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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Science Fiction/Fantasy Update

SciFi Channel is planning Caprica, a spin-off of Battlestar Galactica.

Lubbock, Texas: Saturday, June 3, 2-4 PM. I’ll sign copies of The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure, at Barnes & Noble (6707 Slide Road). I’ll also sign my West Texas fiction collection The Acorn Stories.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Science fiction/fantasy update…

Can the creator of Lost save Star Trek?

Star Trek's Mr. Sulu Backs Gay Activists.

Da Vinci Code Sequel Delayed.

New Doctor Who Episodes.

Read about StarGate SG1’s Historic 10th Season.

Read about the TV version of The Dresden Files.

New Fantasy Release.

Readers can order The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure at bn.com, Amazon.com, Amazon.Ca, Amazon.co.UK, and many other online bookstores, or the Customer Services desk of their nearest Barnes & Noble Booksellers! Libraries and retailers can order it from Ingram Books or Baker & Taylor.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gay SciFi/Fantasy

For gay-inclusive science fiction and fantasy novels, I suggest The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), CinĂ¡tis (Ronald L. Donaghe), Ethan of Athos (Lois McMaster Bujold), The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. Le Guin), Bond-Shattering (William Maltese), China Mountain Zhang (Maureen F. McHugh), Stealing Some Time (Mark Kendrick), Sacrament (Clive Barker), and Wraeththu (Storm Constantine), as well as two of my books—The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure and Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure.

These two are on my bookshelves, and I hope to read them soon: Dhalgren (Samuel R. Delany) and Echelon’s End: PlanetFall (E. Robert Dunn).

Monday, April 03, 2006

The upcoming novel The Return of Innocence: A Fantasy Adventure includes positive images of gay and lesbian people.
Brokeback Mountain is currently the #1 DVD at bn.com!

Brokeback Mountain is currently the #1 DVD at Amazon.Com!
The Education of Shelby Knox

Review by Duane Simolke, author of the West Texas fiction collection The Acorn Stories, for This Week In Texas.

This documentary, screened at film festivals, PFLAG meetings, colleges, and many other venues around the US, involves a teen who dares to stand up for comprehensive sex education in her home town of Lubbock, Texas. I live in Lubbock and write Rainbow: Lubbock, the online newsletter for Lubbock gays, so this documentary interests me, especially since it eventually involves the attempts of gay teens to start a gay/straight alliance at their high school.

In the film, instead of worrying about the fact that Lubbock suffers unusually high rates of teen pregnancy and teen STDs, the school board keeps trying to silence Shelby and the other teens who want the right to fully discuss sexual issues. Of course, Shelby eventually grows up and goes away to college, and nothing really changes with the schools. Still, her story—captured so well by filmmakers Rose Rosenblatt and Marion Lipschutz—forms a powerful narrative that not only shows the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs but also provokes the very discussions that Lubbock’s school board tries to squelch.

The Education of Shelby Knox should interest viewers everywhere, even if they aren’t from Texas or don’t agree with the stands that Shelby takes. Emotions run high throughout, as Shelby experiences the pain of learning that she keeps disagreeing with the views of her loving and supportive parents. Fortunately, they stay by her side.

This film, also shown on PBS as part of their Point of View series, captures some telling moments in Lubbock’s recent history, such as struggles between teens and the school board, a visit to Lubbock from members of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church congregation (the “God Hates Fags” people), and a surprise twist in the life of a moral crusader. Visit www.incite-pictures.com to learn more about the movie and its upcoming screenings.
FAQS

Review by Duane Simolke, author of Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, for This Week In Texas.

I should admit that, during the early scenes of FAQS, I kept thinking I would not like the rest of the movie. The cover and the promotional material make it look interesting, but early on, the plot seemed doomed to trap itself in B-movie territory. The movie turned out nothing like what I expected, and I definitely enjoyed it.

Writer/director Everett Lewis puts his anger out for all to see, but then keeps surprising viewers with the compassion, creativity, and humanity of the characters who embody his anger. At times, the characters seem overly simplified, with all gays as purely good and all nongays as purely evil. However, Lewis seems to use that dichotomy as a way of forging characters that basically become gay superheroes. Within the context of a comic book environment, the characters then seem real, and the violence never becomes central to the film. In fact, most of the gay characters learn to see violence as weakness and “for the straights.”

Homeless runaway India (Joe Lia) almost becomes the victim of a gay bashing, before the drag queen Destiny (Allan Louis) rescues him and then makes him a part of her gay family. Though Destiny often looks silly in her costumes, she always deserves the name “queen,” and makes an imposing entrance the first time we see her. India quickly evolves from scared runaway to a heroic and sensitive renegade who finds creative ways to stand against hatred. The closing conversation between India and his boyfriend, filmed close-up, captures the movie’s message of rebellious, fearless, transforming love.

Visit This Week In Texas for my review of the new theatrical release Adam & Steve.
Dorian Blues

Review by Duane Simolke, author of Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, for This Week In Texas.

Dorian Blues demands that viewers love it. This movie deals openly with hatred and self-hatred, yet keeps coming up with silly situations and lovable characters. It all happens with a frantic momentum, taking the audience through young Dorian’s journey of self-acceptance as well as his struggle to find both a lasting romantic relationship and a better family relationship. His futile attempts at de-gaying himself provide laughs, but will also touch on some painful memories for many gay viewers.

Michael McMillian (TV’s What I Like About You) charms relentlessly as Dorian Lagatos, a self-titled “stereotypical gay” who lives in an anti-gay home, with a cartoon-like reactionary father, an annoyingly passive mother, and an all-American jock brother. His high school proves even more hostile toward gays, so Dorian rejoices when he finally escapes to New York City.

Inspired by his first openly gay friend, writer/director/producer Tennyson Bardwell made a likeable coming out story. And while the genre seems done to death, he gives it new life. He also chose good actors for all the parts, except that Nicky Lagatos (Lea Coco) looks much older than his older brother Dorian.

While the humor and the colorful cast propel the movie, some of the best scenes involve Dorian quietly talking to just one of the other characters. Still, it comes back to the comedy, and I hope Michael McMillian will find more good roles for his comedic talent.