Welcome to COOL GAY STUFF ! It's a pin-board round-up of Net snippets which offers brief 'samples' of the Net's latest gay-friendly media & its increasingly-diverse influence. It also provides details of how to purchase the highly-readable 500-page paperback and/or Kindle e-book copy from Amazon USA or UK of your host - author George Gardiner's - highly-regarded sensual novel of Ancient Rome titled THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History.

Cool Gay Stuff prioritizes readers, reading, and the written word. It's a foretaste of today's literary culture via brief excerpts from press articles, literary crits, movie crits, & online text news, while also pointing to much life-&-opinion of particularly gay appeal. These excerpts link to their original press sources for your deeper exploration. They're selected by your host, George Gardiner, author of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA".

As a recently-published historical novel, THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is a highly-praised, erotically-charged, 'good read' Roman Era crime-thriller and sensual romance. It's an entertainment building on the real-life historical relationship of ancient Rome's dynamic emperor Hadrian Caesar with a youthful beau, Antinous of Bithynia, whose over 120 surviving ancient sculptures attest to his muscular good looks & personable appeal. However, during an official imperial tour with Hadrian of Rome's Mediterranean provinces in 130CE, Antinous drowned in suspect circumstances at Egypt's River Nile. This tragedy triggered an Imperial whodunit investigation whose (fictional) details have encouraged many readers of the paperback or its Kindle e-book copy to endow this novel a very favorable topmost 5-Star rating by more than half of its 25 Amazon online reviewers (56%, to be precise). The tale also adds a further 24% of Amazon reviewers who have awarded the novel 4-Stars. Combined together, these figures total an Amazon purchasers' appreciation score of 4.1 points out of a possible total of 5.

Cool Gay Stuff also cites reader's praises of the novel to help you assess the book's appeal to you. And it provides direct links to Amazon-USA's or Amazon-UK's sites to readily purchase your copy of the paperback (adding a modest mail delivery fee). Alternatively, you may prefer to immediately download to your computer a thrifty Kindle e-book version of the same text? If so, click on the choice offered below. Please note :- The paperback edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is not available at urban book-stores ... its sole purchase option is online via Amazon-USA or Amazon-UK (check several direct links offered below). A paperback hard-copy will be mailed to your requested address subsequent to online card payment.

Then follows this month's daily-updated Cool Gay Stuff sampler of notable GLBTQ articles, essays, news, videos, movie trailers & reviews, plus direct links to their original Net addresses. Please note :- this site avoids NSFW items or 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 resources. So, welcome everyone wherever you are, & ENJOY!

We begin with two new mainstream video trailers selected for their likely wide appeal (including especially gay community appeal) ...


BLADE RUNNER 2049 delivers its new, fulsome, (& seriously enigmatic), trailer ...

.... And now for something special :- the newest updated trailer for BLADE RUNNER 2049 to mystify and enchant you. The first full-length trailer for BLADE RUNNER 2049, a sequel to 1982's cult-hit original BLADE RUNNER, has finally arrived! Check it out for yourself here (above) or at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCcx8...

Updating the original surreal, mystifying BLADE RUNNER directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, et al & more) BLADE RUNNER 2049 stars Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, and is likely to be in a cinema near you in December ...

The 2'20" trailer here tells it all, in a very tidy, compact (but mystifying) way.

Looks like an atmospheric winner ...

(Video trailers courtesy of YouTube, with many 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 .....


Friday, July 21, 2017


Shakespeare may have been gay says artistic director of RSC
----  selected lines from a substantial news report collated by reporters at The Telegraph (UK), 21 July 2017 :-

      'William Shakespeare may have been gay, the artistic director the Royal Shakespeare Company has suggested, and directors can no longer hide the sexuality of his homosexual characters.

      Greg Doran on Friday dipped into the long-running debate on the Bard’s sexuality, saying he believed it had given Shakespeare an outsider’s insight which had helped his work.
      Mr Doran, who took over artistic control of the RSC in 2012, said it was “no longer acceptable” that performances should conceal the sexuality of Shakespeare’s gay characters. ....
....  Mr Doran told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I guess a growing understanding of Shakespeare as I have worked with him over the many years that I have, makes me realise that his perspective is very possibly that of an outsider.
      “It allows him to get inside the soul of a black general, a Venetian jew, an Egyptian queen or whatever and that perhaps that outsider perspective has something to do with his sexuality.”
      The key clues to understanding Shakespeare’s sexuality were in his sonnets, Mr Doran said. ....'
----  see more of Greg Doran's views at www.telegraph.co.uk at its online address at :-


How Merchant and Ivory's 'MAURICE'paved the way for gay romance
----  the initial pars from a substantial movie historical report written by Pam Grady at the San Francisco Chronicle (USA), 19 July 2017 :-

