Welcome to Cool Gay Stuff ! This is an online pin-board of selective text snippets-&-signposts which promote recent gay-friendly media. This also includes details of your paperback or Kindle e-book purchase of your host's recently-published, highly-regarded, colorful 498-page novel of Ancient Rome titled THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History.

Cool Gay Stuff prioritizes literary media, readers. & books, so it accents a brief foretaste via press articles, literary crits, movie crits, & online news of wide public appeal, while also identifying specialized information for the gay community. These brief sample excerpts provide direct links to the original Net sources. Each is selected by your host, George Gardiner, author of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA".

This recently-published novel is a highly-praised, erotically-charged, 'good read' Roman Era crime-thriller and torrid romance. It's a 498-page novel suggested by the (real-life) historical relationship of ancient Rome's dynamic emperor Hadrian with his youthful beau, Antinous of Bithynia, whose more than 120 surviving ancient sculptures attest to his muscular good looks & personable appeal. Antinous drowned under suspicious, unexplained, circumstances at Egypt's Nile River in 130CE, which triggered an Imperial whodunit-investigation whose (fictional) details persuaded many readers of the paperback - or its Kindle e-book copy - to award this novel a very-favorable top 5-Star rating by over half of its 25 Amazon online reviewers (56%, to be precise), plus a further 24% as 4-Star admirers. These figures total an Amazon readers' appreciation score of over three-quarters, or 4.1 points out of 5.

Cool Gay Stuff outlines below reader's praises of the novel to help you assess the book's appeal to you. We also provide links to Amazon-USA and Amazon-UK to easily purchase a copy of the paperback (plus add a modest Amazon mail-order delivery fee). Alternatively, you may prefer to immediately download a thrifty Kindle e-book copy of the same text via Amazon? (If so, click your choice below.) Please note :- The paperback edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is not available at general book-stores ... its sole purchase option is online via Amazon-USA or Amazon-UK (see links below). A plain-wrapped copy will be mailed to your preferred mail address subsequent to online card payment.

Then follows a daily-updated Cool Gay Stuff text sampler of notable GLBTQ articles, news, videos, movie trailers & reviews, plus direct links to their originating Net addresses. Please note :- this site avoids NSFW items & overt porn so "not to frighten the horses" (Oscar Wilde's cheery 19thCent advice). The site's formal Fair Dealing/Non-Profit copyright criteria are posted at its conclusion, plus a full catalog of The Hadrian Enigma's research sources. So, welcome everyone wherever you are, & ENJOY!

We open with two new mainstream movie or tv video trailers selected for their wide appeal (including probable gay reader interest) ...



.... and now for something completely different!, but perhaps only 'gay' in the sense it is visually highly baroque & stupendously gorgeous (that's meant as a compliment, folks) ...

It's the final 2-minute trailer of a forthcoming spectacular space drama from Luc Besson (France). And it looks a real winner! Its 3-D theater versions must be gob-smacking!

Sit back and enjoy its delirious visuals in anticipation of an exotic soon-to-arrive cinematic experience ....

(Video trailers courtesy of YouTube, with thanks.)


ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED SAME-SEX ROMANCES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his very-fit paramour Antinous of Bithynia, set amid the Roman Empire (circa 125-130CE) two centuries before Rome legalized Christian beliefs.

The two-line blue web-address (below) is an invitation from your host, author George Gardiner, to explore his 498-page romance/crime/historical erotica/m-m romance "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History" at Amazon USA.

Alternatively, a click on the actual book cover-pics (below) will also deliver you to Amazon (USA) to explore purchase details via its Amazon Online link :-

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first real-life 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first real-life 'out' lovers ...
... back & front covers of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. to reach Amazon book sales: CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & airmail-purchase of a paperback or instant Kindle ebook download.

OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - top online quotes from 25 Amazon purchasers ...

"Five stars .. A wonderful insight into Roman life ... fantastic, well-researched ..."
Amazon Customer, USA (March 2017)

"Five stars ... a good read."
Viola Noll at Amazon USA

"Nobody will ever know what, exactly, happened to Antinoos. But this is IMHO the best yet story about what might have been. ...."
David Woodworth (USA) at Amazon's USA sales site

"Five stars ... This is a good & fast read."
Fr Mike Mangoian (USA) at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... I loved this book ... If you like mysteries, try this book. ... Lots of fun ... "
Eric Sootin, Asheville, NC (USA) at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... Excellent ... couldn't put the book down ... one of the most enjoyable novels I've ever read ..."
Lloyd F Adams (USA), at Amazon USA

"Five Stars ... The best book I've read on Hadrian and Antinous."
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA

"I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html

" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA

"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-

"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA

"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA

"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at http://www.desicritics.org/ India

"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA

"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK

"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name

"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK

"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA

" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html

"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA

"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
Stephen Forte, Birmingham, Alabama at Amazon USA

" ... I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the Hadrian/Antinous relationship"
Harrison Sheppard at Amazon USA

NOTE: Amazon USA's &
UK's online book & ebook purchase sites with their 25 independent reader's reviews (fourteen awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging suspense fiction suggested by real events in history's most unusual true love story ...

