COOL GAY STUFF is a news-watch hot-sheet promoting key LGBT highlights from around the Net, with thanks to Google, YouTube, & Blogger. It's a sampler of gay-themed or gay-friendly gems, with links to their original sources. But they are NOT only for gay guys & gals, so there's no blatant porn here nor NSFW stuff. However, please allow A FULL 30 SECS for our diverse Net sources to load properly.

Place your comments at the originating sites, they'd welcome your opinions. Links are provided.

Your host, novelist George Gardiner, opens with eye-candy moments plus details of his widely-praised historical romance"THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". It's a fiction/faction re-imagining of history's real-life m/m romance between ancient Rome's 'good emperor' Hadrian & his hunky 'Favorite', Antinous of Bithynia. Then 30 recent gay-friendly news reports, updated daily, precede a final line-up of interesting LGBT miscellany.

Disclaimer: This site makes no claims about the sexual orientation of any person mentioned in text, image, or presumed by inference.

EYE-CANDY MOMENT: Thor's new role ...

THOR's Chris Hemsworth reappears next March in director Ron Howard's action period blockbuster IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Global release in March 2015.

NOW MEET HISTORY'S FIRST 'OUT' SAME-SEX COUPLE : Hadrian Caesar & boyf Antinous ...

.... The two pages below are a few words from your host George Gardiner about his recently-published historical mystery/romance/erotica novel "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History". However, if you are a returning visitor then you should ...


HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - history's first 'out' lovers ...
... back & front cover of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & purchase a paperback or Kindle ebook.

READER'S OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" logged at global Amazon stores, especially the 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 :-

"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at :

" ... 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 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 :-

"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

NOTE: ***Amazon USA's book or ebook purchase website with its 18 reader's reviews (nine awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging romantic fiction suggested by real events - 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 etc available via online sources, including Lulu.

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 only online (not in street stores), CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select best delivery options ...

For an Amazon USA 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 :

Plus ...

The paperback is also available via mail-order at Diesel Bookstores, Powell's Books, & Vroman's Books, California. Use each store's online search to locate the title.

COOL GAY STUFF'S important navigation hint !! ...

... if you have arrived at this blog via BING, DuckDuckGo, or an archived link, you may see your chosen post immediately below this message (or be told the post is deleted). However, THE CURRENT MONTH'S 30 OTHER POSTS WILL HAVE BEEN DISPLACED OR REMOVED TO DO SO (making side-column videos & pics way off-topic). To restore things to their proper view, click on this blogspot's url address, in blue here :-

Everything will be magically restored to correct view ...


Monday, October 20, 2014

GAYS & THE BIBLE | An essay on Biblical authority ...

The Bible: A product of its time & culture
----  excerpts from an extended opinion-piece on the relevance of The Bible in contemporary discourse by Crystal Silva-McCormack, Guest Columnist at The El Paso Times (USA), 19 October 2014 :-

      "Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." [1 Peter, 2:18]

      This devastating passage comes from the Christian New Testament. This passage, like others from the Bible, has been used to justify slavery and other egregious actions.
      But, these passages stand contra to an ethic of love that most Christians feel Jesus taught and embodied. The fact is that the Bible is a product of its time and culture and some of its content does not always convey an ethic of love.
      Time, culture and context are crucial when interpreting biblical texts and not all Christians will agree on how to interpret these texts.
      So, for example, some might assume that Jesus never mentioned being gay or lesbian because he was simpatico with all that the Hebrew Bible said, while others might interpret his silence on the issue as evidence that it was not important to him.
      Also, some Christians might focus on Matthew 25 or Mark 12:29 in understanding what lies at the core of the Christian life. These two passages tell their readers that caring for the "least of these" and that love of God and neighbor are the most important things to God and to Jesus, not who someone falls in love with and/or who they long to marry.
      So, for Christians who use passages like these as a lens for understanding the rest of the Bible, supporting LGTQI persons is a given – a necessity, even.  .... '
----  see more of Crystal Silva-McCormack's persuasive opinion-piece at at :- 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

GAY CATHOLICS | Vatican Synod on the Family fails to accept Pope's draft ...

Catholic Synod: Pope Francis setback on gay policy
----  brief excerpts from a news report from the BBC by James Reynolds at BBC News Europe, 18 October 2014 :-

      'This synod shows he faces serious internal opposition.
      Pope Francis has suffered a setback as proposals for wider acceptance of gay people failed to win a two-thirds majority at a Catholic Church synod.
      A draft report issued halfway through the meeting had called for greater openness towards homosexuals and divorced Catholics who have remarried.
      But those paragraphs were not approved, and were stripped from the final text.
      The report will inform further debate before the synod reconvenes in larger numbers in a year's time.  ....
....  The two-week synod has revealed a fracture line in church opinion over how to adapt traditional church teaching on human sexuality towards 21st-Century attitudes, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome.
      Pope Francis had made a powerful appeal to traditionalists not to lock themselves within the letter of the law, but conservative cardinals and bishops carried the day at the end of the synod, our correspondent adds  .... '
----  see more of this controversial outcome for gay Catholics reported by James Reynolds at at :- 

Friday, October 17, 2014

GAY CINEMA | Has the era of furtiveness passed?