      'Director James Ivory and his life partner and producer, Ismail Merchant, were riding high after the 1987 release of their adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel “A Room with a View.” The film resonated with critics and audiences alike and garnered eight Academy Award nominations, winning three.
      With such heady success, Ivory and Merchant could attract backers to make whatever they wanted for their next film. Ivory set his sights on another Forster novel, “Maurice,” a gay love story.
      “It was a movie we all felt strongly about, because nobody really wanted us to make it,” Ivory, now 89, recalled in a 2012 Toronto Star interview. (Merchant died in 2005 at age 68.)
      Nevertheless, the partners persevered. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “Maurice,” which is returning to theaters in a new 4K digital restoration. The film premiered at the 1987 Venice Film Festival, where it won three awards, including the Silver Lion and an acting prize for [UK] co-stars James Wilby and Hugh Grant (it was only his second film). .... '
----  see more of Pam Grady's extended essay on the impact and effect of  'MAURICE' in the development of gay themes in contemporary cinema at :- 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


National security figures launch project to counter Russian mischief
----  two selected pars from an extended news report published in the San Francisco Chronicle from Josh Rogin's post at The Washington Post (USA), 11 July 2017 :-

      'Amid all the controversy over Russian hacking, interference and propaganda efforts in the United States and Europe, there's a growing concern among national security leaders that not enough is being done to stop the efforts. That's why a large group of senior figures from both parties is launching a new effort to track and ultimately counter Russian political meddling, cyber-mischief and fake news.
      The roster of figures who have signed onto the new project, called the Alliance for Securing Democracy, is a who's who of former senior national security officials from both parties. ....
....  The idea is to create a platform and repository of information about Russian political influence activities in the United States and Europe that can be the basis for cooperation and a resource for analysts on both sides of the Atlantic to push back against Russian meddling.
      The project aims to be able to eventually map out Russian disinformation on social networks, cyber-efforts, financial flows, broader state-level cooperation and even Russian government support for far-left or far-right parties in other countries. .... '
----  see more of Josh Rogin'g three-page report showing further details and personnel at www.sfchronicle.com/opinion site at :- 

Sunday, July 9, 2017


10 Myths About Lesbians You Need To Stop Believing Now
----  a (very delayed since April) opening excerpt from a delightful essay on lesbian social behavior by Rebekah Allen at Teen Vogue (USA), April 2017 :-

      'No, we don't all love The L Word. Forget everything you think you know about Lesbians. Well, not everything. Some truth remain undeniably unavoidable (say, for example, that whole 'being attracted to women' thing) but for reasons our identity also comes with a bunch of misconceptions and stereotypes that range from casually cute to potentially dangerous.
      Of course, some stereotypes exist for a reason. Personally, do I own at least 10 beautiful flannel shirts? Yes, proudly.
      I also own around 30 pairs of Converse and I literally have a rainbow tattooed on my body.
      However, I am fully aware that the next girl I swipe right for on Tinder might hate rainbows and think flannel is downright atrocious. Is nothing sacred any more? Who can we trust?! Just kidding ...'

----  see more of Rebekah Allen's delightfully witty ruminations on the ten myths of being a lesbian at www.teenvogue.com last April at :-

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Thousands march in London for Gay Pride milestone
----  the opening lines from a news post at ChannelNewsAsia (Singapore), 9 July 2017 :-

      'LONDON: Tens of thousands of people descended on London's streets on Saturday (Jul 8) for the annual gay Pride march, marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.
      Armed police and strict security measures were in place to protect revellers following a recent spate of terror attacks, with around 25,000 participants parading down Regent Street, many wearing flamboyant costumes, waving rainbow flags and holding colourful balloons.
      Hundreds of thousands more were expected to party thorough the night around the Soho district.
      "This is the biggest Pride in London's history and in Pride's history, there are more than 1.5 million people here today, and it's really important that Londoners are free to be who they want to be, free to love who they want to love," London mayor Sadiq Khan told AFP as he joined marchers.
      "We've had a horrific few weeks with the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and three terrorist attacks, and what today's about is love," he added.  .... '
----  see more about current Gay Pride celebrations in London at :- 
----  see too a substantial report on the London Pride celebrations by Sadiq Khan at NEWS24 (USA), 10 July 2017 at :-

Thursday, July 6, 2017

THE PRIDE FLAG / Its history ...

