Introducing the paperback & ebook publication of the highly-regarded historical novel THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, a Roman-era romance about the real-life relationship of Rome's Hadrian Caesar with his paramour Antinous of Bithynia, welcome to COOL GAY STUFF! ... (aka url :- - a user-friendly pointer to recent gay-themed Internet highlights).

Notable Net selections are 'sampled' by your host George Gardiner, author of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History .... a 498-page novel of sensual Roman-era romance saluting the many varieties of human affection, relationship,& sexuality.

Novelist George Gardiner surveys new gay-interest books, movies, tv, & other gay-appeal media after introducing his highly-praised, erotically-charged, "good read" Roman-era crime thriller "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - A Forbidden History". This is historical fiction based on the real-life relationship of Rome's dynamic emperor Hadrian & his spirited beau, Antinous of Bithynia (whose more than 120 surviving ancient statues attest to his muscular good looks & personable appeal). After exploring the young man's suspicious drowning at Egypt's Nile River in 130CE, coupled with the Imperial whodunit which ensued his death, buyers of the paperback (or its Kindle ebook copy) at Amazon have awarded this novel a topmost 5-Star rating by over half of its 25 Amazon-USA online reviewers (that's 54%), plus a further 25% of 4-Star admirers (achieving an Amazon approval score of 4.1 out of 5).

COOL GAY STUFF offers snippets of reader's praises (see below) to help you assess the book's impact. It also provides direct links to Amazon-USA or UK for prompt purchase of a copy of the 498-page paperback (adding a modest mail-delivery fee). Or you may prefer to instantly access a low-cost Kindle ebook of the same book via Amazon? (See link below too.) Please note:- the paperback edition of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is not available at street book-stores ... its sole purchase option is online here (via Amazon links below), where a plain-wrapped copy will be speedily mailed by Amazon to your preferred postal address.

Then follows a COOL GAY STUFF daily pin-board sampler of notable GLBTQ news, articles, videos, movie trailers & reviews, plus the necessary source links. This site avoids NSFW items & overt porn, so not to "frighten the horses" (Oscar Wilde's cheerful 19thCent literary advice). This blog's formal Fair Dealing/Non-Profit copyright criteria are posted at its conclusion, plus a full catalog of the novel's research resources. So, welcome everyone, wherever you are, & ENJOY!

TOM CRUISE meets a hyperactive corpse in THE MUMMY ...

OK, it might not be especially cool-gay-stuff in any sassy sense, but in the sense that it has tons of surreal action, naughty teasers, and loads of slap-&-tickle from its highly-deceased killer-lady Nasty, THE MUMMY sure manages to squeeze-in a load of hot activity worthy of a proper monster movie.

The blurb says :- "... Though safely buried in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London,
THE MUMMY brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters. ... all accompanied by Tom Cruise." Due for release in June 2017, the creative team on this action-adventure event is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan. ... "

(Trailer videos courtesy of YouTube, with thanks.)


ONE OF THE EARLIEST RECORDED SAME-SEX ROMANCES OF HISTORY : Hadrian Caesar and his very-fit paramour Antinous of Bithynia, set amid the Roman Empire (circa 125-130CE) two centuries before Rome legalized Christian beliefs.

The two-line blue web-address (below) is an invitation from your host, author George Gardiner, to explore his 498-page romance/crime/historical erotica/m-m romance "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History" at Amazon USA.

Alternatively, a click on the actual book cover-pics (below) will also deliver you to Amazon (USA) to explore purchase details via its Amazon Online link :-

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first real-life 'out' lovers ...

HADRIAN & ANTINOUS - recorded history's first real-life 'out' lovers ...
... back & front covers of THE HADRIAN ENIGMA. .. to reach Amazon book sales: CLICK ON THE PICS for direct link to its Amazon USA page to check reviews, prices, & airmail-purchase of a paperback or instant Kindle ebook download.

OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - quotes from 24 Amazon USA purchasers ...

"Five stars ... a good read."
Viola Noll at Amazon USA

"Nobody will ever know what, exactly, happened to Antinoos. But this is IMHO the best yet story about what might have been. ...."
David Woodworth (USA) at Amazon's USA sales site

"Five stars ... This is a good & fast read."
Fr Mike Mangoian (USA) at Amazon 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

" ... I would recommend the book to anyone interested in the Hadrian/Antinous relationship"
Harrison Sheppard at Amazon USA

NOTE: Amazon USA's &
UK's online book & ebook purchase sites with their 25 independent reader's reviews (fourteen awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :-


LUST, LOVE, INTRIGUE, & MURDEROUS REVENGE: challenging suspense fiction suggested by real events in 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 available via online sources. (Not available in street stores.)