From Montgomery Clift to Lord of the Rings, gay is almost passe in the movies 
----  brief opening pars from a perceptive & substantial opinion-piece by movie reviewer Paul Byrnes at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 19 October 2014 :-

      'Attitudes towards gays and lesbians and their representation have shifted enormously since the dawn of television and cinema. Did you know that the Wicked Witch of the West is a gay and lesbian icon? Well, surely you knew that Ben Hur is a gay romance? The same goes for Lord of the Rings, of course. Frodo and Sam Gamgee are the first gay couple of Middle-earth, according to this reading.
      One of the beautiful things about movies is that no two people see the same one. I may look at Lawrence of Arabia and see a story of magnificent folly, the rise and fall of an unusual Englishman, but the film is more notorious in gay circles. "Florence of the Desert" is one of its nicknames, based on the idea that Peter O'Toole wore so much make-up he turned it into a drag show. ....
....  Before the 1960s, homosexuality was largely invisible in movies, except to those who were looking for it. As the 1995 documentary based on Vito Russo's book The Celluloid Closet made clear, gay audiences always saw things that straight audiences didn't. That was part of the allure of movies for gay men and women: the secret looks, the knowing glances.  .... '
----  see more of Paul Byrnes' interesting insights at at :- 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

GAY LIFE | "TIME" on the phenomenon of gay hook-up apps ...

Hook-up Apps Are Destroying Gay Youth Culture
---- selected pars from a substantial (if provocative) opinion-piece by Cody Freeman at TIME (USA), 16 October 2014 :-

      'Many dating apps help perpetuate what people scorn about LGBT:-  promiscuity, impersonal behavior, and compromised interpersonal connection.

      Notification: You have 12 new matches!  ....
.... Compared to traditional dating methods, these apps provide many advantages: you save time on bad blind dates and boring conversations, you can connect to someone anytime you feel lonely, and if you are rejected you simply move on to the next person.
      But because there are thousands of people at your fingertips, it also creates a society of oversharing, superficiality, and instant gratification. You are on the grid 24/7 and you must advertise yourself. And there’s a paradox of choice: be careful who you choose, because there might be someone better out there—always. ....
....   'Gay men want those perfect relationships that we see in romantic-comedies, instead of the ultimate fear of our generation: being alone. But there is nowhere that is not sex-based to connect. LGBT are still considered outcasts of society.
      Homosexuality, while popularized by the media, is still considered dangerous to teach to our kids. The way to solve this is through education.
      The history of talking about sexual orientation to children has been one of fear, regret, and ignorance. We need informed parents who understand how to support gay youth. We need college-aged LGBT to actively work their state’s capitals for gay marriage, harassment laws, and transgender equality. Most importantly, K-12 children should be taught about sexual orientation in an open, direct, and engaging way encouraging normalcy and assimilation. If we can openly discuss it, LGBT can defeat the sex-centered stereotype.  ... '
----  see this provocative essay by Cody Freeman at at :-

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS gets the Oscars ...

Neil Patrick Harris to Host the 2015 Oscars
----  the opening pars from a new report by Gregg Kilday at the Hollywood Reporter (USA), 15 October 2014 :-

      '....  While this will be the versatile performer's first stint as the Academy Awards show emcee, he's an established fixture when it comes to hosting awards shows. He's hosted the Emmy Awards twice and the Tony Awards four times, winning four Emmys for his Tony shows. He also has performed on the Oscar show. Harris will also have a rooting interest in one of this year's awards hopefuls, since he's currently appearing in David Fincher's Gone Girl.  ....
....  In announcing their choice of Harris, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be producing the show for the third year in a row, said in a statement, "We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars. We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage. To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage."  .... '
----  see more of Gregg Kilday's report at at :- 
----  & get a happy taste in the sidebar (opposite) of Neil's performance style while hosting the Emmy's last year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

GAY CATHOLICS | A shifting vision?

Bishops Say Gays Have Gifts To Offer Church
----  opening pars from an Associated Press news report by Nicole Winfield at Edge On The Net (USA), 13 October 2014 :-

      'VATICAN CITY -- Catholic bishops are showing unprecedented openness to accepting the real lives of many Catholics today, saying gays have gifts to offer the church and should be accepted and that there are "positive" aspects to a couple living together without being married.
      A two-week meeting of bishops on family issues arrived at its halfway point Monday with a document summarizing the closed-door debate so far. No decisions were announced, but the tone of the preliminary document was one of almost-revolutionary acceptance, rather than condemnation, with the aim of guiding Catholics toward the ideal of a lasting marriage.
      The bishops said gays had `'gifts and qualities" to offer and asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide them a welcoming place, "accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony."
      For a 2,000-year-old institution that believes gay sex is "intrinsically disordered," even posing the question is significant.  .... '
----  see more of this AP report by Nicole Winfield at at :- 
----  see too Tom Roberts' striking opinion-piece at New Republic (USA), 13 October 2014, at :- 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

HISTORICAL NOVELS | Their function ...

The art of the historical novel
----   your host, novelist George Gardiner, author of The Hadrian Enigma, introduces brief excerpts from a perceptive essay by Margaret Tomlinson published at the (very-non-gay) Statesman Journal (USA), 10 October 2014 :-

      'Do you relish a good historical novel? Why? ....  Readers want to live for a time right inside the world of the novel, and not just its physical world—we want to feel what the characters are feeling.  ....  Historical fiction, especially, can land us in the skins of people who conceived of the world in radically different ways than we do.  ....  Historical fiction also helps us understand how our world came to be the way it is, portraying the minds and hearts of people who, for better or worse, shaped it—people for whom we may feel a strange and unexpected sympathy.  ....
....  Historical novels roam widely through time and place, but their greatest art may be turning the past inside-out to illuminate our own world, not so greatly changed as we might think from that of our ancestors.  .... '
[Margaret Tomlinson’s website lists over 5,000 historical novels by time and place, and includes reviews of over 600.]
----  see more of Margaret's essay at www.statesmanjournal at :- 

Friday, October 10, 2014

GAY SURFERS | A new doco reveals all ...