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
A novel
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
Also iBookstore, iPad, Nook & ePub ebook formats available via online sources. (Not available in street stores.)

The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.

Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).

During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.

BUY ONLINE ONLY (not available in street stores). CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select or compare your preferred purchase & delivery options ...

For an Amazon-USA delivered (or air-freighted overseas) paperback :

for Amazon's Kindle ebook or Kindle-For-PC's download :

[If you buy a new print edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, or have purchased one in the past, you can buy a Kindle ebook edition for only $1.99 - saving 80%. Print edition must have been sold by Amazon.]

for Amazon UK :

COOL GAY STUFF now introduces current news & opinion in both columns ...

With many thanks to the originating sources, this left-side column offers "
Mobile First" news excerpts ... a 'text-only' stream for mobile devices to identify & promote teaser-snippets of LGBTQ-news, relevant text selections, plus trailer details of likely gay-interest .... culminating in independent readers' reviews of

... meanwhile, the right-hand column (viewable only via full-frame PC's, laptops, & notebooks etc), displays supportive pics, graphics, cinema trailers, or short videos relevant to the main column's subjects .....


Sunday, May 28, 2017


What It Means To Be A Queer Writer In 2017
----  the opening pars from a extended exchange between two contemporary US writers at OUT Magazine (USA), 23 May 2017 :-

      With his new book, The Destroyers, out in June, author Christopher Bollen talks to his peer Garth Greenwell about queer literature's coming-of-age.
      If you’re looking for reassurance that LGBT literature is alive and well — in rude health, in fact — you could point to any number of titles in the past few years, including Garth Greenwell’s luminous debut, What Belongs to You, recently shortlisted for the U.K.’s James Tait Black Prize; Marlon James’s garlanded A Brief History of Seven Killings; and the serial award-wining lesbian writer Sarah Waters, who has quietly unpacked queer history with a small canon of exquisite period novels.
      But it’s not just literary fiction that is benefiting from an injection of energy and vitality. Gay poets of color are writing some of America’s most electric verses right now (see Tommy Pico, page 90), and queer voices are shaking up genre fiction, including Tom Rob Smith, author of Stalin-era page-turner Child 44 and last year’s BBC drama London Spy; Richard House, currently working on a sequel to his Booker longlisted espionage novel, The Kills; and Christopher Bollen, who now follows up his gripping thriller Orient with The Destroyers, an elegant and twisting suspense novel that is earning comparisons to the genre’s great lesbian doyenne, Patricia Highsmith. Here, Bollen and Greenwell discuss what it means to be a queer writer in 2017.
      Christopher Bollen: As a writer I’m fascinated by crime. I’m sure a lot of it comes from the fact that I grew up gay, and that’s a crime, or was for a long time. .... "
----  see more of this dialogue between writers at www.out.com/art-books at :-

Thursday, May 25, 2017


TAIWAN charts history as it becomes first Asian nation to legalize same-sex unions
----  the initial pars from a news report as the Malaysian Sun (Malaysia), 25th May 2017 :-

      + Taiwan’s top court found that the country’s Civil code violated constitutional guarantees
      + The Civil Code stated that only a man and a woman can agree to marry
      + The court gave the legislative assembly two years to implement the change

      'TAIPEI, Taiwan - In what came as a huge victory, not only for Taiwan’s LGBT activists, but also for the whole of Asia, a Taipei court charted history on Wednesday.
      The country’s top court ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, paving the way for Taiwan to become the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex unions.
      Becoming Asia’s beacon for LGBT rights, Taiwan’s top court found that the country’s Civil Code, which states that only a man and a woman can agree to marry, violated constitutional guarantees.
      The court has now given the legislative assembly two years to implement the change.
      The court said, authorities will now either enact or amend relevant laws within two years, failing which same-sex couples could have their marriages recognized by submitting a written document.
      Taiwan’s LGBT activists, who have fought for decades for marriage equality, inspiring similar struggles across Asia and around the world, were thrilled at the decision and celebrated with the new, engagement-inspired tagline, “Taiwan says yes!” ....'
----  see more of the Malaysian Sun's report at :-

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"THE SUMMER OF LOVE" / 1967 onward ...

Six stories about the lasting legacy of the 'Summer of Love'
----  brief selected pars from Part Two of a six-part reflective essay by Siri Nybakk, published at the San Francisco State University (SFSU/News), 22 May, 2017 :-

      'The Summer of Love shook up conventional notions around how one should express one’s sexuality and in what spaces,” said Professor and Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies Julietta Hua. Sexuality was a vital part of the Summer of Love but experts say we still don’t have sexual freedom for all  ....