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 ONLINE ONLY (not available in street stores). CLICK NOW ON A LINK BELOW to select or compare your preferred purchase & delivery options ...

For an Amazon-USA delivered (or air-freighted overseas) 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 :

COOL GAY STUFF introduces current news, media, & opinion selections in both columns ...

With many thanks to the originating sources, this left-side column offers "
Mobile First" news excerpts ... a 'text-only' stream for mobile devices to identify & promote teaser-snippets of LGBTQ-news, relevant text selections, & trailer details of likely gay-interest .... culminating in independent readers' reviews of

... meanwhile, the right-hand column (viewable only via full-frame PC's, laptops, & notebooks etc), displays supportive pics, graphics, cinema trailers, or short videos relevant to the main column's text subjects ... and more!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SHERLOCK star 's series tells about UK gays ...

'SHERLOCK' star series will tell the lives of gay people in Britain
----  opening phrases from a UK tv-news report by Josh Jackman at PinkNews (UK), 28th March 2017 :-

      'SHERLOCK writer and star Mark Gatiss has curated a BBC (UK) series about LGBT people’s lives over the past 100 years in Britain.
      QUEERS will be an eight-part series of 15-minute-long episodes made up of monologues from new and established writers.
      The show, created to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, which is being produced in partnership with The Old Vic theatre.


      It will air on BBC4 after being performed on stage at the The Old Vic (London) in July.
      The BBC also announced earlier this year that it would mark the anniversary by airing a drama about the Lord Montagu case, a famous legal battle over anti-gay legislation which sparked calls to decriminalise homosexuality.
      Creators of episodes for the show include experienced screenwriters Jackie Clune and Brian Fillis, as well as five LGBT writers who the BBC is giving their first chance to write for TV.
      Gatiss, who has also written episodes and novels of Doctor Who, said it was “a privilege to be working with such brilliant writers and actors. ....'
----  see more of Josh Jackman's report at at :- 

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Is Being Gay Just About Sex?
----  a reprint from 2016 of the opening few sentences from a challenging opinion-piece by Jim Downs at The Huffington Post (USA), 22 Feb 2016  ...  which seems increasingly more timely for the gay community today :-

      'According to the standard historical narrative, gay life in the 1970s was all about discos and sex and a generally superficial libertine attitude about life — and today, so we often imagine, gay life is more rounder, fuller as a culture and more varied in its expressions.
      But the reality is the exact opposite: The 70s, despite the shaking of tambourines and iridescent lights, witnessed a flourishing of gay culture that went far beyond sex, while today gay life is being defined more and more as being purely about sex.
      Today, more gay men overemphasize the sexual part of being gay at the expense of developing social and cultural connections. To that end, they put more time into their body—weightlifting at the gym, leading the trend in CrossFit, and negotiating the most effective diets. Their appearance has become the leading marker of their gay identity.
      Many gay men, in turn, are hostile to those that do not fit their ideal body type and refuse to engage those who do sexually appeal to them, which has led to a breakdown of community among gay men and a disintegration of gay culture.....'
----   see more of Jim Downs' provocative opinion -piece at (which always has its fingers on the pulse of gay community lifestyles) at its original website at:- 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

GAY MARRIAGE / A Taiwan first ... ?

Taiwan court hears landmark gay marriage case
----  opening lines from an extended East Asia AFP news report published at THE STRAITS TIMES (Taipei, Taiwan), 24 March 2017 :-

      'TAIPEI (AFP): Taiwan's constitutional court heard a landmark case on Friday (March 24) that could make the island the first place in Asia to allow same-sex marriage.
      A panel of 14 grand justices heard a debate over a disputed law that critics say is unconstitutional because it prevents unions between gay couples.
      Campaigners for and against same-sex marriage gathered outside the court in Taipei, which was heavily guarded for the hearing.  ....
....  The Taipei government's representative Liao Yuan-hao argued legally allowing gay unions would "not change the essence of marriage, but would solidify its values".  ....
....  Past attempts to legalise same-sex marriage stalled under the Kuomintang party, which dominated politics for decades until it was unseated by President Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party last year. .... '
----  see more this AFP report at the THE STRAITS TIMES at :- 

Friday, March 24, 2017


PRIDE of London: Explore the City Through its Gay Culture
----  visiting the special character of London's urban enclaves, as observed by Sam Rogg at (UK), 23rd March 2017 :-

      'As you walk through Soho, an area famed for its flamboyant shops and fun-loving bars, it’s hard to believe that being gay was ever a crime in London. And yet until 1967, like much of the world, you could be convicted in England simply for loving the wrong person.
      This year marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England, and while the transition hasn’t always been smooth, today the capital boasts one of the largest gay populations in Europe and a thriving LGBT scene that can be enjoyed by all.
Soho and Beyond
      Spanning one square mile near Oxford Street, Soho is the capital’s most famous district and the historic epicentre of London’s LGBT scene. It’s here that people of all sexualities have sought refuge over the centuries, including writer Oscar Wilde, who was eventually jailed for his indiscretion. They were drawn to the area by its streets lined with liberal-minded theatres, pubs and shops, many of which still stand today. Elsewhere in the city you’ll find more gay nightlife  .... '
----  see more of Sam Rogg's informative survey of 'gay London's' special enclaves at :- 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"MAURICE" for a new generation ...