The homophobic world of surfing caught on camera
----  the opening pars from a news report by Will Coldwell at The Guardian (UK/USA/Aust), 10 October 2014 :-

      'A new documentary shines a light on gay surfers around the world, and finds secret lives, struggles for sponsorship – and even suicides. When Thomas Castets sat down at his computer in Sydney four years ago and began writing a blog, he had one modest aim. “I thought it would be nice if I could find at least one other gay surfer out there,” he says. “And find out if they had some time to surf with me.”
      Within two weeks, 300 people had got in touch. Now his website,, is a thriving social network with almost 6,000 members, ranging from former world champions to people living in villages in West Africa. And as the membership grew – to include many who thought they were only gay surfer in the world – so did the stories. Surfers, including many professional ones, were writing to Castets to explain how they had felt compelled to keep their sexuality secret, faced homophobia in the sport or struggled in the surf industry as a result of coming out.
      Last year Thomas, along with Australian former state champion surfer David Wakefield – who chose not to pursue a surfing career out of a fear of being “found out” as gay – decided to go on a trip around the world to meet some of them. Their journey – captured in award-winning documentary Out in the Line-up, which premieres in the UK this week – sheds a light on the experiences of gay surfers around the world .... '
----  see more of Will Coldwell's revealing article at at :-
----  & check the prize-winning movie 'Out In The Line-Up' at its site of :-

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

TRUE LOVE | The stats which dispute your claims ...

Heartache by the Numbers and OkCupid's Founder Has Got Yours
Christian Rudder of OkCupid knows who’s been bad or good, and he really knows who’s lying about who they are and what they want. And he has the numbers to prove it.
---- excerpts from the opening of a revealing article about love's statistical realities, written by Will Doig at The Daily Beast (USA), 6 October 2014 :-

      '  ....  here's a seedy little fact: Men of pretty much any age are mainly attracted to 20-year-olds. It doesn't matter if the man is 20 himself, or 28 or 36 or 49. If we're to believe the [online] search habits of dating-website users, then men, no matter what age, want a woman two years out of high school.
      This isn't what men say they want, of course. Read the profile of a 36-year-old man, and he'll say he's looking for a mate between, oh, 26 and 42. And that may be. But when he rates OkCupid's female users in purely visual, ruthless "hot or not" style, as the website asks him to do, the 20 year olds win in a landslide.  ....
....  So begins the fascinating and depressing Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking, in which OkCupid cofounder and president Christian Rudder exposes us for the frauds we are. Armed with a container ship's worth of internal data from his own website—as well as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.—Rudder proves that we're a highly deceptive people, not to mention pervy, racist, and probably gay.
      Like a Kinsey Report for the big-data era, there's a gold mine of findings here to titter about.  .... '
----  see more of Will  Doig's fascinating revelations at at :- 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GAY RIGHTS | US Supreme Court acts by not acting ... ?

Did the US Supreme Court just legalize gay marriage?
----  the opening pars from a news-report opinion-piece by Ron Elving at NPR (National Public Radio) USA, 6 October 2014 :-

      'Technically, the Supreme Court on Monday did not establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.
      But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created — or acknowledged — will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.
      Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.
      As thousands more same-sex couples marry all over the country, this legal climate change becomes a kind of fait accompli.  .... '
----  see more of Ron Elving's report at at :- 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

GAY POETS | Twelve from across the centuries who resonate today ...

The 12 LGBTI poets that you have to read right now
----  the opening pars to an historical survey of key gay poets collated by Joe Morgan at Gay Star News (UK), 2 October 2014 :-

      'It's National Poetry Day in the UK, so for the second year in a row we pay tribute to the best LGBTI poets from history and today. Using only the written word, a poet can make you laugh, cry, think, or wonder with just a turn of phrase. There are many gay, lesbian and bisexual poets who have this ability, and rank as some of the best literary voices in history. So to celebrate National Poetry Day in the UK, Gay Star News decided to take a look at some of the most inspiring gay and bisexual poets from history and today.
      Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) In the year that marks the centenary of World War 1, you have to begin with Wilfred Owen. Arguably the most significant poet of the war, he is believed to have been gay. Many of his poems were inspired by the homoeroticism of the Romantic period, such as Maundy Thursday - a powerful description of male-male desire. Love letters were also discovered from between him and his mentor , the soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon.  .... '
'Anthem For Doomed Youth:
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
 The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.'
----  see more of Joe Morgan's report on 12 gay poets of note, male & female complete with brief sample texts, at at :-

GAYS & FAITH | A serious disconnect ...

The Church's Gay Obsession
----  selected pars from an extended opinion-piece by Frank Bruni at The New York Times (USA), 4 October 2014 :-

      'REPEATEDLY over the last year and a half, I’ve written about teachers in Catholic schools and leaders in Catholic parishes who were dismissed from their posts because they were in same-sex relationships and — in many cases — had decided to marry.
Every time, more than a few readers weighed in to tell me that these people had it coming. If you join a club, they argued, you play by its rules or you suffer the consequences.  ....
....  The rules of this particular club prohibit divorce, yet the pews of many of the Catholic churches I've visited are populous with worshipers on their second and even third marriages.  ....  The rules prohibit artificial birth control, and yet most of the Catholic families I know have no more than three children,  ....
....  The blunt truth of the matter is that during a period when the legalization of gay marriage has spread rapidly in this country, from just six states in 2011 to more than three times that number today, Catholic officials here have elected to focus on this one issue and on a given group of people: gays and lesbians.
      Their moralizing is selective, bigoted and very sad. It’s also self-defeating, because it’s souring many American Catholics, a majority of whom approve of same-sex marriage, and because the workers who've been exiled were often exemplars of charity, mercy and other virtues as central to Catholicism as any guidelines for sex. But their hearts didn't matter. It was all about their loins. Will the church ever get away from that?  .... '
----  see Frank Bruni's full sizzling report at at :-

Friday, October 3, 2014

NEW BOOK: Sarah Waters delivers 'The Paying Guests' ...

