Key West, 2720 A.D.
Eakins's future Key West is a utopia besieged by hostile, neighboring city-states surviving in a war-ravaged America. The post-holocaust background may be familiar science-fiction terrain, but Key West is uncommon: a gay haven for those ``excluded'' from the other enclaves for their sexual, and sometimes political, orientation. Bisexual teenager Gibb Makkle is on the run from vicious homophobes when he is saved by the legendary Sam Phoe, who, at age 217, has been mayor of Key West for four generations. Gibb has an affair with Sam, is initiated into the city's customs and plays a crucial role during an attack by the nearby Florida Glades. This first novel's story line is conventional and undistinguished melodrama. The tropical setting, however, with its open, uncomplicated sexuality, is one still rare in science fiction. If it never approaches the extraordinary work of such leading gay writers as Samuel R. Delany and Thomas Disch, the provocative novel, nonetheless, offers an intriguing alternate future along very different lines of wish fulfillment than the genre's mainstream. (July)