      The Summer of Love wasn’t just about love — it was also about sexuality. According to Professor and Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies Julietta Hua, people were questioning what sexuality could be.
      “The Summer of Love shook up conventional notions around how one should express one’s sexuality and in what spaces,” Hua said. During this era, San Francisco became known for sexual freedom and progressive sexual politics. The idea that women were to be wives and later mothers was questioned and people fought for accessible birth control. ....
....  Professor of History Marc Stein said that the Summer of Love was partly about expressing one’s desires and feelings sexually. “Some of the constraints on sexual expression that existed before the Summer of Love don’t exist or exist in a weakened form today,” Stein said. “For instance, non-marital sexual expression, BDSM, polyamory and asexual cultures were all empowered because of the Summer of Love and the larger sexual revolution.” .... '
----  see more of Part Two's reflections on the future social importance of "The Summer of Love", centered on San Francisco from 1967 onward, at SFSU at :-

Monday, May 22, 2017


How I  taught a bottom to top
----  introductory pars from a colorful - if brutally honest - opinion-piece by Kevin Moroso at DailyXtra (Canada), 12 May 2017 :-

      'Anything is possible with patience and Viagra.
      I know bottoms. Since I mostly top, most of my lovers are bottoms. And as I’ve had more than my fair share in my bedroom — well not just the bedroom — I’ve come to figure out what makes them tick.
      There are roughly two types of bottoms, in my opinion:- those who prefer to bottom after trying it both ways, and those who haven’t been able to top successfully and think they’re not made for it.
      I became vers (versatile) because I felt I was missing out on sexual connections with far too many top guys. But there was another reason. If I’m going to have a genuine long-term sexual connection with someone, sticking to one role just isn’t adequate. ....'
----  see more of Kevin Moroso's provocative reminiscence at www.dailyextra.com/canada at :-

Sunday, May 21, 2017


THE OBSERVER view on gay rights and the progress achieved
----  the opening pars from an extended topical editorial at The Observer (UK), 21 May 2017 :-

      'It has been a long, slow road, but we can be proud of a more civilised life in Britain.
      Oscar Wilde was released from Reading jail [UK] on 19 May 1897, having completed two years of a brutal sentence for “acts of gross indecency”.
      One hundred and 20 years later, Irish and English homosexuals can flourish in a society that would be unrecognisable to the author of The Importance of Being Earnest. Fifty years on from the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts between adults, we celebrate this anniversary as a landmark in the progressive humanisation of British society.
      Ever since Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 20 of “the master-mistress of my passion”, our culture has grappled with unresolved, and sometimes troubling, issues of gender and sexuality. .... '
----  see more of The Observer's pertinent reflections upon the evolution of gay rights in the UK at www.theguardian.com, with thanks, at :-

Saturday, May 20, 2017


James Ivory and the Making of a Historic Gay Love Story ("Maurice")
----  the introductory pars from an extended essay by Sarah Larson about a supremely influential gay film-maker & his partner in the New Yorker magazine (USA), 19 May 2017 :-

      'For many gay men coming of age in the eighties and nineties, James Ivory's "Maurice" was revelatory: a first glimpse, onscreen or anywhere, of what love between men could be like.'

      In an interview for the 2004 Criterion Collection DVD of the first film by Merchant Ivory Productions, “The Householder” (1963), James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, gray-haired and wearing similar oxford shirts, sit together in a muralled room in their 1805 Federal-style house in Claverack, New York, and companionably bicker about how they met. It was in 1961, at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, at a screening of Ivory’s short documentary about Indian miniature paintings, “The Sword and the Flute.” Ivory says that they met on the steps. “He accosted me,” he says. Merchant invited Ivory for coffee.
      “You were in the screening room,” Merchant says.
      “No!” Ivory says. “You met me on the steps. I remember very well.” They debate; Ivory smiles.       “You looked around—”
      “No, I didn’t look around!” Merchant says. “My eyes always focus on the right things.” ....'
----  see more of this revealing view of the hugely creative relationship, both personal and artistic, of two influential gay film producers or directors, as outlined by Sarah Lawson at www.newyorker.com at :- 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


US Support For Gay Marriage Edges To New High
----  the opening phrases from a news report by Justin McCarthy at GALLOP.com (USA), 15 May 2017 :-

      64% of Americans say same-sex marriage should be legal
      For the first time, majority of Protestants support gay marriage
      Support for same-sex relations has also climbed, now at 72%

      'WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup's trend began in 1996.
      The latest update, from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll conducted May 3-7, comes nearly two years after the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit same-sex marriage.  ....
----  see more of Justin McCarthy's report', plus additional information, at :-
----  see too a further press report in this matter at :-

Friday, May 12, 2017

BRITISH MUSEUM / Same-sex desire and gender identity through history ...