What is the history of the Pride flag and the meaning behind it?
----  a report by Imogen Groome at METRO.com.uk, 5th July 2017 :-

      'Every year, Pride month is celebrated across the world, and the flag that has come to be associated with the LGBTQ community becomes more prominent.
      But what is the history of the Pride flag, and what does it mean?
      The story begins with Gilbert Baker, an openly gay activist born in 1951 who taught himself to sew after receiving an honourable discharge from the US army.
      In 1974, he met Harvey Milk, an influential gay leader. Three years later, Milk challenged Baker to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community.
      On June 25 1978, the original gay pride flag flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.
It’s been suggested that Baker may have been inspired by Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow, and the Stonewall riots that happened a few days after her death. ....

----  Read more of Imogen Groome's interesting historical essay at :- :

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Five British LGBT Writers & Pride ....

PRIDE 2017: five British LGBT writers on books that inspired them
----  the opening lines from a substantial post by Sian Norris at OpenDemocracy (London), 3 July 2017 :-

      '50 years after the UK decriminalised homosexuality, authors and activists talk about literary representations of gay relationships – and more.
      2017 marks 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK – so this year we’re celebrating Pride with even more oomph than usual. There’s an exhibition on gay life and law at the British Library, a series of BBC plays, and a collection of documentaries on Channel 4 marking the anniversary – as well as the annual Pride parade in London this weekend, now in its 45th year.
      I grew up in a gay family – my mum came out in 1989 when I was four. We lived under state-sanctioned homophobia. Homosexuality had been legalised more than two decades earlier (lesbianism was never criminalised), but an LGBT person still couldn’t serve in the military, lesbian and gay couples couldn’t adopt children, and equal marriage seemed an impossible dream. Until 2001, the age of consent for gay sex was 18, while for heterosexual couples it was 16.  .... '
----  see more of Sian Norris's inspiring article at www.opendemocracy.net at :- 

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Majority Support Gay Marriage, Even Evangelicals
---- two selected pars from a substantial news report posted by Gary Nguyen at World Religion News (USA), 29 June 2017 :-

      'Support for gay rights in the USA is increasing, according to a new research study. More than 60 percent of Americans, including white evangelicals, support gay marriage. The research has also found that for the first time ever, people from the baby boomer generation have also indicated they support gay rights. The rise in support for gay rights is sudden, and in many ways, even surprising. ....
....  Overall, 62 percent of Americans support gay marriage today, as opposed to the meager 32 percent that opposes same-sex unions. The support for gay marriage has increased from 29 percent to 51 percent, and from 29 percent in 2016 to 47 percent this year.  ... '
----  see more of Gary Nguyen's post and its statistical conclusions at :-
----  and visit the blue-outlined links for further confirmation.

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Germany passes same-sex marriage law
----  selected opening lines from a news report published by press-agency AFP-JIJI, AP at The Japan Times (Japan), 30th June, 2017 :-

      'Germany legalized same-sex marriage on Friday, joining many other Western democracies in granting gay couples full rights, including adoption.
      The election-year bill was pushed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leftist rivals, who pounced on a U-turn she made Monday — a maneuver that left many of her conservative lawmakers fuming.
      The lower house, the Bundestag, approved the law hours before heading into summer recess.
      Gay groups cheered the push for marriage equality in Germany, where so-called civil unions were legalized in 2001.
      The law likely will take effect this year. ....
....  Merkel, who long opposed gay marriage with adoption rights, citing “the well-being of the children,” replied that her thinking had shifted since she met a lesbian couple who cared for eight foster children. .... '
----  see more of this news report from The Japan Times at :-

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Eight Books Featuring Bisexual Women ...

8 Books That Feature Bisexual Women (And Don't Focus On Their Sex Lives)
----  the opening lines from a set of extended reviews by Casey of eight books at Autostraddle.com (USA), 29 June 2017 :-

       'This month at Ask Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbrarian we’re going to tackle something I haven’t focused on yet: bisexual women. A while ago I was tweeting about making a big list of bisexual books, and Mischa replied: “I honestly would like any kind of list, they’re a little hard to find.” Mischa further specified that it seems easier to find bi characters in YA and they’re not into erotica so they would like books that are neither.
      This request gets at a few crucial issues for bi folks. There is a trend in media to have bisexual-behaving characters “reject labels” and refuse to talk about identity. Young adult literature focuses on adolescence, where identity formation is at the forefront, so it makes sense that YA is doing better than books for other ages at making bi characters explicit. But where are the grown-up bisexuals?
      The other issue is the association of bisexuals with promiscuity and hypersexuality. Obviously erotica and porn by, for, and about bisexual women is rad. But the stereotype of bi women as hypersexual means it can be hard to find portrayals of bisexual women outside of sexual situations. .... '
----  see more of Casey's informative reviews of eight titles at www.autostraddle.com (with thanks) at :-  https://www.autostraddle.com/bisexual-women-in-fiction-381595/ 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Human Rights Court rules Russia violates freedom of expression ...

