Just like AIDS did in the 1980s a new disease known as Tensens is causing panic.  It appears that the hormonal balance of transsexuals means any Transgender person infected with Tensens and having sexual relations causes their partner to die.  Our transgender hero Cean finds his life is getting more difficult and the discrimination he suffers causes a halt to his life and his journey to becoming female.

The story progresses to Cean using a friend’s time travel technology to travel back to the first century and the time of his heroine Boadicea.  The subsequent tale is a brilliant example of historical fiction.  The details ring true as we read of battles with Romans and simple village life in early Britain.  Cean is hoping that he can change the future by helping Boadicea win war against Rome, rather than lose as she had done in our history.  Cean uses his knowledge and a stock of antibiotics to gain trust as he integrates with these more primitive people.  By changing the past a better kinder world where female strength is valued may come to pass.

You will enjoy reading this book.  Co-author Lyn lives in New Zealand.  Give her your support.