When you're a boy
Other boys check you out
You don't need Grindr to find these hot Aussie tales. There are "boys" of all ages in this revealing collection, from teens to ones who'd rather not say. Authors explore being a son, being a brother, being a friend and being a lover; how we mesh these conflicting roles into a workable life and the real significance of each of these relationships.
pdf file >2MB, 80+ A5 pages, released 1 October 2011
Dallas Angguish Cherry
Blossom Bicycle Crazy
See: Perfect Gay Marriage
Queensland Pride, November 2011, page 16
Alistair Sutton reads up on the new gay-ebook collection of contemporary Australian gay short fiction.
The latest gay-ebook release, When you're a boy, is richly diverse in themes and styles.
Editor Gary Dunne says he got the title When you're a boy, subtitled Other boys check you out, from lines taken from David Bowie's ironic paean to adolescent masculinity, Boys Keep Swinging.
"An ongoing pleasure in putting online collections together is discovering the way in which writers find aspects to the title's implied theme that we hadn't considered," says Dunne. "Certainly that's true this time. We were expecting tales of connection from the thoroughly modern, utilising Grindr and Facebook, to more evergreen methods of hooking up, such as dinner parties and friends of friends, through to the oldest of all, loitering with intent in bars, clubs, or the great outdoors."
The finished collection is even more diverse. It includes beautifully written autobiographical pieces about the angst of growing up gay and the perennial issues one faces to gain acceptance and self-worth, such as in Dallas Angguish's Cherry Blossom Cycle Crazy. The collection also includes what Dunne describes as "explorations of constructions of masculinity," where identity and desire are considered, such as in Ash Rehn's Living Legend. Adolescent angst is revisited in several stories that Dunne says "bounce off each other in terms of their widely differing approaches to surprisingly different themes", such as Brendan J Lindsay's gritty A Tisket, A Tasket.
Grindr appears in several stories, demonstrating that the more things change, the more they stay the same, explored with wit and charm by Shaun O'Dowd in Love and Revenge, which questions (per)ceived gay preconceptions of masculinity. Daniel G Taylor's No One Reads Profiles maps the pitfalls awaiting the modern gay man in an online environment where rejection is just as readily available as fulfilment at the touch of a button.
"A number of writers dealt with the dual existence many of us have," says Dunne. "One identity and mode for dealing with our biological family, and another, quite different, for the gay world and our chosen family." A perfect example of this is Jarred Connor's moving portrayal of these themes in Deep and Meaningful, which reveals the surprising twists that occur when family secrets are uncovered. Another example is Scott Clark's Redemption, set in the 1930s as Berlin comes under the sway of the Nazi regime, which explores the relationship of two brothers - one straight, one gay - and how they each respond to a growing climate of hate and fear.
Ian MacNeill, who has written brilliant work over the decades, has also contributed to the collection. "I wrote Queen Lear as part of my ongoing project to transform propaganda for gay people into art. I wanted to say to young queens - don't contort your being trying to obey the gender police, who operate at least as strongly in gay society as straight. Difficult as it is, struggle to be the best of who you are, and if you're femme, that's good if you are a decent human being," MacNeill says.
As a bonus, gay-ebooks has included the first monthly instalment of the irrepressible Robert Tait's serial Perfect Gay Marriage. "A unique blend of erotic and social satire within a fast paced adventure," Dunne says. "Matt's a former cop, hired to check out the background of a twink who is destined to be the younger, cuter groom at Australia's first significant legal gay marriage. It's fun and racy, like all of Robert's work," laughs Dunne. "It exposes not only glittering Sydney's grubby underbelly, but also its sleazy backbottom. Dicken's with dick!"
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This site is a not-for-profit project. Updated 1 Nov 2011.