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Titanic: Forbidden Stories Hollywood Forgot and Other Gay Canon Stories of Gay History, Queer Culture, Leather, Bearotica, and Gay Studies, with an Erotic Screenplay Paperback – January 10, 1999
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"Jack Fritscher is undoubtedly a masterful writer of gay fiction, but he is first and foremost an extraordinary American writer." -- Nancy Sundstrom, Independent Publisher Magazine
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From the Publisher
In this "cineplex" book of "Fritscher Features," Hollywood finally tells the true stories hidden in the coded subtexts of cinema! "Eros" meets "style" in these eleven stories where sex and brains and worlds collide.
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Hot and very creative man to man action..a real fantasy come to life in the pages. The scenes on the Titanic with the hunky engine crew is amazing. A bit of romance and nostalgia as well.
This is the fourth collection of Jack Fritscher's short stories, collected from three decades of sensual erotica. But perhaps this time, more than in any other of the collections, "Titanic" displays his razor sharp wit. The temptation to just list line after memorable line in this batch of stories is tough to resist.
Tied loosely together by a Hollywood concept, "Titanic" is also something else that many never expect from a collection of Fritscher's magazine work. There is very little leathersex involved here. Plenty of man on man horseplay, more than a few uncircumcised folks (the book could just as easily been subtitled Memories Of Headcheese) and lots of hypermasculine images, but the ropes and the dungeons are pretty much kept locked in the projection booth. That doesn't make the pieces any less wild, in fact, it enhances the craziness of a story like "CBGB 1977" and reminds you that the 70's in New York weren't all boogie nights at Studio 54.
Yes, the sex is fast and dirty, and often, funny. Funny in a way that suggests whimsy, which is pretty much a lost art in American humor, where a fart joke is easier to insert than a set up for a pattern of good belly laughs. To have a starlet so shamelessly exploit her he-she sexiness (in "Aqua-Nymph") will make many squirm in the fact that they're becoming more than a little female icon worshipping suckler, all while looking for Fritscher's usual cask of rough players. Think Bette Davis. Or even Cher. Not leather. Glitter. ...
OKAY! You want the nasty? Read "Buck's Bunkhouse Discipline: The Screenplay." (You thought no-one concerned themselves about porn film plotting!) "Three Bears In A Tub," which attempts to answer the question of how much sex can you fit into a single sentence. It's a gasping run-on of he-men in the wild for reel men in the big screen world. There's not a story here among "Titanic's" dozen that won't leave you with a 16cc smile. I'll indulge myself with one more Jack Fritscher quote to close this review: "Most people prefer masculine men...masculine in the best sense, not macho in the worst."
This novel is reviewed with praise at several Titanic websites for both its accuracy as well as for its rather daring angle in being the first book to deal with gay men on Titanic as passengers, pursers, and stokers.
This story, which is a QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT READER, is a metaphor of what gay people must do to save themselves in a time of Aids and fundamentalist politics.
As such, it is true to the legend of Titanic which has always been about progress and how ALL OF US, STRAIGHT AND GAY, MUST SAVE OURSELVES IN A TIME OF TERROR that changes everything.
The tone of the book is romantic and will be culturally challenging in a good way to those readers who have never thought about all the gay people who served on Titanic. This is their FORBIDDEN STORY that till now they were NOT ALLOWED TO TELL.
It's a charming hoot to read how MOLLY BROWN interacts with the gay men on board! And to read how Molly, handing out her ballgowns, teaches "survival at all costs."
Fritscher is also the author of the nonfiction books, "Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth" and "Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera."
"Titanic" is recommended for those readers open to cross-cultural experiences. Actually, Fritscher's "Titanic," despite the ending, has a fun, musical-comedy feel appropriate to the way the passengers felt as the celebrated ship set sail.
Not something I'm going to put on my coffee table.