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You can face this essay in many different ways (guess what is mine?)...

- as one who was there and reading all the books and authors named in it, has that common feeling of "oh, yes, I remember that", or rather than, "wow, I almost forget that it was like that".

- as one who was not there, but that for all his life has loved and searched for the things from the past, a past that maybe seems better than the one he is living in. And all the vintage covers you will find inside the book will make your inner collector gone crazy, you will probably print copy the final references page, Index of Fiction Discussed, and start to doing the check, I have, I haven't.

- as one who did it, maybe it's even named among the authors, or maybe not, maybe he did not have the courage to do the same things those authors did, and now he is regretting the choice.

- as one who wants to understand better what was before, a newbie that, till last year believed that the gay romance was a recent phenomena, maybe even thought it was something who was fated to decline, and now realizes that it's only another roar of an old lion, who was only taking a nap.

Maybe the last one is not represented among the crowd of authors who contributed to this essay, but all the others are. There is love in this essay, love for an era that was your own one, or that you consider as inspiring. And there are different perspective: for example there is who love an author, and another one who thinks he was sugary and unrealistic, there is who dissects the genre trying to find an hidden meaning, and who, more or less, said that those paperbacks were the only flight from a reality that was not the one he wanted to live in.

There is not hate in this essay. Yes, maybe there is a bit of proud in the words of some authors, stating that, "hey, I was there way before someone started to speak of "Gay Literature"", but more or less, to everyone who contributed in the field of the Gay Fiction was given the right credit.

Who has to read this book? the newbie gay author who wants to write the Great American Novel? it could be useful, it's always useful to know who was before you. But most of all, this essay is directed to the questioning mind, to who is fascinated by those names, by those authors who have at least 20 pen names, who wonders, "how it was to live and write in a world where there wasn't internet?", when to find those novels you had to do miles and miles, maybe to that only bookstore you knew had in store the books you wanted. When you were judged not for who you were, but for what you read... Wait, Am I speaking of 40 years ago, or of today?! See time is passed, but things maybe are not changed so much. And so yes, you can still learn something from an essay like The Golden Age of Gay Fiction.

And no, I will not summarize all the essays inside it as maybe some of you are expecting, and I will not say who was my favorite: they are all my favorite, I love the presentation, the layout, all those little covers scattered around. I love the writers, they made me feel the love they have for the genre. And now I'm also damning them, since my "to read" list is bigger than ever!


Amazon: The Golden Age of Gay Fiction

The Rainbow Awards: First Week results: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/811346.html

Cover Art by Paul Richmond

And since I loved it, Victor Gadino's original cover for The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick:

Cover Art by Victor Gadino


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I too felt the love in this book. I'm very happy and proud to be a part of it

Oct. 1st, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
You are both an author named than an author who named... This essay is so much about you and all the authors like you. And you were so chic in all those covers for the CAMP books... because it was you them, wasn't it? Elisa
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for posting this, Elisa. I'm enjoying reading through the review copy now -- so much in this one beautiful book. And the art alone is, as you say, amazing.
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, I DO so want some of those books, if only for the cover art! Elisa
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Great review from a superb reviewer
Elisa. --It's always such a pleasure to see you review a book in which I appear (like this one), and/or one I've written (like those you've reviewed of mine in the past)! I do have to admit that it's always strange, though, to find myself suddenly an intricate part of a reference book. I remember it happening the first time when "The Advocate" did a retrospective of its articles most indicative of the particular decades in which they'd published, and there was one of mine. Shouldn't I be feeling older than "just" two-hundred-and-ten?! Ciao, baby!
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Great review from a superb reviewer
I so love that passage of your essay, I didn't know of the Advocate. I even loved when you talked of your dear lady friend, and how you wooed her with flowers and chocolate... lucky lady! Elisa
Oct. 1st, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oooooh... I'll admit it, I am one of those 'newbies' who thought it was a recent phenom (recent meaning... past decade.). Mostly because I haven't thought on it much. ><

But... wow. If (when! x.X) I ever write a book, I want cover art like some of that. So stunning!! And way nicer than some of the stuff today! (Plus it reminds me of the lovely old sci-fi covers. xP)
Oct. 2nd, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
The Lord Won't Mind was out in 1970 and I think that was one of the first (if not the first) covers it had. And you are right it's way better than some modern covers. And in the essay they explained that it was also an innovation, since for the first time the two male "romantically" involved characters were looking in each other eyes, and they have a "physically" connection (holding hands).

Victor Gadino was also a reknowed "clinch covers" artist, and later he became an exhibited artist. I didn't find any updated info about him. I don't even know if he is still alive.

Oct. 3rd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
1970? Really? xD

What is a 'clinch cover' might I ask?
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Clich covers were those savage romance cover where usually the heroine was partially naked in the passionate embrace of a strong and very mainly hero. Elisa
Oct. 4th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Oh! Okay, so like, cliche. I understand.

(And I really dislike those covers. x.x)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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