Circa 2000: Gay Fiction at the Millennium

Robert Drake, Editor, Terry Wolverton, Editor Alyson Books $14.95 (430p) ISBN 978-1-55583-517-0
Though the millennium frenzy may be pass , this collection of outstanding gay fiction is anything but. The editors have amassed a bevy of literary talent (some well known, some new), and the 21 stories showcase a panoply of styles, narrative depth and personal histories. Early in the volume, M. Shayne Bell shares an unsettling vision with the futuristic, Hugo-finalist tale ""Mrs. Lincoln's China,"" which is set in a dystopic, violent society and features a woman who has looted the White House and stolen priceless historic presidential dinnerware on which she serves her son dinner. Stories focusing on HIV and AIDS, like Bernard Cooper's surrealistic suburban nightmare ""Hunters and Gatherers,"" show strong-willed characters who may be ""whittled by the blade of AIDS,"" but whose narratives never become mired in the merely hopeless. The two lovers in Jamison Currier's moving ""Pasta Night"" reinvigorate their traumatic relationship by caring for HIV-positive babies in a hospice. Popular author Scott Heim's entry ""Deep Green, Pale Purple"" is a poignant tale of two loving young brothers and their abusive, menacing father at work in the family apple orchard. Brimming with novelistic potential, Heim's prose is evocative: he shows the boys camping under skies as ""flimsy and thrilling as a promise."" Trevor Renado displays a prickly sense of humor in the wickedly farcical ""Get a Lifestyle,"" which hilariously nails the West Hollywood gay scene to the wall. David Vernon's spooky ""Couple Kills"" will satisfy the suspense/horror factions; one man's secretive nocturnal activities pique the curiosity and dread of his boyfriend, who is obsessed with the mythical Chupacabra, a Mexican bloodsucking creature. With every entry having merit, this outstanding volume serves as an important bellwether for those with any doubts about the state of gay writing at the dawn of the 21st century. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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