Same-sex Desire and Gender Identity
---- The British Museum, London, announces a season of display of historical objects & their social implications

      'The evidence for same-sex desire and fluid ideas of gender has often been overlooked in the past, but museums and their collections can allow us to look back and see diversity throughout history.
      Much of the historical evidence is centred around men and their concerns and often what survives is partial, fragmentary or ambiguous. Such things have often been hidden in history, and obscured by censorship, but now we realise the past is much ‘queerer’ than we have often thought.
      This theme is based on an original web trail published on the Untold London website. Only some of these objects are on display. Some images contain explicit scenes, though these are shown small (click to see larger versions). ....'
----  see more of The British Museum's announcement, linked information, & display materials at :-

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Modern Classic Returns To The London Stage / "ANGELS IN AMERICA"

The Dark Trump Truths in 'Angels In America'
----  selected introductory pars from a substantial theatre review by Benedict Nightingale at The Daily Beast (UK/USA), 6th May 2017 :-

      '‘Angels in America", Tony Kushner’s AIDS-themed epic, is on stage again in London where it first played in 1993. It feels more relevant than ever.
      There are many reasons for welcoming the return of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America to the National Theatre in London, where the epic play’s two parts were played together for the first time in 1993, but one stood out at its opening on Thursday.
      The British producers had imported Broadway’s Nathan Lane to play the homophobic and gay Roy Cohn, and he brought subtlety as well as mesmeric power to a non-fictional personage described by another gay character as “the worst human being who ever lived.”
      Marianne Elliott’s production made for a long day’s journey that lasted well into night. Millennium Approaches started at 1 p.m. and Perestroika ended after 11, with time to gulp supper beside the Thames in between. But if ever a show earned its length, or Kushner his garrulity and occasional repetitiveness, here it was. ....
....  With the HIV and AIDS pandemic finally under control, at least in America, Kushner’s saga might seem dated. Well, it isn’t. So-called period pieces have a way of falling asleep, then coming strikingly awake again. Angels in America, though set in an era that clearly had Kushner sickened by Reaganism and fearful of the impending millennium, often leaves you feeling that the characters are talking more about 2017 than 1985 or that relatively inoffensive year, 2000. .... '
----  see more of Benedict Nightingale's perceptions of Angels In America & its societal parallels at :- 
Angels in America is at the Lyttelton, National Theatre, London, through Aug. 19th.
----  see the National Theatre's (UK) booking site at :-

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Introducing a surprising, unexpected study ...

Younger (US) Gay Men Trending Towards Monogamy
----  the opening pars from a substantial psychotherapy report by Tom Moon, US psychotherapist, reprinted from the San Francisco Bay Times (USA), on 7th May 2017 :-

      'Blake Spears and Lanz Lowen have been together in an open relationship for over 40 years, and in past columns I’ve reported on their in-depth research on the viability of long-term open relationships. In the past, they write, most research on gay male couples has shown that approximately two-thirds of long-term male couples who have been together for five years or more are non-monogamous. But they have just released a new study of younger gay men, aged 18–40, called “Choices: Perspectives of Younger Gay Men on Monogamy, Non-monogamy and Marriage,” which suggests that an historic change has been occurring in the attitudes and behavior of gay men in relationships.
      “The most striking finding of this study,” they report, “is younger gay men’s greater inclination toward monogamy. We see this in the overwhelming number of relationships that are monogamous (86%). In addition, 90% of the single younger gay men were seeking monogamy. This is a sea change compared to older generations of gay men.”
      Even in a cohort of interview subjects recruited from the hook-up site Grindr, a whopping 81% of the 325 single men reported that they were seeking monogamy ....'
----  see more of Tom Moon's extended article at the SF Bay Times at :-

Tom Moon is a psychotherapist in San Francisco. For more information, please visit his website http://tommoon.net/


People Who Read Books Are Nicer, Says Study
----  the introductory phrases from a Lifestyle report by Sarah Young at The Independent (UK), 6th May 2017 :-

      'Prefer watching TV? Then you're probably less friendly.Want to become a better person? Then you might want to consider picking up a book because according to a new study, reading regularly could make you kinder and more empathetic.
      After being quizzed on their preferences for books, TV and plays, 123 participants were tested on interpersonal skills including how much they considered other people’s feelings and whether they acted to help others.
      The study, conducted by Kingston University in London, found that readers were more likely to act in a socially acceptable manner compared to those who preferred watching television.
      Instead, TV lovers came across as less friendly and less understanding of others’ views.
But, no ordinary book will do because it turns out the type of literature you choose also has a huge impact on your emotional intelligence.  .... '
----  see more of Sarah Young's challenging report at www.independent.co.uk at :-
----  see more on a similar theme at :-

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Hillary Clinton will reportedly spend millions as part of the 'resistance' to Trump
----  the opening phrases from a substantial news report by Erin Rook at LGBTQ Nation (USA), 5th May 2017 :-
      'Hillary Clinton doesn’t give up. Just six months after her unexpected loss to Donald Trump in the presidential [campaign], the former Secretary of State is poised to return to the fray.
      No, she’s not running for office. This time, she’s using her team’s fundraising skills for a broader purpose — funding Trump’s opposition.
      In the fallout of the November elections, some Democratic donors are reportedly uncertain about how best to use their funds. Clinton’s new organization is expected to help funnel those monies into organizations working to resist the Trump administration’s agenda, sources told Politico.
      Clinton has not yet officially announced the group, and her spokesperson declined to comment to Politico, but the organization is expected to launch as soon as next week and will likely be called “Onward Together,” in a nod to her campaign slogan .... '
----  see more of Erin Rook's timely post at LGBTQ Nation at :-

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Gays & Fascism in France ...