European court rules in favor of Russian gay activists
----   the initial pars of a news report by Nataliya Vasilyeva at the Washington Post (USA), 20th June 2017 :"-

      'MOSCOW — The European Court for Human Rights on Tuesday ruled that Russia’s law banning dissemination of so-called gay propaganda to minors violates the right to freedom of expression.
      In the first major court battle for gay activists who have contested the law, the court found in favor of three gay activists who claimed the law violated the rights to freedom of expression and prohibition of discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicants were awarded some 50,000 euros ($55,000) in total.
      Over the course of several years, Nikolai Alexeyev, Nikolai Bayev and Alexei Kiselyov have staged pickets to promote gay rights and unsuccessfully applied for permission to hold gay pride parades in Russia.
      “By adopting such laws the authorities reinforce stigma and prejudice and encourage homophobia, which is incompatible with the notions of equality, pluralism and tolerance inherent in a democratic society,” the seven-judge panel said in the ruling, adding that “Russian authorities overstepped the margin of appreciation” of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights that guarantees freedom of expression.  .... '
----  see more of Nataliya Vasilyeva's post at www.washingtonpost.com/world at (with thanks) :-

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Germany quashes Nazi Era gay convictions ...

Germany to quash convictions of gay men under Nazi-era law
----  selected pars from an extended news post by the Foreign Staff of The Telegraph (UK), 23 June 2017 :-

      'The German parliament has voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war and offer compensation.
     After decades of lobbying, victims and activists hailed a triumph in the struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under Article 175 of the penal code.
An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive.  ....
....  Germany's Article 175 outlawed "sexual acts contrary to nature... be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals".
      Sex between women was not explicitly illegal.
      Although it dated from 1871, it was rarely enforced until the Nazis came to power, and in 1935 they toughened the law to carry a sentence of 10 years of forced labour. .... '

----  see more of The Telegraph's news post at :-
----  and read a similar report at the Indian Express (India) at :-

Friday, June 23, 2017

"JEWS QUEERS GERMANS" / Introducing "a novel history" ...

Gay history comes alive
----  the opening pars from a book review by Tim Pfaff at The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco), 22nd June 2017 :- 

      'In calling his compelling new book "Jews Queers Germans" (Seven Stories Press, USA) "a novel/history," Martin Duberman is not being ambiguous, but rather, purposeful. The CUNY emeritus professor of history has long established his scholarly creds, but in his new book, about matters close to his heart, he's expanding on what he knows – not forsaking history, adding imagination.
      As he himself notes, the rise of LGBTQ history as a recognized academic endeavor has made several of his principal subjects – Magnus Hirschfeld and Count Harry Hessler, in particular – celebrated figures in the modern campaign for gay rights beginning in mid-19th-century Germany, where queerness first acquired the name "homosexualitaet." But even in books that have considered that enterprise in toto, the tendency to tell the history through individual story-lines has predominated. Duberman achieves his synthesis – a word I can't imagine he'd mind – by letting their stories intertwine, weaving in with them the far less well-known figures of Prince Philipp von Eulenberg; Kaiser Wilhelm's close friend, the deeply closeted politician and intellectual Walther Rathenau; and Ernst Roehm, the leader of the brownshirt SA, who was as cautious about the categorization of his sexuality as he was profligate in its notoriously open expression. .... '
----  see more of Tim Pfaff's substantial appraisal of Martin Duberman's "Jews Queers Germans" (plus note its cover art in the right-hand site column) at The Bay Area Reporter Online at :- 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WHEN 'GAY POWER' BEGAN / A half-century of reminiscence since Stonewall ...

Claiming 'Gay Power' History for Ourselves 48 Years After Stonewall
----  a lively first-hand observation contributed as an historical post by journalist Josh-Manuel Andriote at Huffington Post (USA), 19th June 2017 :-

      'New York police thought it would be just another routine raid of a gay bar. But tonight, Friday night, June 27, 1969, was different. The young black and Latino kids and drag queens who frequented the Stonewall Inn were in no mood for it.
      “I was in the back of the bar near the dance floor, where the younger people usually hung out,” recalls Philadelphia Gay News founder and publisher Mark Segal in his memoir And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality. Segal was 18 years old at the time, newly arrived in Manhattan, and a Stonewall regular. As usual, he said, the cops “walked in like they owned the place, cocky, assured that they could do and say whatever they wanted and push people around with impunity. We had no idea why they came in, whether or not they’d been paid, wanted more payoffs, or simply wanted to harass the fags that night.”
      As the cops emptied the bar, a crowd gathered outside in Sheridan Square. Onlookers jeered and catcalled as a paddywagon hauled away the bartender, the bouncer, and three drag queens. After a lesbian put up a struggle as the officers steered her through the crowd to a patrol car, all hell broke loose.
      “Limp wrists were forgotten,” the Village Voice reported a few days later. “Beer cans and bottles were heaved at the windows and a rain of coins descended on the cops . . . Almost by signal the crowd erupted into cobblestone and bottle heaving . . . From nowhere came an uprooted parking meter—used as a battering ram on the Stonewall door. I heard several cries of ‘let’s get some gas,’ but the blaze of flame which soon appeared in the window of the Stonewall was still a shock.” Backups rescued the cops from the flames.  .... '
----  see more of this historical reminiscence by Josh-Manuel Andriote at www.huffingtonpost.com at :- 
----  see too a related report by Daniel Megarry applauding Google's funding gesture, as published in the UK's popular Gay Times site at :-

Monday, June 19, 2017

FUSE Magazine confirms a gay hero ...

Future LGBTQ History: The Light & Love in Gus Kenworthy's Public Journey
----  several grabs about a courageous winter sports phenomenon - ski athlete Gus Kenworthy -  from editorial contributor Jeff Benjamin at FUSE online magazine (USA), 19 June 2017 :-

      'The Olympic medal–winning skier's coming out process has been heavily documented and he's been a shining example for anyone struggling with their sexuality.
      Fuse is celebrating Pride Month by looking at a variety of rising forces who are creating Future LGBTQ History before our eyes. Today we're honoring Gus Kenworthy, the Olympic medal–winning freestyle skier who is noted as being the first action-sports star to come out. And less than two years later, now acts as a shining mentor to anyone questioning their sexuality.
      "I am gay," can be some of the most empowering or some of the scariest words a LGBTQ person can say out loud and Kenworthy did so with a high-profile ESPN Magazine cover story. Before the story published, the athlete took to his own social media to share his thoughts and reflections in his own words. "For most of my life I’ve dreaded the day that people would find out I was gay," he wrote in an Instagram post. "Now, I couldn’t be more excited to tell you all the truth. Whether you've suspected it all along or it's a complete shock, it’s important for me to be open and honest with you all. Y’all have supported me through a lot of my highs and lows and I hope you'll stay by my side as I make this transformation into the genuine me—the me that I’ve always really been." .... '
----  see more of Jeff Benjamin's inspiring post at www.fuse.tv/2017 at :-


Hundreds of thousands attend Brazil's gay pride parade, slam religious fundamentalism
----  the opening few pars to an extended news report in The Japan Times (Japan), published 19th June 2017 :-

      'Hundreds of thousands of revelers gathered in Sao Paulo [Brazil] on Sunday for one of the world’s largest gay pride parades, with this year’s event focusing on the threat of religious fundamentalism to Brazil’s LGBT community.
      Under a giant rainbow-colored flag, revelers of all ages, many wearing bright wigs, turned the city’s Paulista avenue into a multicolored sea of people filling more than 10 city blocks. Organizers said they expected 3 million people to participate in Sao Paulo’s 21st annual gay pride parade, though military police did not release a crowd estimate.
      Grammy award-winning singer Daniela Mercury and Brazilian pop star Anitta performed at a parade that organizers said would focus on secularism and the idea that no religion is law regardless of people’s individual beliefs.  .... '
----  see more of The Japan Times' unascribed news report at www.japantimes.co.jp at :-

Sunday, June 18, 2017


The National Portrait Gallery Salutes Queer Icon MARLENE DIETRICH
---- an exhibition acknowledging one of cinema history's most memorable personalities, described by Trish Bendix at NewNowNext (USA), 16th June 2017 :-

      "She pioneered so much for women, as well as openness about sexuality in an age that we wouldn't have expected it," says “Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image" curator Kate LeMay.
      Marlene Dietrich was a queer icon almost as soon as she hit the silver screen: She followed up her debut in 1930’s Blue Angel with Morroco, a movie that saw her singing in top hat and tails and kissing another woman on the mouth.
      The German screen goddess was openly bisexual in real life, too, enjoying dalliances with everyone from John Wayne and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to Edith Piaf and (allegedly) Greta Garbo. (Dietrich referred to the sapphic-friendly starlets she hung out with—Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Isadora Duncan—as “the Sewing Circle.”)
       She was also a trailblazing style icon, with an androgynous flair that Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, and even Sasha Velour have paid homage to.
      This month, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is honoring Dietrich with the first major North American exhibition dedicated to her..... '
----  see more of Trish Bendix's fascinating article with memorable photographs at www.newnownext.com at :-
----  [Trish Bendix is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. She is currently the editor in chief of GO Magazine and a former editor in chief for AfterEllen.com.]
----  photos courtesy of The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, USA)

Saturday, June 17, 2017


[LGBT History] Three Books on the Evolution of the Gay Rights Movement
----  the opening lines from a set of three book reviews by Concepcion De Leon at The New York Times (USA), 9th June 2017 :-

      'As gay pride month kicks into gear, culminating in ebullient parades across the country, here are three books that take a look at the history of the gay rights movement.

VICTORY (2012)
The Triumphant Gay Revolution
By Linda Hirshman - 443 pp.; Harper
     In ”Victory," Linda Hirshman draws from archival records, firsthand interviews, and court documents to trace the history of gay rights from the early 20th century to the present. Her retelling is insightful, and as a lawyer, she offers clear legal and philosophical analysis of key court cases that influenced gay rights. Yet her delivery is hardly dry: Hirshman gives vivid accounts of rivalries between different gay advocacy groups, for instance. From the guerrilla activism of Act Up, the AIDS protest group, to the corporate buy-in for the same-sex marriage campaign, Hirshman deftly shows the reader how the gay movement has evolved and how, as she sees it, it has succeeded. ... "
      The remaining two books are :-  
QUEER AND LOATHING (1994)                          FORCING THE SPRING (2014)
Rants and Raves of a Raging AIDS Clone            Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality
By David B. Feinberg                                                 By Jo Becker
275 pp.; Viking                                                             470 pp.; The Penguin Press

----  see more about these three books at www.nytimes.com at :- 

Friday, June 16, 2017


The Crucial Role of Historical Fiction in Times of Political Turmoil
----  the opening ideas from a substantial essay about the value of historical fiction, written by Jillian Cantor at Signature, a US literary magazine, 15 June 2017 :-

      ' ....  I believe that one day my grandchildren will study this time we live in now as a historical moment, one I’m not sure they’ll be able to fully understand without having lived through it. They will memorize names, dates, and facts, like I once did in school. But it is hard to imagine – to really imagine – a historical moment if you didn’t live through it. And that’s why I write – and read — historical fiction. I’m interested in understanding how people not all that different than myself lived and loved and survived in different times and places. How did real life go on amidst historical unrest or the horrors of war?
      In the time of political turmoil we’re living in now, I find history even more important. Reading historical fiction not only puts our current events into a historical context, but also helps us understand and imagine and empathize with what people lived through in other times and places. .... '
----  see more of Jillian Cantor's essay at Signature (USA) at :-
[Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the author of award-winning novels for teens and adults, including, most recently, the critically acclaimed The Hours Count and Margot.]

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ARE 10 PERCENT OF US GAY ? .... a persuasive reprinted essay

Is 10% of the populations really gay?
----  brief introductory excerpts selected and reprinted recently from a broad 'Sexuality' review of the social evidence, fulsomely assessed by David Spiegelhalter (with many thanks) at The Guardian (UK), 5 April 2015 :-

      '....  Drawing on the widest survey of sexual behaviour since the Kinsey Report, David Spiegelhalter, in his book Sex By Numbers, answers key questions about our private lives. Here he reveals how Kinsey’s contested claim that 10% of us are gay is actually close to the mark.
      So where did Bruce Voeller, a scientist who was a founder and first director of the NGTF, get this nice round 10% from? To find out, we have to delve back into Alfred Kinsey’s surveys in 1940s America, which were groundbreaking at the time but are now seen as archaic in their methods: he sought out respondents in prisons and the gay underworld, made friends with them and, over a cigarette, noted down their behaviours using an obscure code. Kinsey did not believe that sexual identity was fixed and simply categorised, and perhaps his most lasting contribution was his scale, still used today, in which individuals are rated from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual on a scale of 0 to 6.
      Kinsey’s headline finding was that “at least 37% of the male population has some homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and old age”, meaning physical contact to the point of orgasm. He claimed that 13% of males were predominately homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55 (scoring at least 4) and that 4% of males were exclusively homosexual all their lives (scoring 6). .... '
----  see more of this fascinating April 2015 extended sociological report by David Spiegelhalter at The Guardian (with many thanks) at :-

Monday, June 12, 2017


A mix of pride and anger at LGBT rights marches across US
----  the opening phrases, with thanks, from an extended news report by Carolyn Kaster and David Crary of Associated Press at KWWL.com (USA), 13 June 2017 :-

      'WASHINGTON (AP) - Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation's capital and dozens of other U.S. cities on Sunday, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
      The centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington, was endorsed by virtually every major national advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
      Activists have been embittered by the Trump administration's rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
      They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
      Throngs of marchers, many thousands strong, paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.
      "We're here, we're queer, get that Cheeto out of here," was among the chants directed at Trump.  ....'
----  see more of Carolyn & David's report at www.kwwl.com at :-
----  see too a further report from the BBC (UK) at :-

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Is the gorgeous South American film 'ESTEROS' the best queer film about adolescent desire?
----  a few lines at Queerty.com from a substantial introductory review today by David Reddish of a new gay-themed Argentine movie, accompanied by its 1'30" trailer (in the right-hand column) ...

      'Attention all readers who take their their romance bittersweet: the new Argentine film Esteros is an extraordinary exemplar of this genre. It also qualifies as a fine piece of queer filmmaking.
      Directed by Papu Curotto from a script by Andi Nachon, Esteros centers on the reunion of two childhood friends. Mati (Ignacio Rogers) and Jero (Esteban Masturini) spent summers together at a family home, the sons of close friends. The two became inseparable as they fished and swam in the nearby estuaries (sort of natural canals and wetlands that serve as a almost too obvious metaphor for the boys budding sexuality). ....
....  So, will they or won’t they? Do they even want to? Is Mati even gay, or did he just enjoy the same kind of experimental sexual experience that so many adolescent men and women do? Will a childhood bond ignite romance? .... '
----  see more of David Reddish's charmed review of 'ESTEROS' at Queerty (USA, with thanks) at :-
---- and visit the enchanting 1'30" (English subtitled) trailer in this site's side column (at right).
----  Esteros is available on Netflix.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

GAY MARRIAGE / The plot thickens ... ?

Gay Marriage - Here We Go Again
----  an introductory par to an extended opinion-piece by Bert Bigelow at Patheos.com (USA), 7th June 2017 :-
("Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world's beliefs.")

      '....  There are two facets to the gay marriage controversy. First, the legalization of same-sex marriage, and second, the anti-discrimination laws that prohibit businesses from withholding services to married gay couples (or even gay individuals) on religious grounds. The Religious Right has long contended that this violates their “religious rights.” This is part of a larger issue: Do religious rights include the right to violate the civil rights of people they disapprove of by discriminating against them? Some states have passed “religious rights” laws allowing pharmacy workers, for instance, to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.
      Many red herring issues have been dragged across the legal path to treating gays as real people. ....'
----  see the two pages of this controversial post at www.patheos.com, plus its combative reader opinions which follow, at :- 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

CHINA / Signs of increasing acceptance ... ?

In China, some signs of greater acceptance of LGBT people
----  the first three pars of a press report published in the New Delhi Times (India), 1st June 2017 :-

      'China’s government has ruled out any move to legalize same-sex marriage, and many Chinese gays and lesbians remain in the closet, yet there are multiple signs of greater awareness and acceptance of LGBT people in the world’s most populous nation.
      Homosexuality was formally removed from the list of mental health conditions in 2001 and LGBT activists have become steadily more outspoken in recent years, even though authorities remain wary of any human rights organizing outside the direct control of the ruling Communist Party.
      Among the modest signs of change: A recent video advertisement for car-hailing app operator Didi Chuxing included a gay couple holding hands in the back of a taxi. The live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” was shown in Chinese theaters without any particular concern for the implicitly gay character that had drawn criticism from conservative religious groups in the U.S. and other countries. .... '
----  see more of these modest signs of change at this New Delhi Times' news report on China at their website at :-

Monday, June 5, 2017

PARIS / The gay perspective ...

Better late than never! ... first published in April this year

----  originally posted by writer Andrew Lear at The Gay & Lesbian Review  (USA) - "a bimonthly magazine of history, culture, & politics" - on 27th April this year, we reprint the opening few pars from his substantial, well-informed insight for your interest and delectation ...

      'Of all the things that Paris is famous for—the historic neighborhoods, the amazing museums, the spectacular food—what’s often overlooked is Paris’ importance in LGBT history and culture. France was the first modern country to decriminalize homosexuality—in 1798, almost two centuries before the U.S. From that time on, Paris has remained a relatively free city for gay life, and gay themes appeared more and more openly in French culture over time.
      This is why there are so many great gay writers in French literature, including names like Proust, Cocteau, and Colette. It is also why so many gay writers from English-speaking countries spent large parts of their lives there, including Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and James Baldwin.
      In fact, gay history is a great theme to follow around Paris—a good way to organize a short visit. There are numerous places where you can follow gay history’s trail. Across from the Louvre, the Palais-Royal has a lot of gay history. Among other things, it was the Paris residence of Louis XIV’s gay (or perhaps bi) and gender-bending younger brother Philippe I, Duc d’Orléans (generally known simply as “Monsieur”).
      It is also here that Colette lived for the last two decades of her life and produced her most interesting writing about lesbians (1932’s The Pure and the Impure) as well as her best book on her other favorite theme, courtesans, Gigi (1944). But there are two places in Paris that, in my view, make for the richest gay history experience: the Louvre and Père Lachaise Cemetery. ... '
----  see more of Andrew Lear's knowledgeable survey of Gay Paris at the most recent edition of the www.glreview.ord at :-


Saturday, June 3, 2017

"QUEER CITY" / London's gay history through knowing eyes ...

