November 6th, 2011

andrew potter

Lights, Camera... by Jack Greene

This is only a short story but I think it has, not only a good plot, but also a good characters development, or at least as much as you could achieve in 25 pages.

Devon is a young “modern” boy in West Hollywood. 22 years old and without a steady job, he is not actually worried, since he knows that, sooner or later he will find his real path in life. Devon is also gay, and like for his lack of career prospective, also being gay is not an issue; he is not living in a gay bubble, meaning that he has friends in and out the LGBT community, but when you see him, you can tell Devon is gay, it’s who he is, and he is not ashamed of that. So when the hot star of the indie movie for which Devon is doing temp work as technician asks him to be his teacher for gay “kissing” (since the straight star has to kiss a man on the screen), Devon is more than willing; no thoughts of “this is a closet gay man I should out him”, or “poor me I’m so in love with this man and nothing could happen”, is passing his mind. Devon likes Stephen and Stephen is a good guy, and he is treating Devon with respect and like a true gentlemen… of course Devon will let Stephen know that he can be a little less gentlemanly and having his wicked ways with him, Devon is again, more than willing.

I like the approach of the author to the situation; Stephen is probably gay, but he is working in a field where it’s risky for him to come out, at least at this moment in his career when he is average famous but he is still not a 20 million star. Stephen is not presented like a negative character, or weak or without courage, and I also like that Devon understands the situation and is not behaving like if Stephen is betraying him since he doesn’t want to gamble on his own career.

Amazon Kindle: Lights, Camera...
Publisher: Phaze Books (August 29, 2011)

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andrew potter

Symbiota Sapiens by P.T. Dean

I was a little hesitant to read this novel since, well, I’m not really into heavy sci-fi stuffs, and not only the title, but also the blurb, implied this was that type of novel; plus I think I have read somewhere this is supposed to be only first book in a series… so, yes, I was biased. But the author was really quick in making me changing idea, almost from chapter one. True, Jeremey and Julian find themselves involved in a pretty heavy and dangerous situation (that btw it’s more dark fantasy than sci-fi, involving immortals and demons), but the heaviness of the situation doesn’t translate in the novel; maybe it’s the young age of the main characters, 18 and 22 years old, or maybe the young age of the author ;-), but in the end, this novel was pretty easy to read and I was more interested, and involved, in the budding love story between Jer and Julian than in the dangers looming outside. One other thing that I think it helped, but that at the beginning made me wonder a little on the author, is the writing style: there are almost no description, most of the sentences are dialogue between the characters, and yes, even if at the beginning it was a little disconcerting, since it quickened the reading quite a lot, and didn’t give to the reader almost time to breath, in the end it made the reading experience more way simple than expected.

Coming back to the plot, in the prologue the author explained how Jer and Julian find themselves alone against the bad world; at first, when Jer’s father and Julian’s mother are still alive, Jer was almost annoyed by 13 years old Julian, especially when he had to babysit him. But the night they remained alone, when both of their parents are killed in an accident, Jer only thought is that he has to take care of Julian; so, his role of protector is something he feels way before the current time, when unwilling turned into an Immortal, it’s asked to let Julian go, almost as if Julian is a weight he cannot bear. As when he was 17 years old, Jer doesn’t listen from that ear, and he decides to embark in a run with Julian. As I said, most of the novel is about Jer and Julian’s relationship, how they discover their bound is more than friendship or what two brothers should feel for each other. Truth be told, Jer and Julian were already pretty “physical” with each other, probably more than ordinary brothers or even male teenagers; sure this is mostly due from being alone in the world, for having only each other, and 13 years old Julian probably still needed the physical comfort.

But we soon find out Julian is gay, and if you think about it, a 13 years old guy is probably already aware of his sexual impulses, and I think Julian’s crush on Jer began even before their parents’s death. Anyway it would be a little hard (no pun intended) for Jer to admit that he can be interested in Julian, not only since Julian is a boy but also since Jer sees him like a kid, and he thinks he should treat him like a brother. Of course Jer is only 22 years old, with a strong sexual urge due to his mutation, and Julian is willing and ready, and well, you can imagine what it will happen. Also this, the whole situation between Julian and Jer, very cute and romantic, and also funny, contributes to the lightness of the story.

So yes, if you, like me, are discouraged when faced with a sci-fi plot, in this case don’t worry, actually the background plot of dangers and dark enemies is just the right level (and after all, not so dangerous), and in the end, this is more romance than expected. One warning, I will tag this novel as Coming of Age due to the young age of the characters, but this is not really a Young Adult novel, there is quite a bit of sex, as expected in my opinion if you consider these are young men with very healthy and normal sexual urges.

Amazon Kindle: Symbiota Sapiens

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