The Controversial Gay Author Who Writes Gays Coming of Age Amidst Fascism
----  the initial two pars of a literary post by reviewer Mitchell Sunderland at Broadly.vice.com (UK), 2nd May 2017 :-

      'Édouard Louis's debut novel caused a sensation in his native France for its depiction of what it’s like to be a gay boy in an impoverished, Marine Le Pen-loving village. And now, five days before the French election, an English translation is hitting the States.
     The 24-year-old gay French writer Édouard Louis describes most French literary novelists as "people from the bourgeoisie that write about the bourgeoisie and don't really question the world." Louis is not that kind of artist.
      His debut autobiographical novel The End of Eddy, published in France in 2014, depicts his childhood as a gay boy growing up in an impoverished, Fascist-ridden small town of Hallencourt. (The book calls it "the village," echoing both European fairy tales and William Faulkner's southern gothic literature.) In a prescient, serendipitous manner, an English translation is now hitting the states five days before a French election that could end with former National Front leader Marine Le Pen winning the presidency. ....
....  "People are tired of a certain kind of literature addressing the same kind of subject with the same kind of privileged people," Louis explains.
----  see more of Mitchell Sunderland's review of Edouard Louis' new book at :-

Saturday, April 29, 2017

GAY PUBLISHING : The facts ...

Gay readers are for life, not just anniversaries
----  opening pars from an opinion-piece by Matt Cain at The Bookseller (London, UK), 27 April 2017 :-
      I’m gay. There are few contexts in which I still feel uneasy sharing this information; writing for The Bookseller is one of them. Because for years I’ve been dismayed by the homophobia I’ve experienced in the publishing industry. Before you protest that you’re not homophobic, remember that the word ‘phobia’ means ‘fear’, not ‘hatred’. It’s this fear I’m hoping to combat.
      When I’ve pitched gay-themed fiction to mainstream publishers, I’ve been told either that the idea isn’t commercial enough or that there’s no market for it, responses many other gay writers have told me they’ve also experienced. I have no problem with any of us being rejected because our work isn’t good enough, but I do object when we’re told that a market for our work doesn’t exist. Because, as editor-in-chief of Attitude, I know better.
      Not only does the print edition of Attitude sell 50,000 copies a month, but our website is read by two million unique monthly users and our social media feeds boast followings in the hundreds of thousands, the biggest being Facebook (825,000). Look outside the UK and gay market is huge; according to the most recent estimates, there are 400 million LGBT+ people globally. If you’re pessimistic and assume that 90% don’t read fiction, that still leaves 40 million. But other than some YA fiction and a few heavyweight literary titles, they aren’t being offered novels that reflect or explore their experience.
      Every day I’m bombarded with requests from publicists trying to secure coverage for their new album, film, play or TV show. Yet Attitude struggles to fill its books page, let alone print regular interviews with gay writers. There just aren’t enough of them— at least not with publishing deals. ....'
----  see more of Matt Cain's (supremely honest) critique of facets of the publishing industry at www.thebookseller.com at :-

Thursday, April 27, 2017

VERSAILLES grows more complex for Louis XIV ...

TV Review: VERSAILLES (Season 2, Episode 1)
---- a segment from an extended review of Ep 1 of the second 8-part series, English-language, of this lush historical Anglo-French costume drama, as reviewed by Rebecca Barnes (University of Southampton) at The National Student (UK), 24 April 2017 :-

      'Versailles returns to our screens and is as opulent and delicious as ever, indulging in all things scandalous and promising audiences scenes of sex and murder on every corner. 
      The first episode is fast paced throughout, teasing viewers with tantalising treats including gruesome deaths and sexual debauchery without a moment's rest, lest we all awaken from the dream that is Versailles.  ....
....   By now, audiences are aware that beneath the entrancing beauty of Versailles, true ugliness awaits and this certainly looks to be a prominent theme in the second season of the show. From the very start, Louis XVI (George Blagden) begins his battle against poison, determined to eradicate it from his court even as it becomes more popular among his courtiers. At the same time, he must fight the ever growing influence of William of Orange (George Webster) as spies in his court continue to serve the enemy and plot his demise. 
    Louis’ (gay or bisexual) brother Philippe (Alexander Vlahos) is as charming as ever, entrancing the audience with his wit and beauty, though there is undeniably a more sombre tone to the character following the death of his wife and banishment of his lover.       Nevertheless, he remains a large contributor to the wicked humour of the show, and offers audiences an escape from the dark deeds occurring at Versailles. Choosing to remain away from Versailles and his brother, with whom his relationship remains complicated, Philippe embraces pleasure and plenitude with a delightful group of handsome and dim-witted young men. 
    Alexander Vlahos once more offers an impressive performance as Philippe, adding a delicious complexity to the show. The most notable element of Vlahos’ performance is the forceful impression his character makes in this episode, despite only appearing in a few scenes. ... '
----  see more of Rebecca Barnes' review at www.thenationalstudent.com at :- 
Versailles currently airs in the UK on Fridays at 9.30pm on BBC Two, & will be screening elsewhere over the coming months..