Sarah Waters, author, returns to lesbian romance and the war for her new novel
----  brief excerpts from an extended book review by Delia Falconer at The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), 3 October 2014 :-

      'Anyone who thinks that studying literature dulls a novelist's instincts hasn't read British author Sarah Waters. She wrote Tipping the Velvet — her 1998 lesbian romp through the music halls, streets and bedrooms of Victorian London – off the back of a PhD in post-1870s gay fiction.
      Since then she has established a brand of clever, beautifully researched and plotty historical novels that put the relationships between women at centre stage. Her stories often revive literary genres from the past, but from the popular rather than high literary canon, which has made Waters one of those rare novelists who attracts huge audiences and critical respect.  ....
....  This time the narrative form Waters borrows is the '50s domestic thriller, given a new, credible sense of urgency – both erotic and narrative – by the difficulties facing two women who want to love openly.
      We so often see this between-wars era through the eyes of wealthy men, but The Paying Guests, set intensely and grippingly in the thick of middle-class suburbia, leaves us with a fresh sense of women's lives beneath its oppressive surface as surprisingly volatile, wartime freedoms unforgotten and ready to burst through again.  .... '
----  see more of Australian author Delia Falconer's review of the latest Sarah Waters novel at at :- 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ridley Scott's newest blockbuster goes Biblical ...

Ridley Scott's forthcoming "EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS" shows us what a blockbuster should look like

      He wowed us with Blade Runner in the 70's, Alien in the 80's, Gladiator in the 90's, Kingdom of Heaven in the Noughties, and now is giving us a new take on an old Biblical motif :- Exodus: Gods and Kings. From the look of this new 3-minute trailer released today, UK film director Ridley Scott shows us again what master craftsmen he and his team can be.
      Using a wealth of artists, designers, and CGI experts, Scott recreates the era of Moses and ancient Egypt with a vizual believability which takes the breath away. In an era when blockbusters galore storm across our cineplexes, Scott's command as a film-maker stirs us to rare excitement with the utter mastery of a grand vision.
      Showing no evident gender issue inherent in the storyline, Scott's movie nevertheless appeals to a highly sensualized perception of being "a movie displaying classic vizual tropes" which are likely to appeal to those of tender sensibilities.That's nice-talk which means, folks, it looks pretty awesome! And Charlton Heston is nowhere to be found.
      EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS stars Christian Bale (Moses), Joel Edgerton (Ramses), Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Ben Kingsley, and Sigourney Weaver. It reaches global theaters on 12 December.
----  visit the powerful 3-min trailer in the sidebar.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

GAY TRANSITIONS | A spotlight on film festivals ...

After 25 years, is Tampa's gay film festival still relevant?
----  excerpts from a report about the status of gay events in a time of gay social transitioning, contributed by Steve Persall at the Tampa Bay Times (USA), 29 September 2014 :-

      'Twenty-five years ago, Tampa's shunned gay and lesbian community drew a line in the sand using a film festival. A cultural tide shifting toward the mainstream has smoothed the line since then, raising a silver anniversary question:-
      How can the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival stay relevant? Or even necessary?
      "If the gay struggle continues successfully there won't be gay bars or gay film festivals," said filmmaker, actor and author John Waters, who will appear Saturday at Tampa Theatre. "You simply won't need them anymore."
      Organizers of Tampa's festival don't believe their mission is accomplished. But the event's future greatly depends on reaching out to future generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives, people too young to remember why these festivals ever began.  ....
....  The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was founded as a rainbow-hued rallying call: "We're here, we're queer, we want movies about us. Get used to it."
      In some ways the world has, with marriage equality rights gaining momentum, and occasional reversals of anti-gay measures.  .... '
----  see more of Steve Persall's interesting report at at :- 
----  and note: The 25th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival includes movies, parties and events Friday through Oct. 11 at Tampa Theatre, St. Petersburg's Freefall Theatre and Museum of Fine Arts. Visit

Sunday, September 28, 2014


What Disney movies taught me about being gay
----  brief excerpts from an opinion-piece by Samantha Allen at The Frisky (USA), 28 September 2014 :-

      'Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” is almost certainly a lesbian, according to stand-up comic James Adomian, who lovingly refers to the iconic Disney diva in a recent viral bit as a “big dyke with a butch haircut.” Adomian, who is openly gay, doesn’t believe that Ursula deserves the negative treatment she receives in the movie. “Every time I’ve ever met a woman like that in my life,” he says, “she’s been awesome.”
      To an extent, Adomian is right: Ursula definitely has deep roots in queer culture. According to bonus materials on “The Little Mermaid” DVD, Ursula was modeled after the famous drag performer Divine, star of the original “Hairspray. ....
....  Disney movies have been quietly reinforcing cultural notions about what kinds of queerness are “bad” and what kinds of queerness are “good.” As staples of American culture, Disney films reveal latent attitudes about which kinds of queerness are still intolerable according to mainstream standards. Disney movies, then, implicitly teach us how to be gay within the confines of acceptability and respectability. With that in mind, here’s the best way to be gay according to the Disney canon:
1. Don’t be fat.  2. Don’t be effeminate or campy.  3. Stay in the closet.  ....
....  If Disney wants to start sending some different cultural messages about sexuality through their films, they need to shrug off negative stereotypes and start crafting some deliberate, authored queer characters. It’s time for a big dyke with a butch haircut to be the hero for once. .... '
----  see the full observant, unedited essay by Samantha Allen at at :-

Saturday, September 27, 2014


UN passes resolution on behalf of LGBT citizens around the globe
----  the opening pars from a newS report by Adam Howard at MSNBC (USA), 26 September 2014 :-

