March 24th, 2009

andrew potter

The Cactus League Society by Adam Carpenter

When you start a book, you must have clear in mind what you are reading and what you are expecting, so you will be not disappointed if what you read is not what you expected... is this a sentence to start a negative review? No, not at all. The Cactus League Society is a romp in the dust, a late nineteen century sexual adventure of a young man in search of excitement and sex, and this is what he finds.

Drew is the pampered son of a wasp family in New York. Good family, beautiful home, prestigious university... his family gave him all, and now Drew wants more. Drew is homosexual and truth be told has not real trouble with that; oh yes, he pretends, even with himself, to understand that he has to be discreet, but then he seduces a childhood friend in his bedroom when the house is full of guests... and obviously he is discovered. Again his family tries to pamper him, they kick him out, but with a chunk of money to start over somewhere else, as far as possible from New York. Money that Drew, in his careless behavior, due to his young age, refuses and claims that he will find his way in the Wild West... and he finds right his way passing from the arm of a man to another to another till he arrives in California, the dream land.

Even if Drew behaves like a "grown" man, I believe he has still a lot to learn, and he is the classical example of what I call "lucky" guy: he puts himself in great danger, but he seems to have a guardian angel to look over him, and nothing of really nasty happens to him.

Now, lets get a summary, relationships with 3 men in 23 pages, plus a discovery journey throughout the country, from Ivy League boy to Dream Catcher... just the fact that the author packs all of this in a short story is a good thing. So I will pass over to the fact that even if it's an historical romance, there are very few details that allow me to immerse in the "historical" atmosphere; at the end of the story the author hints to something more, a book titles Wonderland, full lenght novel (that I already have in my reading folder), so maybe this one is only a sample taste of what we will find there. But I don't think that the "purists" of historical gay novels would consider this short story as one of their own.

The feeling of the story is more an erotic escapade than a romance, I don't believe that Drew is already in love with his childhood friend, but he could be in the future, and meanwhile he is free to explore.

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andrew potter

Behind the Cover: Donato Giancola

Donato Giancola is a multiple award winning American artist specializing in science fiction and fantasy illustration.

Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, near Burlington, Vermont, he then lived in Syracuse, New York for 3 years while attending school, then in New York City after graduation, where he currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.

"Red Sonja", 21"x29" Oil on Paper on Panel, ©2007 Donato Giancola, collection of Cathy and Arnie Fenner

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At first, Giancola majored in electrical engineering at the University of Vermont, but left for Syracuse University to seriously pursue painting in 1989. He graduated with a fine arts major in 1992.

Giancola describes himself and his work as a 'classical-abstract-realist working with science fiction and fantasy' and lists Hans Memling, Jan Van Eyck, Velázquez, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Piet Mondrian, Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian as his favorite artists. (From Wikipedia)