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thirty years of gay style ...

30 years of gay style: from disco chic to hipster bears
- the opening phrases from a fashion-industry reflection by Paul Flynn at The Guardian (UK), 26 April 2017 :-

      'It used to be a tribal signal but as gay style has moved into the mainstream, the look has become harder to pin down. It’s forcing creatives to really push the boundaries if they want to make a statement.
      When he was studying at Central Saint Martins, London, in the late 00s, Craig Green wrote his dissertation on the adoption of gay style subcultures by straight men. In the preceding decades, perfumed dandies, dilly boys, mods, skins, clones, new romantics, scallies, fierce vogueing divas and muscle Marys had all been sieved out of their natural habitat on to the high street for brief moments of mass consumption. But by the time Green – currently reigning menswear designer of the year at the British fashion awards – was weighing up his thesis, things had changed. The bears – hirsute, gay men – crowded on the dancefloor of London’s XXL nightclub were barely distinguishable from bearded Bon Iver fans.
      A reciprocal shared wardrobe, common across menswear emerged. .... '
----  see Paul Flynn's extended article at www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017 at :-

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Beeb unveils a GAY BRITANNIA tv season ...

BBC-TV (UK) unveils Gay Britannia season in television & radio
----  a news item posted by Meagan Kashty at RealScreen (UK), 24 April 2017 :-

      'The BBC has announced a season of programming to mark the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalized homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21.
      Led by programming on BBC2 and BBC4, with other content across BBC radio and online, the Gay Britannia season will feature stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community, while challenging existing preconceptions and prejudices. .... '
----  see more of Meagan Kashty's post at RealScreen (UK) at :-
----  see too a news post on this forthcoming UK tv-&-radio season across tv & radio networks at Gay Times (UK), 24 April 2017 at :-
----  see too a further related post at News&StarUK at :-

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hilary Clinton assails Donald Trump ...

Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump: 'Gay Rights are Human Rights'
----  some opening lines from a news report by David Grant at The Good Men Project (USA), 22 April 2017 :-

      'Even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your head, please keep going.” -- Hillary Clinton.
      During a fundraising dinner for New York’s The Centre, she said, “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”
      It’s a phrase she’s used several times following Trump’s election, and one she first used while standing in the UN’s Palais des Nations in Geneva in 2011 as Secretary of State.
      “I know that the election hit a lot of us hard,” she said while receiving The Centre’s Trailblazer Award.
      “Even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your head, please keep going.”
She said it’s especially important right now since “we’re seeing clouds gathering on the horizon” for the LGBTQ community. ....
....  Then she suggested that “the progress that we fought for…that we celebrated and maybe even (took) for granted may not be as secure as we once expected.”
Clinton claimed that “when this administration rescinded protections for transgender students, my heart broke.” .... '
----  see more of Hilary Clinton's thoughts recorded at David Grant's post at :-

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scots Church shifts from discrimination ...

Kirk [Church] in landmark apology over 'long history' of gay discrimination
----  the opening phrases from a news report posted by Brian Donnelly at The Herald (Scotland), 20th April 2017 :-

      'GAY people will receive a formal apology from The Church of Scotland following its long "history of discrimination" under plans that signal another seismic softening of Kirk policy towards homosexuals.
      In a landmark report, the influential Theological Forum will ask members of next month's General Assembly to atone for long-standing institutional prejudices against LGBT people by calling for an apology both "individually and corporately" on behalf of the church.
      Another watershed proposal further paves the way towards greater acceptance of same-sex marriage by affirming that nominated ministers and deacons could be granted authority to preside over gay weddings provided there are protections for the "conscientious refusal" of clergy who do not wish to officiate such ceremonies. ....
....  The Kirk has been debating same-sex relationships for decades but the appointment of the first openly gay minister Rev Scott Rennie in 2009 and last year's decision by the General Assembly to allow ministers to be in same-sex marriages has fueled vigorous debate..... '
----  see more of Brian Donnelly's report at www.heraldscotland.com/news at Net address :-

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Trump & the US gay community ...