      'The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a landmark resolution for LGBT rights during its 27th session on Friday, the second-ever motion of its kind. The resolution, which was heavily promoted by the U.S., was sponsored by Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. Countries from every geographic region in the world joined as supporters.
      The action, which passed by a 25-14 vote margin after more than an hour of debate, condemns violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity across the globe.
      “We are pleased to see that today the international community is visibly and publicly upholding the rights of LGBT individuals, and thereby we demonstrate ourselves as a global community respecting the rights of all,” said Ambassador Keith Harper, who represents the U.S. on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
      Still, since the resolution comes with no enforcement capability — it simply calls for a report from the U.N. high commissioner on LGBT rights abuses — it will likely largely be seen as a symbolic gesture, albeit it one that the U.N. has largely failed to make in the past. This resolution is only the second time the U.N. has referred to LGBT rights as “human rights.”  ....
----  see more of Adam Howard's full report at at :- 
----  see too Robert Evans' related report at Reuters news service (Geneva) at :- 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

JIMMY CARTER, former US President, joins the debate ...

Jimmy Carter, Former US President: Jesus Christ Never Discriminated Against Anyone Gay (Video)
----  a post by Will Kohler at his always interesting site Back2Stonewall (USA), on 24 September 2014 :-

      'Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, addressed a standing room only crowd at Grand Rapids Community College drew cheers from the crowd this past  week when asked about LGBT rights and equality the 89 year old Carter replied “I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone.”.
      In 2012, Carter said he supported marriage equality for same-sex couples: “I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married ....”

----  see more of Will Kohler's current-affairs posts at his lively website at back2stonewall at :- 
----  & check the short video in the sidebar here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

STEPHEN FRY tells it like it is in 'MORE FOOL ME' ....

Stephen Fry's new memoir "More Fool Me" out this Fryday
----  brief excerpts from a news report by Tim Isaac at Big Gay Picture Show (UK), 22 September 2014 :-

      'Stephen Fry sits alongside the likes of Ian McKellen as one of the most beloved people in the pantheon of famous gay men and women. Now the polymath is letting us back into his life again as his latest memoir, More Fool Me, is due to be published in the UK on September 26th.  ....
....  More Fool Me takes us into one of the most tumultuous times in his life. As the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to water.  ....
....  Containing raw, electric extracts from his diaries of the time, More Fool Me looks at a man driven to create and to entertain – revealing a side to himself he has long kept hidden.
      Alongside the release of the book, Picturehouse Entertainment and Penguin Books are broadcasting Stephen Fry’s one man show at the Royal Festival Hall via satellite in high definition to over 280 cinemas in the UK on the 1st October at 7.30pm.
      The event will also be broadcast globally to over 130 cinemas across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, German, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Norway (although not all these countries will get it on October 1st). It will be the biggest global book launch event ever staged.   .... '
----  see more of Tim Isaac's report & its contact details at at :- 
----  see too a news report dated 16 October by www.i24news (Israel) at :-

Monday, September 22, 2014


Ben Wishaw (UK actor) cast as lead in BBC spy drama
----  brief excerpts from a UK tv programming report by Antonia Molloy at The Independent (UK), 18 September 2014 :-

      'UK actor Ben Wishaw has been cast in the lead role of forthcoming BBC thriller London Spy. The 33-year-old British actor, who played Q in Skyfall, is to take on the role of Danny in Tom Rob Smith’s first television drama series.
      Danny is an outgoing and pleasure-seeking romantic who becomes embroiled in the world of British espionage, after falling for the enigmatic Alex.
      But when Alex disappears, Danny must decide whether he is prepared to find out what has happened to him.
      Tom Rob Smith said: “Ben Whishaw is quite simply one of the best actors in the country. It's an extraordinary privilege, as a writer, to have him play the lead.”  ....
....  Whishaw’s past credits include Hamlet, Brideshead Revisited and Cloud Atlas. He is also set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the Queen frontman’s life and  is due to reprise his role as Q in Bond 24 in 2015.  .... '
----  see more of Antonia Molloy's report at at :- 

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Creating LGBT TV Characters, Telling LGBT Stories
----  a very brief excerpt from Part One of a substantial essay by Jim Halterman at XFINITY (USA), 17 September 2014 :-

      ' ....  But what is it like from the creative perspective of making television in the 21st Century? Are the studios and networks supportive of having LGBT characters in the development process of a series or episodes? Is it easier for bisexual or lesbian characters to get the green light? What about trans characters? Are there still battles being fought or can we hang it up and call it a day?
      To find out, I reached out via an email questionnaire to a group of working TV showrunners gay and straight  to find out what they’re experiencing in 2014 in terms of incorporating LGBT characters and stories into their work. And while some of the responses make you think we’re right where we need to be, others show that we’ve still got a way to go before having LGBT characters or stories no longer being a point of discussion or contention. They just are.
      The showrunners featured here are David Goyer (“Da Vinci’s Demons,” “Constantine), Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars), Hart Hanson (“Bones,” “Backstrom“), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries“), Jill Soloway (“Transparent,” “Six Feet Under“)Carter Covington (“Faking It“) and Bradley Bredeweg, speaking on behalf of himself and co-creator Peter Paige (“The Fosters“).  .... '
----  see more of this extended article by Jim Halterman at at :- 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEW POSTAGE STAMP | Tom of Finland is a major national export ...