MAURICE returns
----  the opening pars from a new review of James Ivory's UK film adaptation of E.M. Forster's daring 1914 novel, critiqued by David Lamble at The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco), 23rd March 2017 :-

      'There's a moment in the movie version of gay author E.M. Forster's novel Maurice that still packs an emotional punch over a century after it was conceived.
      The title character, an easy-going if intellectually shallow stockbroker who has enjoyed an active gay life in the permissive precincts of Cambridge University, suddenly faces the brutal reality of being dumped by his snob of a boyfriend.
      Maurice (pronounced Morris) Hall is dumbstruck when Clive Dunham informs him that he's ending their relationship in order to mate with an as-yet unknown female. In the scene, Maurice (a quietly powerful turn from then-newcomer James Wilby) collapses in tears before the unfeeling Clive. "What an ending! What an ending! What's going to happen to me? I'm done for!"
      Nervously backing out of the room, Clive urges Maurice to find himself a woman to marry. Maurice refuses, and the boys part. Maurice, abjectly miserable, is left to sublimate his desire by offering boxing lessons to slum kids.
      A diffident man in Edwardian England runs the risk of losing status and even his freedom if he follows his heart in director James Ivory's elegant, erotically charged adaptation.....
----  see more of David Lamble's sensitive review of James Ivory's 1987 film adaptation of E.M. Forster's 1914 novel (hidden from publication until 1970) at The Bay Area Reporter online at :- 
----  Fans of Maurice are now twice blessed. First, with a 30th anniversary screening at the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival, part of a festival Tribute to Director James Ivory on Fri., April 14, 6 p.m. at SFMOMA, shown in a special 4K digital restoration overseen by Ivory and cinematographer Pierre Lhomme. Plus there's the Criterion Collection Maurice two-disc DVD set.
Disc 1 presents the film in a new high-definition digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen television.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE REAL TADZIO / Thomas Mann's inspiration for a new genre ...

Who was the real Tadzio?
"Tracking down the real person behind the beautiful boy from Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella Death in Venice."
----  the opening phrases from an historical exploration by Jeremy Willard at the DailyXtra (UK), 21st March, 2017 :-

      'Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella Death in Venice contains one of the most famous scenes in gay literature. The protagonist is famous writer Gustav von Aschenbach who is suffering from writer’s block and goes to stay in the Grand Hôtel des Bains in Venice.
      One night at dinner, the 50-something Aschenbach is alone in the dining room, waiting for dinner to start when he notices a Polish family at a nearby table. And, more to the point, the aristocratic family’s young son, Tadzio.
Aschenbach noticed with astonishment the lad’s perfect beauty. His face recalled the noblest moment of Greek sculpture—pale, with a sweet reserve, with clustering honey-coloured ringlets, the brow and nose descending in one line, the winning mouth, the expression of pure and godlike serenity. 
And his inward rhapsodizing goes on from there. Aschenbach is immediately entranced by the beautiful 14-year-old youth, who is wearing an English sailor suit. Over the course of his stay at the hotel, he never touches or speaks to the boy, but begins watching him and following him around, obsessed (a typically neurotic Mann protagonist, which was also a character trait associated with the German author).  .... '
----  see more of Jeremy Willard's reflection on a striking example of a 'gay-influenced' literary work of note at the DailyXtra, complete with its revelation & photo of the original Tadzio at :- 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

GAY IDENTITY / Navigating person-hood ...