Trump's Presidency Is Very Bad For LGBT People
----  opening phrases from an opinion-piece by Victoria A. Brownworth at CURVE: the best-selling Lesbian magazine (USA) 18th April, 2017 :-

      'New York Times calls out Trump in a new editorial.  The New York Times delivered a rebuking editorial to the Trump Administration: "The LGBT Trump Fallacy". The editorial was predicated upon what the majority of LGBT people knew during the 2016 election: that Donald Trump, presidential candidate, was being dishonest when he claimed he would be "better than Hillary Clinton" for LGBT people.
      Clinton had decades of supporting the LGBT community on her resume. She is the only First Lady to ever walk in a Pride parade, which she did in 2000.
      She also walked in the 2016 Pride parade–which Trump did not. In 2011, then-Secretary of State Clinton became the highest-placed government official in the world to declare that "gay rights are human rights" in a long speech delivered in Geneva on human rights abuses against LGBT people worldwide.
      From Trump there were only presumptions that somehow, because he was a native New Yorker (Clinton was a two-time senator from New York and has lived there since 2000), he would be more open to LGBT issues than previous Republican candidates. But the 2016 GOP platform was one of the most oppressively anti-LGBT ever, and despite Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort working to change the platform’s language on Russia and the Ukraine, no such last-minute efforts were made to make the anti-LGBT language less Draconian. .... '
----  see more of Victoria A. Brownworth's opinion piece at www.curvemag.com plus videos at :-

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: John Rechy's "After the Blue Hour" ...

Sex, Power, and Literary Desire in John Rechy's "After the Blue Hour"
----  two selected pars from a substantial book review by Eric Newman at the Los Angeles Review Of Books (USA), 17 April 2017 :-

    JOHN RECHY’S new novel, the slow-burning thriller After the Blue Hour, pulls the reader through a series of tense scenes reminiscent of the foreboding, early frames of Jordan Peele’s horror-as-social-commentary hit Get Out. A wealthy, white admirer invites John Rechy, a young, gay Mexican-American writer, to join him on a private island, where the man lives with his girlfriend, Sonya, and his teenaged son, Constantine.
    Amid an atmosphere of imminent, violent erotic tension drenched in Cuba Libres and oppressive heat, the trio of islanders pepper their visitor with questions about his race, his sexual exploits, his philosophy, and his writing. ....
....  In returning to the moment before he wrote City of Night, Rechy gives us a fictional account of its composition at a time of crisis and confusion — one no less true for avoiding strictly factual autobiography, as his narrator tells us. The younger Rechy wants to write about the “clowning demonic angels” that constellated his life as a hustler across Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans.
    The older Rechy, spirit and voice of After the Blue Hour, worries over how that writing will be understood, what it will inspire, and what worlds it will put forth. ....
----  see more of Eric Newman's extended critique of John Rechy's latest work at the LA Review of Books at :-
"After the Blue Hour" By John Rechy
Grove Press USA; 224 Pages.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrating the influence of the gay US Sunday Tea Dance ...

The Very Gay and Interesting History of the Almost Lost Tradition of the Sunday Tea Dance
----  four selected brief pars from a fascinating extended & well-portrayed post by Will Kohler at Back2Stonewell.com (USA), 16 April 2017 :-

      Many gay men under the age of 30 today are totally clueless of almost lost tradition of the Sunday Tea Dance. (A tradition that really must be brought back.) So here’s a little history primer on the tradition of the “Sunday T-dance” and how and why we embraced it in the LGBT culture.
      Historically, tea was served in the afternoon, either with snacks (“low tea”) or with a full meal (“high tea” or “meat tea”). High Tea eventually moved earlier in the day, sometimes replacing the midday “luncheon” and settled around 11 o’clock, becoming the forerunner of what we know as “brunch”.
      From the late 1800’s to well into the pre-WWI era in both America and England, late afternoon (low) tea service became the highlight of society life. As dance crazes swept both countries, tea dances became increasingly popular as places where single women and their gentlemen friends could meet — the singles scene of the age.'....
....  Gay people, of course, were still largely underground in the 50s, but it was in these discreet speakeasies that social (nonpartnered) dancing was evolving. It was illegal for men to dance with men, or for women to dance with women. In the event of a raid, gay men and lesbian women would quickly change partners to mixed-couples. Eventually, this led to everyone sort of dancing on their own. ... '
----  see more of Will Kohler's history of the (gay) tea-dance and the evolution of gay dance styles across US disco-floors through the last half of the 20th Century at :-

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Focusing on your sex life ...

Make time to focus on your sex life
---- two selected introductory pars from an essay by Pooja Bedi at Heartchakra (India), republished in The Times of India, 16 April 2017 :-

      'Sex!!! It seems humans can never get enough of it. The purpose of sex is procreation, but for the human race the recreational aspect is what drives them. It drives them to exhilaration and to despair.       The lure and fantasy of regular sex is the reason so many choose to marry, the pursuit of better sex is why so many choose to be adulterous, and the lack of satisfying sex, a major reason so many choose to exit their relationship and marriages. ....
....  When you shut your eyes, and listen to a romantic song, you inevitably think of touching, holding, kissing and crave physically intimate moments. So the astounding part is, that people get into a relationship for intimacy, but once in a relationship, it is the one aspect that gets least focused on as the journey of creating lives, jobs, families etc takes over. .... '
----  see more of Pooja Bedi's essay at The Times of India at :-

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

READ A BOOK / The impact of the written word ...

