I have an idea for a story I want to write. I’m calling it ‘The Time-Traveler’s Boyfriend.’ It will be my first stab at LGBT genre fiction. It was inspired by ‘The Time-Traveler’s Wife‘ which is a book that won oodles of awards and I was actually excited to read until I actually read it and it turned out to be a mawkish, ham-fisted soap opera.
“I can do better than this,” I thought, and I came up with an idea for countering the “Time-Travelers Wife’ with something that would be cheeky and fun, rather than cruel and tragic.
I also realized that a lot of the book would be set in 1970′s San Francisco. Knowing not much about the city (been there maybe a half-dozen times) and little about the era, I began looking for source material, and came upon recommendations for Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, which I was told was The Seminal Work of gay literature in that period. I Kindled a copy.
The barrier for classic gay literature is even lower than the bar for Feminist Scifi.
There’s barely any plot, just a series of cliches. Most of the book is just snatches of dialog, often without attribution so you can’t tell which character is talking. The Michael Tolliver character who is supposed to be one of the greatest gay characters in literature does nothing but make catty chatter and sleep around. The rest of the characters are ciphers that Ayn Rand would have found shallow and monodimensional.
So, the upshot is… I read one book that I was told was great but actually sucked. This led me to read another book I was told was great but actually sucked.
Sad puppies, I totally get it now.