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A Few Good Men, science fiction with a gay hero

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:52 am - December 20, 2012.
Filed under: Bibliophilia / Good Books,Patriotism

We gay men, like our straight counterparts,appreciate seeing images of ourselves in literature and film that correspond to a more idealized version of ourselves, not necessarily perfectly idealized, to be sure, but at least characters who have a (somewhat) noble demeanor and show a bit of derring-do — and maybe manifest a few of our flaws.  All too often alas, in literary fiction, we see too many gay men depicted as whiners, victims of an unfair society or, in mainstream and science fiction, as lonely people who live apart from their peers, rarely connecting with others and never succeeding in romance.

In Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men, a science fiction novel set in a dystopian future on earth, , however,we have a gay hero who very much has that derring-do and even has a few of flaws common to most mortals, a man who suffers the loss of one lover, but finds in another both the companionship that we all crave and the encouragement that we all need.

You won’t be able to buy a hard copy until March 5, but buy and download an e-book today or pre-order a copy on Amazon.  The e-book may, I understand, still have a few typographical errors.  So, if you want to read the perfectly proofed version, you’ll have to wait a few months.

A_Few_Good_Men_with_lettering

The book is a fast and a fun read. After receiving an advance copy electronically, I printed out various pages and read them as I did my cardio. So engaged was I in the book that I often found myself working out longer than I had intended.

The story moves quickly along from the outset when our hero, Lucius Dante Maximilian Keeva, or Luce, escapes from the secret prison, Never-Never at the bottom of the ocean. He was born to the aristocracy, the son of “Good Man”, each of whom runs a seacity, little fiefdoms built in the midst of the Atlantic.

Before his escape, he had tried to take his life and wondered why the wardens worked so hard to keep him alive. Given the tensions with his father, he thought the old man would be content just to see him die.

He talks constantly with Ben, whose older brother Samuel manages the family estate. Theirs is no ordinary form of communication. They had been lovers until Luce killed him to spare him the pain of further torture.  His late lover’s voice will guide him even after his escape.

Once a free man, Luce learns that both his father and brother have been killed, yet when he returns home to claim his own, he finds that things aren’t exactly as he imagined they would be when he wielded power.

As a Good Man himself, he starts to wonder how his late brother, when he briefly served as Good Man, came to act more like their father, even in his choice of bedroom decor and at the interest Samuel’s oldest son, Nathaniel takes in him.

This interest grows into much more than a friendship.  Soon Luce joins us with a secret sect to which his late lover and current “squeeze” belong.  Until Nat started teaching him about Usaians, Luce thought they were just part of a “religious sect” with “roots in a mythologizing of the old country that used to occupy much of the North American territories.”

In short, they want to restore the republic. Luce soon learns that many of his household staff had joined the movement and were named for the Founders, his first lover in honor of Benjamin Franklin, his second for the under-appreciated Revolutionary War general Nathaniel Greene.

A Few Good Men is thus the perfect book for gay patriots, a story about two men who fall in love while joining a rebellion that honors the Founders of our republic.  Not just that, it’s a fun-faced read, perfect to download to your kindle or iPad to entertain you while you work out.

The book’s strength is not just its patriotic themes, but that it tells the story of a gay man who is willing to risk his life for his beloved and his beliefs.  These gay men are portrayed not as whiny weaklings bemoaning their fact, but as confident leaders, willing to take charge of their destiny.  And Hoyt’s gay protagonist, instead of being a victim, becomes a hero, finding both a man to love and a cause to reverence.

A Few Good Men is a book to savor — and to celebrate.

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23 Comments

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I’ll have to see if my library carries it. (have to cut back on expences.)

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 20, 2012 @ 9:11 am - December 20, 2012

  2. Livewire, once it is fully released the price for the e-book will be about $6. I read the eARC and finished it off the other day. I was going to tweet Bruce to ask if he or Dan had read this yet, but got too busy at work and it fell out of my brain.
    For a full take on Nat read the Darkship Thieves, and Renegades as well. Sarah references a book to come in this one with those characters as well. Sarah has some 1000 years of history planned out for books in this universe.

    Comment by JP Kalishek — December 20, 2012 @ 10:30 am - December 20, 2012

  3. I’ll have to check it out. Hopefully any intimate scenes don’t fall in the “Need a copy of Grey’s anatomy to figure out what they’re doing.” I’ve found in Sci-fi. Wild Cards was so bad I just skipped those scenes. :P

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 20, 2012 @ 10:48 am - December 20, 2012

  4. [...] AT GAY PATRIOT, A REVIEW of Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men. [...]

    Pingback by Instapundit » Blog Archive » AT GAY PATRIOT, A REVIEW of Sarah Hoyt’s A Few Good Men. Plus, a fitness bonus! “After receiving… — December 20, 2012 @ 10:54 am - December 20, 2012

  5. Nothing you would worry about in giving the book to a teen or even a smart tweener. The character is gay, and that is mostly incidental.

    also if one is not gay and is worried they’d be put off because of it … no, just read it and it fills in some stuff referred to in her other books.

    Comment by JP Kalishek — December 20, 2012 @ 11:18 am - December 20, 2012

  6. Cool. It’s not the ‘icky gay sex’ thing. It’s the ‘yawn, ok two people having sex, get back to the plot’ thing :-)

    I watched Torchwood, Miracle Day and was unscarred after all.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 20, 2012 @ 11:58 am - December 20, 2012

  7. Live, did you ever see the Torchwood episode “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang?” It had more scenes of dudes making out than that MTV show, “Dudes Making Out.”