Read a book, and save a culture
----  it may possess nil 'gay' content, yet this is a selected par from a substantial essay written to remind us of the value of the printed word in an increasingly electronically-visual age, posted by Fiona Clair at (the ever-interesting) The University News (USA), 10 April 2017 :-

    ' ....  I am now a bonafide reading fanatic. I still find my niche in the sappiest of YA romance novels, but I have learned through the years that it does not really matter what you read. All that matters is that you read something. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest gadgets and technologies of today and let reading fall to the bottom of the “things to do when bored” list. Yet reading is such a personal and emotional activity that has survived throughout history. It is how our ancestors learned and how their ancestors learned before them. It links us with the past; it predicts the future; it brings us to different worlds; it makes people immortal. .... '
----  see more of Fiona Clair's personal literary journey at www.unewsonline.com at :-

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

GAY RIGHTS / A long way to go ...

The battle for gay rights still has a long way to go : Kevin Curley
----  the introductory par to a post by Kevin Curley at Third Sector (UK), 10 April 2017 :-

      'It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales. The extent to which our society has changed since then is illustrated by the fact that the Westminster parliament, with 35 out gay MPs, is the most diverse of any in the world in terms of sexual orientation. But many challenges remain for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others community. ....
----  see more of Kevin Curley's interesting observations at www.thirdsector.uk at :-
(Kevin Curley is a voluntary sector adviser in the UK)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

POMPEII's "Two Maidens" now "gay lovers" ...

'Two maidens' of Pompeii have male DNA, now perceived as 'gay lovers' ....
----  the opening pars from a substantial archaeological news report by Alex Bollinger posted at LGBTQ Nation (USA), 9 April 2017 :-

      'Pompeii (Italy) was a Roman city destroyed and buried in A.D. 79 by a volcanic eruption. The instant death and burial in ash and pumice preserved the village and made it the source of an extraordinary amount of information about what Ancient Rome was like.
      Two bodies that were holding each other, with one person’s head resting on the other’s chest, were previous thought to be two young women and were even labeled “The Two Maidens.” Testing this week showed that they both had male DNA and that they weren’t immediately, biologically related. CAT scans revealed that they were probably 18- and 20-years-old.
      One of the researchers posited the possibility that these people were gay lovers, and that was the eye-catching possibility that made it into multiple headlines about the story. .... '
----  see more about "the two maidens" as described by Alex Bollinger at LGBTQ Nation at :-


.... here are a dozen movie trailers from recent international sources (click on center-frame arrows, below, to activate). They are updated regularly ... with thanks to
YouTube & the movies' international distributors ...

A classic movie returns in 2017 ... on dvd



ASIAN GAY ROMANCE fights stigma in Hollywood ...

"THE PASS" ... its movie trailer

"BEING 17" / Young love finds a way ...

Twenty-two year old David has it all – he’s young, hot, and he’s just got into the prestigious dance school of his dreams. But he has a secret: for two years he’s been sleeping with his sister’s husband, Jules.

SOFT LAD is the directorial debut from Leon Lopez, an examination of lust, jealousy and their consequences in contemporary Liverpool. Starring UK artists Daniel Brocklebank (Coronation Street) and Jonny Labey (EastEnders).

Passions ignite and hidden secrets are revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles reconnects with an ex-boyfriend he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. LAZY EYE is a story about roads not taken, unfinished business, and the struggle to adjust to progressive lenses. Written and directed by Tim Kirkman (LOGGERHEADS, DEAR JESSE, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME), LAZY EYE stars Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Aaron Costa Ganis and Michaela Watkins.


"LILTING' - British actor Ben Wishaw tests his range again ...


"What is like to live in a world where you have no grasp of its language, and your only lifeline to that is lost." In "LILTING" Ben Wishaw, wide ranging UK character actor from Shakespeare to James Bond movies, tests his range even further.

"Best gay-themed movie ever!" ... ?

STONEWALL | The birth of a Movement ...

FREEHELD - A subtle gay rights challenge ...

VENICE FESTIVAL ENTRY: "From Afar" (Venezuela 2015)

Peter Greenaway's EISENSTEIN, Stalin's eccentric filmmaker ...


BISEXUAL WOMEN | How to be oneself? ...



GAY LIFE in Switzerland in the '50's ...



A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.

Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.

The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.

But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.

(See more at :-http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-hadrian-enigma-a-forbidden-history/

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...

An excerpt from a review of August 15, 2011

" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.

In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "

See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/


Hooray for Hadrian (and for George Gardiner) !, August 31, 2010

By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews

This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)

George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).

Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.

This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.

Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).

The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.

In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)

Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.

In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.

Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.

In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.

So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.

I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.

See this review in situ at Amazon at :-



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Immediately below this bye-bye lies the complete bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its era, its historical personalities, & its cultural forms.