Each time we put a collection together we advertise the title in advance for those authors who like a theme as well as a deadline to get themselves writing. With lyrics that go something like: “He kissed me in a place where I’ve never been kissed before, he kissed me in a way that I wanna be kissed for ever more”, you’d think And then he kissed me would attract upbeat stories. Lots of room there for everything from tales of modern love and gay marriage to 60s fantasies about go-go boys or drag divas on podiums, or even some tongue-in-cheek erotic satire.
While we did get love stories, “happy endings”, and even a genuine bee-hived, lip-synched performance of the song itself (thanks Shaun), some of the submissions were quite dark, particularly from several of the younger contributors. The world they’re exploring has its own unique challenges and risks. It’s all too easy to assume that around forty years after the birth of the gay rights movement in this country, things would be a lot easier now for gay kids coming of age. The result is a broad mix – covering a wide diversity of characters and relationships. This time it’s also very much an Australia-wide collection with a couple of pieces set way out in the bush, a number from up north, plus several exploring the depths of outer suburbia, far from the inner-city glitz and glamour. I guess this demonstrates yet again the diversity of gay lives in this country.
We also have a couple of wanderlust tales, stories of not-so-innocent Aussies abroad: Ian MacNeill’s adventures in Arabia and Barry Lowe’s unique take on cultural tourism and cures for altitude sickness which qualifies as our (possibly anyone’s) first piece of gay fiction set in Tibet.
We hope you’ll find each of these ten Aussie gay tales as rewarding a read as we did.
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