    Comment by V the K — December 20, 2012 @ 12:21 pm - December 20, 2012

  8. And to note, as per JP’s comment (#5), the hero’s sexuality is incidental to his character. And there is, as per The_Livewires’s comment #3, no graphic description of sex scenes.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — December 20, 2012 @ 12:25 pm - December 20, 2012

  9. re#6 My classroom is one of the gathering areas for our GLBT et. kids at lunch and when one of kids said “that is way gay” i asked him “what the hell?” and he told me, not the cool kind of gay where you like guys but the weird kind where you like “my little pony”..for some reason it restored my faith in my kids

    Comment by Burninghiram (Piper) — December 20, 2012 @ 12:40 pm - December 20, 2012

  10. @V that was one of Donna’s favourite episodes actually.

    And there was more than kissing in Miracle Day.

    So much that RTD apologized for Jack just being with men, since it was a first look for many Americans at Torchwood and Jack. I quipped in the comments, “Just give us large amounts of Eve Myles nudity in the next one and we’ll call it even.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 20, 2012 @ 1:18 pm - December 20, 2012

  11. On a related note, got my first royalty check from my eBooks today. Not a lot of money, but still…. people paying to read my work. Teh Awesome!

    Comment by V the K — December 20, 2012 @ 8:55 pm - December 20, 2012

  12. Sounds like my kind of reading.
    Right now I’m not buying a thing; getting ready to move out of California.
    But when I’m settled in Utah I will definitely pick this book up.
    If it is as good as the review, I’ll be getting more from Sarah A, Hoyt, too.
    Thanks.

    Comment by Nan G — December 20, 2012 @ 9:00 pm - December 20, 2012

  13. Dan —

    You READ when you work out??!?!?
    Does this happen anywhere else? I have not seen this before.

    Comment by mike — December 20, 2012 @ 9:18 pm - December 20, 2012

  14. Great review will have to check it out. The only other mainstream SF novel I can recall with an overtly gay protagonist is “Ethan of Athos” by Bujold. Again his sexuality is purely incidental (although essential to the plot).

    Comment by Jhon Doh — December 21, 2012 @ 6:10 am - December 21, 2012

  15. It’s probably just as well that I haven’t jumped into this thread (up to now) to ask if she wrote the hero as a top or bottom.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 21, 2012 @ 1:40 pm - December 21, 2012

  16. That would be “Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords,” ILC.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 21, 2012 @ 1:47 pm - December 21, 2012

  17. When I did my NaNoWriMo project, I made two deliberate choices with gay characters. 1.) I had a subplot involving a gay character and deliberately limited it to <5% of the total book, just to see if that amount of Teh Ghey overwhelmed the rest of the book. 2.) Decided one of my major characters was gay, but never explicitly revealed it, just to see if it made me write him any differently.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2012 @ 3:22 pm - December 21, 2012

  18. Interesting points, V.

    I know Mercedes Lackey’s Last Herald Mage series caught some attention because Vanyel was gay. Didn’t matter to me, and it was funny that his morals kept him more celebate than a lot of the straight characters in her other books.

    In the Dresden Files, it was a bit of fun at Harry’s expence that his (half) brother’s feeding methods made being a hair dresser ideal for non-lethal feeding, and since he and Harry were living together and no one knew they were brothers, Thomas’ clientel thought they were gay.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 21, 2012 @ 3:33 pm - December 21, 2012

  19. In my ‘Worlds Apart’ series, I’ve kept the relationship between David and Trajan very deliberately ambiguous because ‘Are they, or aren’t they?’ is so much more interesting.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2012 @ 6:19 pm - December 21, 2012

  20. 1. If the main character’s homosexuality is “incidental”, why make him gay in the first place?

    2.”… the cool kind of gay…” What’s so cool about being gay?

    3. “On a related note, got my first royalty check from my eBooks today. Not a lot of money, but still…. people paying to read my work. Teh Awesome!” V the K is a writer? Now THAT’S kool! And congrats on the checks, V!

    Comment by Seane-Anna — December 22, 2012 @ 10:42 am - December 22, 2012

  21. 1. If the main character’s homosexuality is “incidental”, why make him gay in the first place?

    Thanks for the congrats. I can’t speak for everybody who writes, but I try to build my characters with layers of complexity, and they’ll have a lot of incidental characteristics some of which don’t even figure into the plot, but make the characters more multi-dimensional.

    Comment by V the K — December 22, 2012 @ 12:20 pm - December 22, 2012

  22. Seane-Anna,

    For the same reason you make a character straight, or left handed or blond… it’s an aspect of the character which colours his worldview.

    If Harry Dresden wasn’t straight, the tension between him and his apprentice Molly wouldn’t be an issue, but it would lead to all sorts of Foe-yay between him and Nicodemeus.

    If Vanyel Askeveron wasn’t Shay’ch, then he’d not have the upbringing he has.

    If either Inego or the Man in Black were really left handed, the duel would have ended quicker.

    [insert creepy paedophile vibe]If Dumbledore had been straight, Herminoe might have been the hero… :P

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 24, 2012 @ 8:43 am - December 24, 2012

  23. Forgot. If John Carter had been blond, everyone would have assumed he was a Thern. Then the opposite for Carson Napier.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 24, 2012 @ 8:44 am - December 24, 2012

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