Celebrating the Happy Hunks of TOM OF FINLAND
----  brief excerpts from a lively illustrated report by Andrew Wheeler at Comics Alliance (USA), 18 September 2014 :-

      'The Finnish postal service launched its most successful limited edition stamps of all time last week — featuring a pair of pertly muscular buttocks and a naked man being straddled by a biker. Advance orders for the stamp came in from 178 countries worldwide, and people lined up on launch day like the stamps had an Apple logo on them.
      The reason for the stamps’ appeal — beyond the objective appeal of buttocks — was the artist responsible, one of the nation’s most successful comic book creators: the legendary homoerotic artist Tom of Finland. In the first of a very important series of articles exploring comics’ treatment of hot dudes, which we’re calling ‘The New Hotness’, ComicsAlliance explores the work and legacy of Tom.
      Tom’s real name was Touko Laaksonen. He was born in Finland in 1920  ....  As Laaksonen later told an interviewer in a documentary about his work, Daddy And The Muscle Academy, his ideal of male eroticism was shaped by this world he grew up in. Almost all the young men he saw through his adolescence were healthy soldiers in finely-tailored uniforms, and many of them were infused with a glow of patriotic zeal that Laaksonen was drawn to.  .... '
----  see more of Andrew Wheeler's well-informed article at at :- 

NEW BOOK | A fresh view of a great (gay?) Renaissance artist ...

"MICHELANGELO" traces the tensions of Michelangelo's era in his work
----  brief excerpts from a substantial book review by Adam Kirsch at The Christian Science Monitor (USA), 17 September 2014 :-

      'Michelangelo Buonaroti (Italy, 1474-1564) was one of the first artists to demand to be treated not just as an artisan but as an aristocrat of the spirit.
      Michelangelo is one of those figures who occupy so central a place in Western culture as to almost cease to seem real; like Shakespeare or Beethoven, he is less a human being than the incarnation of our values and aspirations.  ....
....  His most famous works, from the "Pietà," completed when he was just 25, to the "Last Judgment," which he finished at age 67, revolve around the mystery of God in human form.
....  Yet as Miles J. Unger shows in Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces, his accessible and compelling new book about the artist, Michelangelo’s relationship to Christianity was anything but conventional.
      Born in Florence in 1474, he died just before his 89th birthday, long enough to see the High Renaissance and then the Lutheran Reformation work deep transformations in the Christian imagination. Employed mainly by a series of popes – the wealthiest and most aesthetically advanced patrons of art in Renaissance Italy – Michelangelo participated in and helped to shape the strange fusion of the profane and the spiritual that defined the Catholic Church in his era.
      It is no coincidence that the artist’s most important patron, Pope Julius II – who commissioned Michelangelo to create the Sistine ceiling, as well as his own magnificent tomb – took his name not from any Christian saint but from Julius Caesar.  .... '
----  see more of Adam Kirsch's informed review of Miles J. Unger's "Michelangelo" at at :- 

Monday, September 15, 2014

"THE RIOT CLUB" promises a bevy of upper-class Brit debauchees ...

THE RIOT CLUB Is Your Next Favorite Pretty Boys Flick
----  excerpts from a Toronto Film Festival review by Jada Yuan at Vulture (Canada), 14 September 2014 :-

      'The Queen ought to give out medals for movies like The Riot Club, which does humanity the great service of gathering virtually every hot, young British actor of the moment on screen at once.
....  The Riot Club, we're told in flashback, was founded to honor a legendarily libidinous Oxford student, Lord Riot, who died in the act of screwing his professor's wife. Ever since, the club has culled ten members from the best families and best schools to wreck mayhem daily, but especially in an annual debauched dinner where they engorge on a ten-bird roast; imbibe on as much alcohol as they can stomach, before vomiting and imbibing more; and tear to shreds the luckless establishment that has been foolish enough to host them.
      At the start of this school year, though, the club finds itself short two members, and starts secretly scanning the incoming First Years for recruits.
      Alistair, played by Sam Claflin (Finnick in The Hunger Games), is an obvious choice: His older brother was Riot Club president. Alistair, though is a giant prick, the kind of underlooked, angry sod who will correct a mugger's use of acronyms while he's getting mugged. Miles, played by Max Irons (hunky son of Jeremy Irons and star of The Host), is the more sympathetic audience stand-in. Add to the lineup Douglas Booth (Noah), Ben Schnetzer (The Book Thief), Matthew Beard (An Education), Freddie Fox (the upcoming Frankenstein with James McAvoy), Olly Alexander (God Help The Girl), and newcomers Jack Farthing and Josh O'Connor. It's hard to tell the difference between The Riot Club movie poster and a British GQ spread.  .... '
----  see more of Jada Yuan's report on The Riot Club at at :- 
----   "The Riot Club" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6th September & opens in the UK on 19th Sept.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Religions'Acceptance of Gays & Lesbians Increases
----  the opening pars from a news post by Trudy Ring at The Advocate (USA), 13 September 2014 :-

      'While news stories often note churches' increasing openness to gays and lesbians, a Duke University study offers numbers to confirm that trend. The latest set of data in Duke’s ongoing National Congregations Study showed a notable increase from 2006 to 2012, the university announced Thursday — essentially confirming a trend observed in news reports.
      In 2012, 48 percent of the congregational leaders surveyed said a gay or lesbian couple in a committed relationship would be welcomed as full-fledged members, up from 37.4 percent in 2006. The proportion of congregations that open all volunteer positions to out gays and lesbians increased from 17.7 percent to 26.4 percent.
      “The increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians is a well-known trend in America,” said study director Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology at Duke, in a press release. “Churches are no exception.”  .... '
----  see more of Trudy Ring's news report at at :-

Thursday, September 11, 2014


US: New Study Finds Hollywood Rife With Homophobia
----  excerpts from a news post by Cec Busby at Gay News Network (Australia), 11 September 2014 :-

      '5,700 members of Hollywood’s leading actor’s union have been surveyed to discover if homophobia and discrimination still exist for LGBTI actors.
      The survey was conducted by UCLA’s LGBT think tank, the  Williams Institute and funded by the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund.
      More than a third of those surveyed said they had witnessed disrespectful treatment of LGBTI people on set. While one in eight of non-LGBT performers reported witnessing discrimination against LGBT people, including anti-gay comments by crew, directors and producers.
      The study’s authors suggested out LGBTI performers were often disadvantaged when it came to castings and searching for roles. ....
....  The study also found that LGBT performers are less likely than heterosexual performers to have agents, “which may put LGBT performers at a disadvantage when looking for work.  .... '
----  see more of Cec Busby's post at at :- 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NEW MOVIE about an important Italian film-maker ...

Willem Dafoe in First Trailer for Abel Ferrara's 'PASOLINI' 
----  the opening pars from a film festival report by Brad Brevett at Rope of Silicon (Canada), 7 September 2014 :-

      'Set to have its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, the first trailer for Abel Ferrara's Pasolini, starring Willem Dafoe as the Italian filmmaker, poet and novelist Pier Paolo Pasolini, has premiered ahead of its upcoming Venice Film Festival premiere.
      The film takes a look at the final days of Pasolini's life and the confusion surrounding his death in 1975 as he struggles with the censors as he is about to finish Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, pausing for an interview with a journalist that allows him to reflect on ideas of sex and politics, having lunch with his beloved mother with whom he shared a house, welcoming friends and former lovers and his obsessive predilection for cruising the nocturnal streets of Rome in search of furtive sex [via].  .... '
----  see more of Brad Brevett's report at at :- 
---- and check the movie's international trailer in the sidebar opposite

Sunday, September 7, 2014

NEW GENDER STUDIES BOOK of public interest ...

NEW GENDER STUDIES BOOK | "Male Sex Work and Society" edited by V. Minichello & J. Scott (2014)
----  excerpts from a press release by Harrington Park Press (Columbia University, USA), 7 September 2014 :-

      'This new collection explores for the first time male sex work from a rich array of perspectives and disciplines. It aims to help enrich the ways in which we view both male sex work as a field of commerce and male sex worker themselves. 
      Leading contributors examine the field both historically and cross-culturally from fields including public health, sociology, psychology, social services, history, filmography, economics, mental health, criminal justice, geography, and migration studies, and more. 

Editors :
      Victor Minichiello, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health & Human Biosciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne (Australia),
       John Scott, PhD, is Professor, Faculty of Law, School of Justice, Queensland Institute of Technology (Australia). He is an internationally recognized sexual health and public health researcher.  .... '
----  see more about this book at the publisher's web site at :-

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

GAY-THEMED MOVIE | "VICTIM", a history-making moment in cinema ...

GAY MOVIE HISTORY | "VICTIM" (UK 1961) now available on BluRay
----  excerpts from the Wiki entry about a groundbreaking dramatic movie, 2 September 2014 :-

      'Victim is a 1961 British suspense film directed by Basil Dearden, starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It is notable in film history for being the first English language film to use the word "homosexual". The world premiere was on 31 August 1961.[1] On its release in the United Kingdom it proved highly controversial and was initially banned in the United States.  ....  
....  Storyline: A successful barrister, Melville Farr (Dirk Bogarde) has a thriving London practice. He is on course to become a Queen's Counsel and people are already talking of his being appointed a judge. He is apparently happily married to his wife, Laura (Sylvia Syms).
      Farr is approached by "Boy" Barrett (Peter McEnery), a younger working class man with whom Farr shared a romantic but asexual relationship. Farr rebuffs the approach, thinking Barrett wants to blackmail him about their relationship. What Farr does not know is that Barrett himself has fallen prey to blackmailers who know of their relationship.  ....
....  Victim became a highly significant film. Many believe it played an influential role in liberalising attitudes (as well as the laws in Britain over the subsequent decade) regarding homosexuality.[5] It was not a major hit but by 1971 had earned an estimated profit of £51,762.[2] 
      Victim was released in the USA on 26th August in the BluRay format as a B&W transfer made from the original film elements in its theatrical 4:3 aspect ratio. - See more at:
----  Victim's Amazon sales page for US-region purchases is at :-
----  see too more about Victim at Wikipedia at :-

Saturday, August 30, 2014


"PRIDE" Picks-up Glowing Reviews Ahead its UK Release
---- brief excerpts from a new movie review by David Hudson at Gay Star News (UK), 29 August 2014 :- 

      ' ....  Based on a true story, Pride is set during the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is Prime Minister and her government is at loggerheads with the National Union of Mineworkers over proposed coal pit closures. Unions, politicians, community groups and celebrities speak out in support of the miners, but backing also arrives from an unexpected quarter. A small band of committed LGBT activists in London decide to try and raise funds for the strikers and their families, and the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) is born.
      However, when the rag-tag collection of gays and lesbians approach the union to donate their money, they find that the organization is embarrassed to accept their support. Undeterred, they instead decide to target one specific mining town in South Wales and donate their money directly.
      The story is told largely through the eyes of one of the group: teenager Joe (George Mackay), who becomes both politicized by the group’s aim and finds camaraderie amongst his new gay friends. .... '
----  see more of David Hudson's review of PRIDE at at :- 
----  and check the trailer of  PRIDE in the sidebar opposite. The movie is likely to be released in the USA and other global indie cinemas as time progresses.

... now COOL GAY STUFF shifts to mixed miscellany in both columns ...

... the pages below in this column offer trailers of recent gay-interest movies & independent reviews of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA ...

... then follows copyright details & a bibliography of academic literature consulted as research for THE HADRIAN ENIGMA.

The pages in the side-column offer miscellaneous gay or m/m related links & sources.



.... twenty new movies from international sources, updated regularly

"THE IMITATION GAME" .. gay cryptologist Ian Turing in WWII

NEW GAY CINEMA | Indie eroticism ...

GAY-THEMED MOVIE with two major artists ...

"FUTURO BEACH" trailer (Portugese language) ...



COOL GAY MOVIE | "BOYS" (Netherlands 2014) ...


COOL GAY MOVIE | "IN BLOOM" now on dvd ...

NEW GAY MOVIE | "Burning Blue" (USA)...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...

BURNING BLUE is a romantic drama which tells the story of two Navy fighter pilots who fall in love while living under the US Military Services' former "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" policy.

COOL GAY MOVIE at Berlin Film Festival 2014 ...


Gay comedy "LOVE OR WHATEVER" arrives on video in May ...

COOL GAY MOVIE for 2014 ...


COOL GAY MOVIE about high school love ...








Published on YouTube 16 July, 2013 :
Various lives intersect in and around a West Hollywood motel in this kaleidoscopic comedy about sex, love, and the meaning of life.
The characters include a medical student (Matt Riddlehoover), his extrovert boyfriend (Andrew Callahan), an adulterous actress (Starina Johnson), her lover (Heather Horton), and a dutiful husband (Phil Leirness) whose wife (Amy Kelly) wakes to find she has a penis.
Available November 12 on DVD/VOD from TLAgay:


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 :-

THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...

Gaius Suetonius, a bit of a muckraking biographer, tells this story about an investigation into the sudden and unexplainable death of the youth, Antinous, by apparent drowning in the Nile during an annual festival of the death and resurrection of the god Osiris. The small group of investigators commissioned by Caesar Hadrian has two days to learn how he came to be found in the river dead. The path to this knowledge is difficult, involved, often contradictory and definitely dangerous as the investigators follow leads full of red herrings and mislaid people and things. At the heart of what they learn is how the boy came to be the eromenus to Hadrian’s erastes, a relationship between a mature man and a young one entering his career that was at least mentor-mentee and likely erotic. It seems that Hadrian was looking for such a companion and found it in Antinous, but from there the enigma stretches. A Roman man was not supposed to engage in an equal love relationship but only dominate the eromenus, but from the start the two men’s relationship was much more, and this fact if revealed could damage the Empire.

If you are expecting a nice neat Hercule Poirot detective story, let that go. This murder investigation, if that is the crime that took place, is far more challenging for both the investigators and the book’s readers. The solution does not even come to light until almost too late, during the investigation report. Rather than being a spoiler, I offer you the foreknowledge of a much more skillful mental workout. Perhaps the greater mystery is why the emperor asked Suetonius to lead the inquiries, as the latter is known for leaving no salacious stone unturned in his research and writing. Does Hadrian really want to know what happened to his lover? Does he really want everyone to see the seamy side of his court?

The structure of the novel is a series of interviews with witnesses and suspects about the days before and immediately after the young man’s death. In seeking background about Antinous, Suetonius and his fellows explore his life and relationships before becoming Hadrian’s companion. The individuals who supply this intelligence come at it from a number of quite different perspectives, with enough gaps between them to offer ambiguity. You will find yourself guessing “whodunit” and changing your mind several times as you follow the investigation and meet other players in the story.

I found that starting at the point of the lovers’ first night together I began to feel a sense of the tragic nature of their erastes-eromenus compact. It is understood that it cannot last more than a few years, but since in this case love enters the equation, the tragic nature of Antinous’s life starts to permeate all succeeding events. I found this quite moving and that it added a layer of anxiety as I read. As mentioned above, this is a novel about the nature of love. One aspect of gay male romance is constant threat to happiness and fulfillment, but this is far from just being a gay romance. The central characters are both men, but loves of other kinds make their mark throughout. There is family, marital friendship and sexual love, and the tension comes when the masculinist nature of Roman culture interferes and invalidates it. The subtext, as the author told me, is the same as we face now, when romantic relationships are more broadly defined but still not part of the heart of our societies.

One aspect of this novel I found pleasing was the mix of archaic and modern terms. Readers sometimes balk at modern slang, but when the very essence of a novel is that everything in it is an implicit translation, it is absurd to say that there would not have been a slang counterpart in the ancient language. Further, Gardiner confines his slang to the appropriate witnesses, those who would have used slang. That the words eromenus and boy-toy are in the same paragraph made perfect sense to me.
This novel will stick with readers for some time, its many subtle undertones drifting up and down in contemplation. It is also simply a good mystery novel. You will feel engaged and challenged and you will find you had encountered every little detail at some point in the book. No surprises, that is, if you were paying attention.

---- see more of Nan Hawthorne's work at her blog at :-

Nan Hawthorne, Historical Novelist

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 :


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 :-


Aleksandr Voinov of Speak Its Name reviews my novel ...

A specialist review site for gay historical fiction, Speak Its Name has reviewed The Hadrian Enigma. I am told Speak Its Name receives 700 hits a day from readers of this genre, making it a prominent source of opinion for readers of gay historical fiction. Speak Its Name pursues a tough line in its reviewing standards. It says it takes gay history, history in general, & the quality of the writing into critical consideration.

Aleks Voinov, an author in his own stead & one of the site's key reviewers, has given the book a satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5, by which it defines the book as VERY good in Speak Its Name's eyes.

As a reviewer Mr. Voinov finds a great deal to admire and many things to critique. But that's the way it goes in literary criticism, folks. Check Speak Its Name's fascinating website & review lists, plus read Mr. Voinov's full 2-page critique at :-


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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's COOL GAY STUFF ...

Thanks you for visiting my site, even though it's about far more than m/m romance or gay entertainment, isn't it?

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New entries are posted almost daily. Please come back soon. Immediately below this bye-bye lies the bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its times, & historical personalities.