August 4th, 2009

andrew potter

Behind the Cover: Frank Kelly Freas

Recognized as the most prolific and popular Science Fiction artist worldwide, FRANK KELLY FREAS has illustrated stories by some of Science Fiction's greatest writers: Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt, Poul Anderson, and Frederik Pohl, to name a few. Nominated an unprecedented twenty times, Freas was the first to receive ten Hugo Awards (World Science Fiction "Oscars") for achievement in the field as Best Professional Artist.

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He has been active in the Science Fiction field since 1950. In the course of his remarkable career, his endeavors have covered many areas including MAD Magazine covers from 1955 to 1962. An official NASA mission artist, his space posters hang in the Smithsonian. He was commissioned by the Skylab I astronauts to design their crew patch.

You can find his art on record and CD albums (for instance his cover for Queen's first two million sale: News of the World, or on the cover of DC Comics' 1992 STAR TREK ANNUAL. He painted beautiful women on the noses of World War II bombers, as well as portraits of five hundred saints for the Franciscans. He's also been commissioned to create biomedical art. Author and illustrator of the books The Astounding Fifties, Frank Kelly Freas: The art of Science Fiction, and A Separate Star, as well as a number of magazine articles, he now resides in the Los Angeles area.
andrew potter

Bring the Heat by M.L. Rhodes

Bring the Heat is the classical cop and stripper story with a twist. And the twist is not that the stripper is a man, at least this is not the original thing, but that the cop, Riley, is a shy good boy next door type who falls in love with model turned stripper for fun, Dane.

Riley was always a shy boy, and even a little skinny and nerd type. For all his youth he was scorned for being gay and this led him to choose to be a police officer more for the desire to help others like him than for a real sacred inner fire for justice. Riley comes from a middle class family, they have money and possibility, and his job as a cop is seen as something under class and not suitable. So to the shame he suffered when he was a teenager, now it is added also the scorn from his family for having an unsuccessful career. All of it makes Riley a man with big self-esteem issues and with him being so shy, it leads also to him being a single without hope.

Then at the coffeshop where he goes every morning he catches the eyes with Dane, a very handsome man; Dane is nice and flirting, and even if they have never shared a word, Riley knows that Dane is a man he would like to know better. Problem is that Riley is hopelessly shy and has no courage to pick up a line to approach Dane. Dane, on the other hand, is drawn to Riley above all for his shyness: Dan is a former professional model who still works sometime, but above all he is comfortably living with his savings. He also strips some nights a week, more for the fun that for real money need. As a model Dane was used to be judged and judging more for physical appearance than for having a working brain, and being Dane a man with a perfectly working brain, that didn't suit him well. So he took up the sad event of his father's illness to leave that world. And now he is attracted by Riley since he recognizes in him a man who will be nice and sweet, loving and caring, and who will not disappear when the beautiful facade of Dane's body will decay.

Everything is perfect, Dane is also planning his subtle seduction, but Riley's work as a cop comes in the middle: a fellow stripper of Dane is killed and Riley as to question Dane as possible witness. Dane and Riley are suddenly nearer than ever before, and the passion fights with the code of honor of a cop. Dane doesn't help, since he is tempting as devil and falling in hell seems very good.

Both characters are really good, they have deepness and the reader feels for them. Where maybe Riley is not exactly a stereotype, he is not at all the strong and silent cop type, he is coherent: Riley is not a leader, nor in life or at work; Riley is faithful and clever, but he searches the leading of other men, as lovers and coworkers. In a classical cop novel, Riley would have been the best friend of the main hero, the good cop by the book. And when chances make him going against his principles, Riley is full of remorse and fears, but still he is stable enough to face it in the right way.

On the other hand, even if the stereotype of a model is to be frivolous and fickle, Dane is instead the strong core of this couple. Even as a model he is a white fly, he earned good money and he saved them, avoiding the easy temptation of the glittering show business life. He is clever and gentle, and also generous; but not stupid. In all his acts, towards his father and brother, Dane proves to be able to take the right decision, not letting his heart leads completely the way, but hearing also to his brain. Only with Riley, and their first encounter, he maybe lets his passion takes the hand of the situation, but honestly at that moment he didn't think it was a bad thing. Otherwise, he is always ready to comprehend and forgive, and even to wait for Riley and his slower pace. And having a working brain, he is also able to counter to Riley's remonstrances with right and squared facts.

Bring the Heat is the proof that opposites attract, even when you change the tables, making the cop the submissive side of the couple. It's also more a romance than a cop novel, the mystery is not at all the main argument, it plays only a supporting role to the romance.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
andrew potter

Dude Looks Like a Lady by Jack Greene

This is only a short story and it's basically a boy meets boy, boy does boy and... nothing else :-) But all in all in only 26 pages you can't expect more.

The starting point of the story is a identity mistake: Orion, a rapper, is searching for a female model for a video. Among the stock of photos the agency sent him he picks up Darien, a dark haired beauty with long straight hair. In the rush he doesn't understand to his personal assistant who are trying to tell him that Darien is a boy not a girl. When Darien receives the call from his agent he wonders why a rapper, a category that usually is not exactly LGBT friendly, wants him for his video. The day after Darien wents to the shot and realizes immediately that Orion believes him a girl. He tries to leave without further problems, but Orion stops him, and not for doing the shot.

While Darien's character and his motivations are quite explained, it's not the same for Orion. Darien is a model, and as all the models maybe he is also a little vain. He knows that he looks like a girl, but he likes himself; he doesn't want to change his imagine most of all since he loves his image. And in his job, it's not a problem, so he has never had to face that problem. When he meets Orion, he likes him as a man, above all since Orion is so manly and strong, a nice and big contrast to himself. Since Darien is not ashamed of being a boy, he never once thinks to continue with the mistaken, he wants only to go and don't have trouble.

As I said, I didn't frame so much Orion. What it is clear is that he likes Darien, both when he thought him a girl than now that he knows that he is a boy. What it's not clear is if Orion was bi-curious even before; I believe not, I think he maybe had some interest but never acted upon it, and Darien, with his androgynous look is a perfect point to start exploring. On this perspective, I don't know if this will be forever love, but for sure it's a nice romp.

Amazon Kindle: Dude Looks Like a Lady

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle