May 8th, 2011

andrew potter

Paul Leicester Ford (March 23, 1865 - May 8, 1902)

Paul Leicester Ford (23 March 1865, New York, New York, USA - 8 May 1902, New York, New York, USA) was an American novelist and biographer, born in Brooklyn. He was the great-grandson (through his mother's family) of Noah Webster and the brother of the noted historian Worthington C. Ford. He wrote lives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and others, edited the works of Thomas Jefferson, and wrote a number of novels, which had considerable success, including The Honorable Peter Stirling (1894), The Story of an Untold Love, Janice Meredith, Wanted a Matchmaker, and Wanted a Chaperon. He was murdered by his brother, Malcolm Webster Ford, at one time the most famous amateur athlete in the United States, who then committed suicide.

Paul Leicester Ford was the consummate bookman of the late nineteenth century. During his brief life, he successfully contributed to the world of letters through printing, bibliography, editing, scholarship, and fiction. An exhibit on University of South Carolina represents part of a gift recently made to the University by Mrs. William R. Bailey of Camden in memory of her husband, William R. Bailey. Bailey was the grandson of Rosalie Ford Barr, one of Paul Ford's older sisters. Mrs. Barr was close to Ford throughout his life; she also provided him with his only formal schooling. Later in his life, she furnished him with a much needed retreat to complete one of his best-sellers. The collection contains almost forty books and pamphlets pertaining to Ford, including inscriptions, photos, and letters, and additional material by Noah Webster, Ford's great-grandfather, Emily E. Ford, his mother, Worthington C. Ford, his brother, and other authors.

Collapse )An article in the Bookman declared that Ford was one of the great historians of the nineteenth century. Leaving behind a wife and small daughter, Ford's death was truly a loss to his family, friends, and American letters. Examining his short life and his numerous accomplishments, however, makes one readily accept his friend's assertion that Ford had "an almost superhuman capacity for work."

andrew potter

Top 100 Gay Novel: A strong and sudden thaw by R.W. Day

Best Overall Gay Novel (2° place), Best Writing Style (1° place), Best Setting (2° place) and Best Futuristic Novel (1° place)

This is one of those books that mostly everyone recommended me to read; I have to admit that I delayed the reading since I’m not really a fantasy lover, and, I don’t know why, I also had the feeling that the romance in the story was not really the main theme, and so the other reason why I sometime read a fantasy novel, the romance, was excluded. But this last point is not true, there is a romance in the story, even if it’s on a Young Adult level, making this a Gay novel that I’d have no issue at all to recommend myself to a teenager reader.

But lets go back to the story and its main characters: David is the narrative voice, a 16 years old guy; the age of David is an important details of the story since, not only it makes this a Coming of Age story, it also determines the balance between David and Callan, who is 23 years old. The story is set more or less 100 years in the future, when, after another Ice Age, the world reverted to a Pre-Industrial Revolution period; this is again not an irrelevant detail, while in our modern society, a 23 years old man having an affair with a 16 years old guy would be considered a criminal, in a country farm society of the XIX century, 16 years old is considered almost adulthood, and indeed David’s mother is pushing him to marry.

Of course, when the relationship between David and Callan comes out, there is the hint from more than one townsfolk that Callan is corrupting their children; I think the author simply stroked through this hypothesis making David being the first having sexual thoughts on Callan. The very first time they met, when Callan has not even his “own” voice in the story, David thinks that it would be nice to have the hands of the young healer on him. It’s for sure an innocent thought, David has no sexual experience, let alone same sex sexual experience, but it’s nevertheless the first hint of their future love story.

Aside from the relationship between David and Callan, the other strong point of this novel is the setting, and the contraposition between Sci-fi and Fantasy genre: the environment where all the characters are moving is a mix between reality and legend. Who is old enough to remember the time before the Ice Age, tells stories about a world where machine and artificial energy made life easier; people know the stories are true, since simple reminders of that past, like the iron fences, are still there to prove that. But then comes the strong contraposition with a total fantasy element, the Dragons: Dragons are flying in the sky and those dragons is something that was not “real” in the past, and that now are very real, killing animals but also small children. The author will try to explain the presence of a fantasy element like Dragons with a sci-fi expedient like a scientific experiment gone wrong, plunging again the story more on the Sci-fi theme than the Fantasy, but still maintaining all the characters living in this “old fashioned” setting.

The social environment was another interesting point; other than reverting back to a farm society, loosing all the modern infrastructures easing the lives of people, also the mentality of the people did the same. Homosexuality is yet again a crime, and people conveniently forgot what little civilization society reached just before the Ice Age. Plus the “government” (an outside force to their community) has become the enemy and so everything coming from outside is an enemy as well. It’s quite a claustrophobic environment, but in a way it’s also easier to manage: you know well who is against you, but you know also who can be your friend, and so it’s also possible to prove the simply fact that being homosexual it’s not automatically being the bad guy.

Buy Here

Amazon: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Amazon Kindle: A Strong and Sudden Thaw
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press; Reissue edition (January 30, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210638
ISBN-13: 978-1590210635

R.W. Day's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
andrew potter

Deviations: Submission by Chris Owen & Jodi Payne

Deviations: Submission is like the 101 course about Gay BDSM Romance; when you are a newbie in the genre, and you are like testing the water, it’s very likely that you will stumble upon this series, or at least it was like that for me. I admit, I was not ready; I remember that I started to read the first book, this one, but I was not able to continue. Pain/pleasure games, 24/7 D/s relationships, flogging, gagging, and on and on, was really too much for me at the time. I realize now, more or less 5 years later, that indeed this series is way more “mild” than other novels I read after that.

Both men involved in this relationship, the Dom Tobias and the sub Noah, come along with different needs clicking together. Tobias invested a lot in a relationship with another sub, Phan, but he was not the right man for that job; basically Tobias is a caretaker, he is a vet and he has the need to take care for other people embedded in his behaviour, he cannot really dish out extreme pain, not even if the other man is asking for it. Something that apparently I didn’t catch the first time I read this novel is that Tobias is not searching for a pain s**t, and that, if Noah was one, the relationship between them was never fated to start.

Noah is another character that has his job in his own blood, but in a different way than Tobias; I think that Noah, a police officer, is always so focused in helping other people, in being good and in control, that in his private life he needs to let it go. But for various reasons he has trusting issues, and so he cannot really fully depend on another man, something that is unbearable from most Doms out there. So Noah is going through Doms like someone would go through boyfriends, testing each of them but finding them lacking. Probably the matching between Tobias and Noah is perfect right since both of them actually don’t want to go to the extreme of a D/s relationship, and that is exactly the level of BDSM that I can take.

Another think that I can now appreciate in this series, is that, in the end, the sex between them is more intimate and less “scene”; I really don’t like very much all the public display that most of the BDSM novels imply as ordinary. It’s true that Noah and Tobias met in a private club, and use its facilities, but the sex is mostly between the two of them, so much that they talk about being exclusive almost from the beginning. The story maybe started like a convenient matching of two people searching a good night, but then it soon moves to love and long-term commitment, even if the commitment was enshrined by a D/s contract. But I can see (and I know since this is only the first in a 4 books series) that this relationship is fated to moved beyond this contract and into a partnership looking for more than sex.

Amazon: Deviations: Submission
Amazon Kindle: Deviations: Submission
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press (June 26, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933389850
ISBN-13: 978-1933389851

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle