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I have to admit that, considering this is not the first time I read a novel with superheroes and villains all living together in a somewhere in the future city not so distant from our own universe, I'm starting to feel like I'm missing a big piece of cultural background... is this scenario part of some literary universe? is it a sci-fi subgenre or maybe a classical fiction I'm not aware of?

In any case, in this novel, Alex Gabriel approaches the usually light tone with even an heavier push on the hilarious button, and, while dealing with villains trying to conquer the world, instead of being scared, it seems like the mere civilians were amused. I think that no alive being was affected, and only some building took the brush of the villains' actions.

And indeed Pat, one of our heroes, is the son of a villain (female), and his three sisters are as well. Pat is not cut for the villain life, and he prefers to be an architectural student, while working part-time as house manager of a superhero, Nicholas. But Pat is a night house manager and interacts with Nicholas through an AI which is managing the whole house, so they never met, until the night Nicholas asks for a rent boy, and Pat, who didn't understand the request, reply by person... and well, you can imagine what happens next.

The story is a mix of naughty and funny; but even when dealing with sex, while explicit, the author always maintains the humor sublayer, so that, the whole experience of reading this story is a light one, nice, funny, comfortable, happy.

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Alex Gabriel Books; 1 edition (December 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1505695988
ISBN-13: 978-1505695984
Amazon: Love for the Cold-Blooded: Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Amazon Kindle: Love for the Cold-Blooded: Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews

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Even if dealing with fairies and demons, The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons wasn't a typical paranormal romance, but a classic urban fantasy: the "menages" between human Cy, fae Patrick and sex demon August was a whirlwind of events, sometime so crazy packed that was almost difficult to understand what was happening; an example? when Cy is "feeding" August, for what I know of sex demon, that means they are having sex, but I had to read two times that scene and still am not sure they were having sex... it was more an impression that a detailed description, so if you are expecting to buy this novel for the hot sex... well maybe you have to change your expectation. But if you are searching for a crazy urban fantasy, with IKEA and McDonalds throw in the middle of it, humor and satira, well, then, this is your book.

I'm pretty sure this is part of a series, and indeed the whole book was like "viewing" an episode of a modern television fiction, those snarcky, but clever series that are the hit of the moment. I'm not really a fan of fantasy, or urban fantasy, but I'm a fan of complex characters, and all three of them, Cy, Patrick and August are the best example of multilayered characters.

Publisher: Loose Id LLC (January 13, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons

More Reviews by Author at my website:, My Reviews
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Very strange novel, with an original approach that I’m still thinking about; I didn’t want to write a review soon after I finished the book cause I wanted to think about it, I wanted to find a way to convey the feeling. The author doesn’t introduce her characters, they are actually presented to you with a bag of events you don’t know; the author will jump back and forward in their life until you will have all the elements to put together the pieces of the puzzle, but again, you will have to do that by yourself. The second thing I notice is that, in this post-apocalypse future, time is inconsistent and they are distances; in the course of few pages, the characters spend together almost 20 years, starting as barely legal soldiers to end as pushing 40 revolutionaries. The strangest thing of all is that for all those 20 years they are at the same time lovers and worst enemies, always at the opposite fronts. When it was war, they were fighting against each other, when it was (barely) peace time, they were competing against each other at the Olympics. But do not imagine Olympic Games as you know them, the Olympics in this story are dark and horrific, more like the Roman arenas where gladiators were fighting to death.

Anyway expect the unexpected from this story, do not expect linearity, wait for the turn of the tables; the only constant is that Merq and Armise love each other… to death.

Warning: this one was quick and the introduction to a series, The Borders War, so there is an hanging ending.

Amazon Kindle: One Breath, One Bullet (The Borders War)
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (May 30, 2013)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Almost a comics in written format, I have the feeling that Pawn Takes Rook, first episode in the Checkmate series is part of something bigger in the author’s mind, something she has already developed and that is now feeding us little piece by little piece. A lot has already happened when the story starts and I struggled a little to fit all the details, but in the end I had a good idea: the time is the same as today, 2013, but it’s an alternative universe; the poly vaccine caused a genetic variation in the newborn who acquired special powers, and now almost everyone is a superhero. If you are really a good one, you are part of the Alliance, fighting the villains in the name of the law. Things you consider as given, televisions, laptops, are luxury items people save a life to buy.

Hogarth, the nephew of the Google’s algorithm creator, want to be part of the Alliance, but he is actually more a nerd than a hero. When he is rescued by Rook, a former Alliance hero, he sees him as his chance to meet the Alliance standards: if he cannot make it alone, why not try with a dynamic duo? But Rook is like a loose cannon, not really trustworthy, plus he is defective, like a pot that, when reaching the boiling point, instead of going in off mode, explode. Doesn't hurt that Rook is also an hunky viking, with startling icy eyes and long, blond locks.

You can say the author had a lot of fun writing this novella, I had the feeling like she planned it with friends, like a videogame she was playing and trying all the special effects. Yes, the mood was of fun, light entertainment, winking the eye probably to some favorite cartoon or comic character I’m not able to point out (not really a comic fan here). But even if I cannot pinpoint the origin, it was a funny little piece.

Amazon Kindle: Pawn Takes Rook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (March 12, 2013)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Paul Richmond

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The story is a frighteningly possible apocalypse now future; or at least it was considering the devastation the AIDS plague brought to this world. In a future society, people tested positive to the homogene, mind you that doesn’t mean they are homosexual, but that they have a specific gene believing to determine homosexuality; consequence is that even men who are not homosexual, but married (and in love with their wives) and fathers are confined in isolated camps. For the last 7 years they are captives of machines, since prison officers are now substituted by robots and only one or two men, tested negative to the homogene, can control an entire prison.

This is the situation where we find camp guard Rafe and prisoner Dylan; Dylan understood the only weak point of that situation are the human guards and he plans to seduce Rafe. Of course nothing is simple as appears and our men will find themselves in a very uneasy situation.

The setting was perfect, since it was oppressive; as usual in these stories, even if not specifically said, the mood and the writing style convey a perennial shadow, even in broad light the sun seemed not able to warm this inhuman world.

Even the characters, Rafe and Dylan, were perfect, right for the reason they were not: Rafe didn’t struck me as particularly clever, and Dylan was ready to use everyone to his purposes. There is to be considered that Dylan was 17 years old when he was imprisoned, and now, 7 years later, he is a man of 24 who hasn’t had really any chance to live. A bit of selfishness is probably amendable.

I’m not sure the author intended this as to be a standalone book; she introduces different elements that are not totally wrapped up at the end, and even for the main characters there isn’t a 100% closure; in a way, I’m not even sure Rafe and Dylan are destined to be together, or maybe they are, but in this uncertain future, where nothing is sure, they have the only possible relationship, a relationship to be lived day by day.

Amazon: Quarantine
Amazon Kindle: Quarantine
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (September 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1781845271
ISBN-13: 978-1781845271

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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I think the main reason of this novel was to prove how stupid the war is and how rigid the military structure can be, above all if they try to see the world in Black and White.

The main characters of this novel are a group of kids with special powers. I say kids, even if they are probably in their twenties, since I had the feelings all these guys were taken from their family when they were still teenagers and they didn’t have the chance to grow into real adult and above all soldier. When the story starts they are approaching graduation day from the Military Academy, and to me it was like reading of boys approaching the last day of high school.

The story is told in first point of view by Mik, a misfit among them; Mik is an orphan and so he has no bad experience in his past with his family; all these boys have supernatural powers but this is not a bonus in this futuristic society, on the contrary you are considered an abomination, and most of the time your own family disown you… I think there is a parallelism here between being gay and having supernatural powers, like in today society you are disowned for being gay, in that futuristic society it happens the same when approaching adulthood you find out you have special skills people fear.

At the beginning I didn’t feel the attraction between Mik and his roommate Ash, but thinking at it twice, I noticed how Mik was jealous of his best friend; in any case it’s not Mik who does the first move, but Ash, almost taking advantage of Mik’s almost breakdown after he has to kill for the first time. Ash brings to bed a drunken Mik, and he has his way with him, tighten the bond between them that will last for all the novel, with some bumps on the road.

Dawn of Darkness is the first book in a series, and that is the reason why there is no a wrapping up ending; moreover, after the blow the author decided to give to the reader at the last chapter, he also opted for giving hope and the very last word will help many readers who maybe wanted a different ending.

Amazon: Dawn of Darkness: Daeva: Book One
Amazon Kindle: Dawn of Darkness: Daeva: Book One
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 18, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466423714
ISBN-13: 978-1466423718

Reading List:
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Dark Sun is a little too sexy to be considered a Young Adult story, but if not for that, the feeling was really “young” and with a Romeo and Jules’s theme (after all, Romeo and Juliet were teenagers…).

Orion and Lynx are respectively, heir and second son of the most important triads in the city, Phoenix and Dragon. To an outsider they are pampered princes, with all the money and the chances in their pocket. In this post-apocalypse Seattle, the city is divided in three level, Cloud Level, Midtown and Bottom City, and you move from one level to the other through lifts. Of course Cloud level is the most near the sky, but nevertheless there is no natural light, a cloud of pollution is obscuring the sun, and people are living in constant artificial life, if they can afford it, or in perennial shadow, like in the Bottom City.

Supposedly Lynx is an enforcer, trained to be a warrior, but nor him or Orion have the right looks, on the contrary, from what I gather from the author’s description, they are both pretty and young boys, and maybe this adds to the feeling of being reading a Young Adult story, it was really like Orion and Lynx were fighting both against society than their own families; true, Orion in particular is doing good to the poor people of Bottom City, but both for him and especially for Lynx, there is a huge component of rebelling against their parents, and there was a little of bratty behaviour in them.

As the characters felt “young” so was the story, it was mostly like some sort of video-game, with the games culminating in the destruction of a target the heroes spent most of the novel trying to find through pieces of info here and there; and like in a video-game, I have never felt the heroes to be really in danger, like they had in any case some spare life to use.

I’m not usually a huge fan of urban fantasy, the gothic and dark atmosphere is sometime too heavy for my taste, but Dark Sun was not heavy at all, and that is a bonus from my point of view.

Amazon Kindle: Dark Sun
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (July 5, 2011)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
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In Spinning Jaime Samms introduced her two heroes, Mikko and Kenny. The world in which they are living is 100 years in the future, and it’s a dark and new gothic environment, the waste of energy today world did caused for our descendants to live in almost total obscurity, especially when natural light is down. The obscurity is reflected also in their approach to life, news and research tools are hard to find, and people is slowly going back to a way of life that is mostly conduct to real connections more than through the online net.

Mikko and Kenny’s relationship is strange, Mikko himself is coming from a Dom and sub relationship where he was the sub, but Kenny needs grounding and so Mikko is posing as a Dom for Kenny. I didn’t really feel that is what Mikko wants, but that is what Kenny needs and Mikko is in love with him. So much in love that when Kenny asks, at the end of the previous book, to be free to go back to his former boyfriend to understand if there are chances for them, Mikko let him go. That is what you do if you love someone, letting them go and if the love is strong, they will come back to you.

Again Grounded is not a final chapter, but a step more into Mikko and Kenny’s love story. Kenny is discovering himself, and Mikko is helping him. Both Mikko and Kenny have particular powers, but from what I understood, Kenny is more powerful than Mikko, and that is a nice contrast, since Kenny is the sub in their relationship. As the title suggested, Mikko is giving the chance to Kenny to be grounded, to be enough steady and strong to enter in his own powers and be able to manage them. But the Grounded in the title I think is referring also to their relationship, to the fact that Mikko and Kenny want to set down, to be grounded to a place, the place that will become their safe shelter.

Amazon Kindle: Grounded (The Ageless)
Publisher: Pink Petal Books (October 7, 2010)

Series: The Ageless
1) Spinning:
2) Grounded

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“City of Foxes” by Cornelia Grey: In an post-apocalyptic world, Jake is man without roots, lonely and brooding… i.e. exactly the mourning hero type who is sure to score. And of course, to add even more fascination to his persona, he helps Kye, a one of the foxes, half-man half white fox. Helping Kye, Jake gains the protection of Liam, another white fox/man who is also the leader of a group of rebels, people living outside the border of the old city. This tale has really the feeling of an old fashioned sci-fi/futuristic romance; it’s more adventure than romance, even if there is sexual tension between Jake and Liam, but they have little chances to turn the tension in man-on-man action. Not that the white little pointed ears and the long bushy tail of Liam wasn’t attractive, on the contrary it was just that level of “kinky” to be enticing.

“Trust Me” by Elizabeth Hyder: pure sci-fi, this story follow “futuristic” college boys in a military academy; all people in the academy are some sort of alien, and Koit is a breed with human body but with sparse brown scale. Plus he is completely bald. Koit’s best friend, Sera, thinks he should try a same-sex relationship, mostly since, from what I understand, Koit is not taking seriously any of the one night stand he is having with female. Being gay, lesbian or straight is more or less like having blond, black or red hair, and so it’s not that Koit is against the idea, I think he is reticent mostly since he knows that Sera is right, and that his true feelings are in danger if he finds the right man. Sexuality and sex is pretty natural in this futuristic world, and Koit has not so many trouble in finding men willing to let him satisfy his curiosity. I liked the feeling of this story, it was “modern” (as in futuristic) without being too “strange”, and in the end, even if half-alien and living in a spaceship, these guys and girls were basically like any other college boy or girl living far from their family for the first time.

“Alpha’s Pride” by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet: in a fantasy world, Alec and Nahele are half-man/half feline creatures living in wild packs in a hierarchic society. Nahele is the Alpha and he has been for centuries and Alec, and others, think he has lost focus, he has settled down in their comfortable situation, thus endangering the pack. Alec is Nahele’s best friend with benefits, when they want, and like, Alec shares Nahele’s den and furs, and he plenty enjoys it. But even if he loves Nahele, like a friend, a lover, a brother, Alec is also aware that he will have to betray him, challenging the other for the Alpha’s role. Alec’s only hope is that Nahele will not destroy their bond in the event of Alec winning the challenge. A little warning to readers, this tale has non con sex, even if it’s tamed by the awareness that both men have deep feelings for each other, but in one only occasion, sex will be used as a mean to prove the other’s high authority on a submissive member of the pack.

“I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside” by Wayne Mansfield: a strange urban fantasy tale about a young Greek man, Panos, with a long-hidden secret: he is scales and gills on his body like a fish. He doesn’t know his own origins, he was found by his adopted parents, and aside from that, he is like any other man, and as such, with the desires of any ordinary man. So, maybe hoping to finally find a suitable companion, Panos opens his house to Jason, renting him a room, but also letting the man near him, enticing him, until the day Panos judges Jason is ready to know the truth about him. I liked how the author didn’t stress so much the “paranormal” nature of Panos, it was like Panos has some sort of “mark”, but that didn’t make him an alien creature.

“Opening Worlds” by Cari Z.: a sweet and almost old fashioned romance (wait until the last word and you will understand), this novella follow spaceship captain Jason falling in love for Ferran, a young alien. Ferran comes from a matriarchal society, and since he is sterile, he was destined from his birth to be, more or less, a male housekeeper. He has a docile streak and as usual among his people, he is very sensual, and they see sex like an ordinary expression of deep feelings. Jason in comparison is more reserved, maybe even a bit aloof, but it will be impossible for him to resist to Ferran, even if they know their love is doomed by the impeding due of Ferran, to go back home and marry a woman chosen by his mother.

“Songs for Guitar and French Harp” by Angelia Sparrow: in a post-apocalyptic world, Arthur and Gordon are “constructs”, that means they are built in a lab mixing human body part with animals. Arthur is an half-bear and Gordon an half-lion. As expected, they are working as “freaks” in a travelling carnival, but Arthur got luckier than Gordon; Arthur’s mother, fell in love with a human, and even if they can’t legally marry, Daddy Frank treats Arthur and his mother like people and not property. Gordon instead was bought and as such he is no more like a stab of meat for his owner. Even if Arthur and Gordon are still teenagers, they will have to face hard times, separation, fear and abuses. I liked the feeling of innocence the author managed to preserve for young Arthur even if he was facing a world that resembles an hell. The terrible things Gordon has to face are very clear to the reader, but the author didn’t feel necessary to put them on your face, and I approve of her choice.

Amazon: Wild Passions
Amazon Kindle: Wild Passions
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Storm Moon Press LLC (June 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982700857
ISBN-13: 978-0982700853

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover art by Nathie
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This is not an easy sequel to like, above all if you loved the first book, and now I understand why, while many friends recommended me A Strong and Sudden Thaw, the release of Out of the Ashes went almost unnoticed. I understand the reason, and I hear all the complaints about cheating, about not being faithful to your lover when you know he is in danger, about the absolute taboo of falling in love with another man (sex is one thing, but love? Absolutely unacceptable!), but again I have to tell readers, take a step back and try to understand the reasons, of the characters and the author.

In the first book, R.W. Day broke a taboo, the main character, David, was “only” 16 years old and he fell in love with Callan, who was 23 years old. Truth be told, I didn’t feel at the time as that was an issue, considering the time and the setting, David was an adult, and Callan was of course still young, their age difference was almost non-existent, if not for the fact that Callan was sexually experienced and David instead wasn’t. To the same readers complaining that David falls in love with another man in this sequel, I’d like to remember that Callan himself had a relationship with another man in that first book. Truth it was not love, but still, it’s not like these two men never looked to another one as soon as they meet each other.

Anyway I highlighted again the age difference since, of the many complaints I heard about this second novel, not one highlighted the fact that Sterling, the “other man” is 63 years old! And David is only 18… so, do you really believe this love is possible? Sure, I’m not questioning David’s feelings for Sterling, but well, I think the author “used” Sterling as an expedient to prove that love is complex, and mostly doesn’t care about age, class and gender, but I have never thought that David and Callan were not destined together.

People complained it was not possible that David really loved Sterling, or that it was not possible that his love for Callan was real; someone saw as “convenient” as David and Sterling’s relationship evolved, since if not like that, there was no way for David to be able to go back to Callan. I simply think there were different love; David looked upon Sterling, and he really loved him, but their differences were clear and big, the love between them was almost reverence, a little like the Greek love were an older one teaches to a younger one the way of life. With Callan instead David has a more balanced relationship, and Callan’s disability (he lost an arm) makes them even more near, almost cancelling their different social status; even the highlighting of how Callan has great difficulty to write with his left hand is a way, to me, to level him to David’s illiteracy or bad accent.

So yes, I’m not sure I would recommend this novel to “all” readers, mostly since it’s a dark romance which doesn’t play according the rules. But if you are aware of that, than I think this one will test your willingness to try something different.

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Amazon: Out of the Ashes
Amazon Kindle: Out of the Ashes
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (September 25, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210646
ISBN-13: 978-1590210642

1) A Strong and Sudden Thaw:
2) Out of the Ashes

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Aside for the hot cover, one of the reason that pushed me to buy this book, the other is obviously the author: Jordan Castillo Price is one of those authors that will never disappoint you, she has both story than characters solid and strong, and so plenty satisfying, even when I’m reading a futuristic setting, that is not usually my cup of tea.

In a not so far future, some apocalyptic disaster, destroyed the world how we know it; a central power, the Deacons, govern the society and people are cloned in number pieces and programmed to live 30 years flat: from 0 to 10 years you are trained, from 10 to 30 years less one month you work always the same job, and then you have 1 month of retirement before giving back the AI that has let you survived till that moment and receiving your “prize”, i.e. your soul will leave your mortal body to go… well no one knows exactly where, but it has to go somewhere right?

Ernest has reached 29 years and 11 months and now has a full month to enjoy his retirement; the first place he chooses to go is an old style coffee-book store; true, the coffee is not the same, it’s given through syringes or IVs, and the books are artificial tablets, but at least it’s something Ernest is doing for pleasure, spending all the money he saved before his planned death. But then the owner of the coffee place, Will, start to insinuate the doubt that there is another true, that he is not fated to die in one month, not if he will stop to report each night with the central system.

There is a lot of fight against the system theory, but also a je accuse on how people mistreated the Earth and the gifts they received from Her. Ernest is not at fault, like they are not the other like him, since he has no idea there was something different before, revolutionary knowledge like psychology and history were purged from the available data feed, and they are accessible only from the very wealthy members of the Deacons. Ernest is not gay or straight, he is chemically castrated and so he has no sexual desire at all; not only that he is also deprived of testosterone, and so without sexual desires he has also no stimulus at all.

Will recognizes in Ernest some potential, and with some good placed inputs, insinuates in him the desire to “taste” the life, and it’s not a metaphor, Ernest was fed through a shunt in his arms, no solid or liquid food at all, nothing through his mouth. When he meets Will, there will be a lot of things he will learn to do with his mouth, not only eat: taste, kiss, and many, many other pleasurable activities.

Even if a claustrophobic society, the story is not at all boring or heavy, on the contrary, it’s almost sweet and romantic; there are some sad moments, but they are balanced by other more light events, and in the end, the feeling is very much like I have read a classical romance.

Amazon: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Amazon Kindle: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: JCP Books (July 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0981875270
ISBN-13: 978-0981875279

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by P.L. Nunn
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Best Overall Gay Novel (2° place), Best Writing Style (1° place), Best Setting (2° place) and Best Futuristic Novel (1° place)

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

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

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

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

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

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

R.W. Day's In the Spotlight post:

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain
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This is an odd but nice novella; in a futuristic, and apocalyptic world, nothing is changed and everything is. Your ordinary life is the same, school, work, cars, homes, friends only that, for once, the riches are richer and the poors are poorer and there is no more free will at love. Better to explain: at some point, at the end of what is called Blind Ages (that basically are the current times), people realized they were able to read the mind of other people; the bond was even stronger if the person in front of you was your mate, and so people stopped to marry for all the wrong reason, but they stopped also to marry for true love. If you mated with someone who was not your chosen soulmate, after sometime you simply snapped, basically your mind was lost. So people had two choice: or be lucky enough to find their soulmate, or living chaste for the rest of their life (or having meaningless sex, that could be an option).

Of course, if you had money, you could pay the priests, special talented human who were able to find your mate, wherever he/she was. Being a priest was quite a lucrative job since everyone was willing to pay them, other the few men or women that still believe in true love and the power of it. Jereth is one of them, he wanted to find his mate trough the slow search, that is basically the old way, without telepathic help from the priests. But he spent the last 15 years trying and now he is almost at the end of his patience limit. When he finally decides that yes, he will pay a priest, the answer is not satysfying: his mate is a man (and he has never thought about that possibility) and he is living in the worst part of the city, almost a ghetto where neither police wants to enter.

This is basically a Prince Charming theme in futuristic setting: Caris, the cinderfella of the story, is sweet and cute, and very young, or at least younger than Jereth; he is waiting like a sleeping beauty for her Prince to come to his rescue, but in the meantime, he had a lover. In a old fashioned world, probably Ramie, Caris’ lover, would have been also his mate, he is kind and generous, even if maybe a little too old for Caris (he is even older than Jereth). But in this situation he will play the role of the martyr, handing down Caris to Jereth, more, almost imploring Jereth to take Caris with him. It’s strange, I like so and so Caris and Jereth, but I really like Ramie, and was pretty upset to not have an happily ever after for him.

That this probably what prevented this story to be too much sugary: in a normal situation, all the soulmate finds pretty and young soulmate in need of protector and he rescues him like a knight in shining armor, is at risk of being labelled as “too romance like”; but the setting of the story is cold, detached, all this you have to find your mate otherwise you will unhappy forever or you will risk to go mad, you will live only as long as your mate will live, it was really a stop to the sugar flow. Even when Jereth brings Caris in his world, in his safe and clean world, it felt sterile and unwelcoming, and it didn’t surprise me that Caris was not so happy at the beginning.

Amazon Kindle: Of One Mind

Reading List:
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Buried Alive in the Blues by J. Daniel Sawyer (M/F and M/M): More than an apocalyptic futuristic short story, this was almost an horror. While the world is crashing down around her, a woman is mourning the loss of her beloved husband Juno. For her nothing matter now, if not the blues, and when the last band in the world playing the right blues comes to town, that is the only reason why she will leave her home. But she is not going only to listen to music and dance, she is going to the end of the world and back again, and through sex she will take her vengeance, or maybe even grant peace to her enemies.

Expiry Date by Elizabeth Coldwell (M/F): in its macabre tone, this was probably the most funny of the short stories. Holly has no money to pay for her chip to be upgraded, and at the end of the day she will be dead. She decides that she will enjoy her last day, even if this will mean to cheat her best friend: Suzi has the best husband around, Marco, and Holly wants a piece of him before the end. It’s not really cheating since she will be not around to continue to do so. But destiny has other plans.

Darkest Night by Elizabeth Schechter (M/M and M/F): for once the M/M pair was not the good one. Moira is an AI of Tariq’s spaceshift, and she is always there for him, despite all the different lovers, males and females, entering his life. Now Tariq has Marcus, and he seems happy; Moira has no jealousy in her, and she only wants the best for Tariq, so she doesn’t understand why Marcus is so contrary to her. Then Moira intercept a message: the end of the world, know and unknow is coming, and they have only two choice, searching shelter deep in the ground or chosing to die in the space, like they have always lived. Tariq has no doubt, and Moira can only follow what Tariq wants, but Marcus has a slightly different idea.

Invasion! by Beverly Langland (F/F and M/F): this is almost a joke, when the radio airs the announce that there is an Invasion from Mars, two women and a man decide that if they have to die, at least they will enjoy the waiting…

Fences by David Hubbard (M/M): without doubt Fences was the most romantic and in a way the only one with a bit of hope in the end. Jeremy had a perfect life, a loving husband, a beautiful house in the suburbs, two dogs… the full package, until a lethal virus destroyed everything. Now a widower with his days counted, Jeremy is only waiting for the end, and trying to enjoy what remains of his life. He is not expecting a second chance, above all not to love, but his neighboor, Bradley, is alone as Jeremy, and he has lost everything like Jeremy. Bradley was not gay, and in a normal situation nothing between them could have happened, but this is not a normal situation, and sincerely, now it’s more important that you are able to find someone, than being selective on his gender. But even if maybe Jeremy and Bradley get together out of loneliness, it’s not a desperate move: both Jeremy than Bradley had a good life before, and they would have been able to live out of their memories, but they don’t want to face the end alone.

Amazon Kindle: Apocalypse Sex: Love at the End of the World

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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Dragon's Kiss was a previously released short story in a Band of Thebes theme anthology. So the main focus of the story is the relationship between fellow soldiers, on manlove relationships bring on more on an almost friendship basis than real love.

In a futuristic world, a mix of Apocalypse Now and Back to the Future, Bear is one of the survivors from a natural disaster that destroyed the Earth as we know her. People now live among the ruin of the past world, but they are back to an almost medieval era. Bear is born generations after the catastrophe, and so he has not knowledge of the world as it was before, and he lives in a closed community, lead by a Council that considers all past things evil. There is acceptance for the homosexual relationships, more, they are encouraged, but only among the members of the pack. The ostracism now is no more for who is "different", but for who is "stranger". People who dare to cross the pack borders are most likely killed and also who wants to go away.

Bear and his fellow soldier Lynx are sent by their Council leader to capture a trespasser; they find the man, Dragon, a member of a near pack who was banished from his people to be an heretic: he doesn't believe that all the past was evil, he wants to know, he wants something forbidden, the knowledge. Bear knows that, if they bring back Dragon to their pack, the man would be probably killed, and Bear fears this event since the same sin Dragon committed, is haunting his mind.

This is only a short story, so apart set the place and give the chance to the characters to meet, there is nothing much more. But the most interesting thing is how the prejudice is still present: it shifted from the people to the society, the ignorant crowd no more fear the single man, the different (race, sexuality, rank...), they know fear an entire society, past or stranger, everything is outside their community is evil. And the leaders know that, to preserve their powers, they have to maintain the crow ignorant.

Amazon Kindle: Dragon's Kiss: A Mother Earth story.

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle

Cover Art by Anne Cain


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