PETER ACKROYD: A secret history - 2000 years of gay life in London
---- a few very brief excerpts from a substantial books report by Andrew Dickson at The Guardian (UK), 20th May 2017 :-

      'The prolific biographer, historian and novelist returns to familiar territory with a gay history of the city.
      In his flat in Knightsbridge, central London, Peter Ackroyd ushers me into his study. It is a tight, faintly anonymous space crowded with books and prints, and with a discouraging view on to the back of a building.
      Now in his late 60s, Ackroyd is famous for his Stakhanovite appetite for work: his books could fill a decent-sized bookcase, though such is their girth, you would probably need to reinforce it (his gargantuan 1990 biography of Dickens weighed in at 1,195 pages). As far as I can calculate, there are now 18 works of fiction and more than 30 biographies and histories. ....
....  The new book, a history of gay London entitled Queer City, returns to familiar territory, so much so that it’s surprising Ackroyd hasn’t already written it: in fact, it turns out that, after a manner of speaking, he has. ....
....  Yet the new work goes far deeper, travelling from the barely visible remains of Celtic London and the arrival of Christianity in the AD300s to the great sex scandals of the 19th century – Wilde included – and on to recent fights for gay rights. As ever, the book is rambunctiously inclusive, practically Rabelaisian. One sentence quotes Julius Caesar on the flamboyantly long-haired, moustachioed Celts, who honoured what Aristotle called “passionate friendship between men”. In the next sentence, Ackroyd drily remarks: “You can still see them walking in the streets of London.” ....'
----  see more of Andrew Dickson's view of Peter Ackroyd's most recent publication at The Guardian at :-
----  see too a review of Queer City by Neil Bartlett at The Guardian, 29  May 2017 at :-

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Literature needs more gay romance, gay author warns
----  the opening lines from a literature opinion piece by Luke Mintz at PinkNew (UK), 30th May 2017 :-

      'Award-winning gay author Patrick Ness has called for more depiction of gay romance and sex in literature.
      He has warned that gay teenagers risk being abandoned to “porn and Grindr“.
      The British-American author, best known for his young adult books Chaos Walking and A Monster Calls, said in an interview this week with The i that, for same-sex relationships, “authors tend to shy away from anything much beyond a kiss or a fleeting reference”.
      “A book with two boys being intimate, still – still! – in 2017 feels risky,” he said.
“Why should that be? Why doesn’t the 17-year-old me deserve to see himself in a book? And there are a lot of 17-year-old mes around. A lot of us.”  .... '
----  see more of Luke Mintz's article about gay romance-&-literature at www.pinknews.co.uk at :-

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


The Guysexual's Guide To Every Gym-Loving Gay Guy In The World
----  a few opening pars from a wildly entertaining slice-of-gay-life essay by a very perceptive Aniruddha Mahale, published at FirstPost Weekend (India), 3rd June 2017 :-

      'Open up your Grindr, lads. Now tell me what you see?
      It’s the same story everywhere.
      When every fourth guy on Grindr looks like he has stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch underwear catalogue, you know you might have a problem. It’s no surprise that we’ve been trained to get out of the closet, and go straight to the gym, but now we are doing so on our spinning cycles.
      It’s simple, if there’s one thing you need as a gay man today, it’s a body. You might want to think differently, but eight out of 10 times you are not going to get a great deal of interest from another gay man just because you look like you listen to Mozart, and devour literary classics for breakfast. Sadly, muscles are in and they are never going to go out of style (they are sort of like florals during spring, only better).
      We might have reached the age of technology, but deep down, we’d rather be men of steel.
      Now, most gay men like to remove their flimsy cotton V-necks at a moment’s notice, showcasing their kilometer-wide chests and xylophone abs as if they were starring in an Indian remake of Magic Mike. They make other men (like me) gulp and vow to start going to the gym from next Monday. .... '
----  see more of Aniruddha Mahale's hilarious observations of the gay world's gym culture at www.firstpost.com/weekend-specials 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 ...

When someone becomes the CENTER OF MY WORLD (Germany) 2016 ...

A classic movie returns in 2017 ... now on enhanced dvd



ASIAN GAY ROMANCE fights stigma in Hollywood ...

"THE PASS" ... its 2017 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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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA rainbow-community site ...

Thank you for visiting my book's information site COOL GAY STUFF.

Please come back soon to note new posts, movie trailers, or publications & reviews.

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