How Gay Men Use Culture to Navigate Identity, From Mildred Pierce to Jingle All The Way
----  the opening pars from an Outward essay titled "Expanding The LGBTQ Conversation", written by Matt Baume & published at (USA), 20th March 2017 :-

      'As a member of the Air Force before the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Brad went to great lengths to prevent his colleagues from finding out about his past. He’d been openly gay in high school, had relationships, and was out to his family and friends—but those experiences were literally a world away from his life as a forklift driver on a base in the Middle East.
      The pressure to remain closeted was overwhelming, and so when the ban on open service was lifted, Brad didn’t just come out of the closet: He exploded onstage in high heels and a wig. He was deployed back in the United States at that point, serving in the military by day and transforming into a drag queen by night. ... '
----  see more of Matt Baume's entertaining essay at at :- 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Giving Up Grindr ... a challenge

Giving Up The Grind(r): On dating apps and the mental health crisis in the gay community
----  the opening phrases from a challenging opinion-piece by Avneet Sharma at The Varsity (University of Toronto, Canada), 18th March 2017 :-

      'Growing up in the suburbs with a traditional Desi family and coming to terms with my sexual orientation, I had hope that one day I would fit into a tangible gay community. I placed high expectations on dating apps like Grindr to provide that sense of community.
      The result is that now, rather than having anxieties about coming out anxieties arise for me when one of my white gay friends says that they find Grindr a useful tool to make connections. Though I’ve experienced some success using Grindr on and off for almost two years, it has also been the source of many problems. Grindr fails to foster community for individuals who do not fit in the cis, white, able-bodied, fit, masculine mould — in this way, it is reflective of the mainstream gay community in general.
      Hook-up apps such as Grindr and Scruff — not to mention the omnipresent Tinder — have now become ubiquitous. In 2000, 20 per cent of gay couples met online, a figure that skyrocketed to 70 per cent in 2010.  .... ' 
----  see more of Avneet Sharma's challenging essay at The Varsity at :- 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Gay Lit Is Firmly Out-Of-The-Closet in India ...

Gay literature is firmly out of the closet in India
----  the opening phrases of a literary comment by Urmi Chanda-Vaz at QUARTZ (India), reprinted from July 2015 :-

      'Even as same-sex couples in India struggle to gain legal recognition, in literature they are the heroes and heroines.
      Over the years, a number of Indian writers have steadily produced remarkable gay literature, keeping alive the issue of inequality in love through their compelling stories. Here is an overview of some of the books and plays that have blazed a trail for gay rights in the country.  ....
....  In 1942, Ismat Chughtai wrote her short story Lihaaf and provoked a high courtroom drama, with people baying for her blood. How dare she suggest something as chee-chee as a same-sex relationship? And while the bold author won the case, society never quite “forgave” her for such audacity.
      Cut to 2010–a publishing house for LGBTQ literature, Queer Ink, is established in India, giving this community an exclusive space for writing. But a lot happened between these two milestones. .... '
----  see more of Urmi Chanda-Vaz's revealing article at QUARTZ at :- 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

SAPPHO CRAZY? / An historical perspective of LESBIAN DECADENCE ...

The Sappho Craze (re: Lesbian Decadence: Representations in Art and Literature of Fin-de-siecle France)
----  the Introduction to a review of an extended cultural analysis from a women's perspective, offered by Cassandra Langer at The Gay and Lesbian Review (USA), 1st March, 2017 :-

      'NEWLY TRANSLATED from the French, this intriguing inquiry is divided into three parts and twelve information-packed chapters. From the outset, author Nicole G. Albert sets out to show how male writers and artists propagated falsehoods about lesbianism in fin-de-siècle France.
      She argues that the renewal of interest in Sappho is inseparable from the vogue for antiquity that reached a high point in the 1890s. She shows how, between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, a veritable cottage industry arose to produce books and pictures dealing with lesbians.
      Lesbian Decadence is a kind of decadent tour of lesbian Paris according to mostly male writers and illustrators obsessed with what women do with each other in bed. .... '
----  see more of Cassandra Langer's review of Nicole G. Albert's Lesbian Decadence at :- 

Translated by Nancy Erber and William Peniston
Harrington Park Press. 380 pages, $40.

Friday, March 10, 2017

"THE LINE OF BEAUTY" / A coming of age ...

The Loneliness of the Gay Aesthete: Alan Hollinghurst and Queer Theory
----  a selected paragraph (with many thanks)  from a perceptive extended reflection by Charlie Tyson on the literary style and human values of a major gay-themed novel The Line of Beauty by British author Hollinghurst, published at the Los Angeles Review of Books (USA), 9th March 2017 :-

      ' ....  It would be tempting but inaccurate to describe the throb of recognition I felt while reading Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty (2004) as the dawning of an awareness that I was not, as Philip Kennicott writes in his memoir of adolescent reading, “entirely alone in my own desires.” That knowledge had come earlier, in fictions, films, and fumblings.
      Yet the novel seemed piercingly new. Never had I encountered such thick descriptions of gay male characters, with their yearnings, their little brutalities and tendernesses, their acts of self-regard and self-effacement, rendered with penetrating clarity.
      The work’s cerebral sophistication and explicit eroticism struck me as a vision of adulthood impossibly distant from my upbringing steeped in Carolina barbeque and the Grand Old Party. As I turned the final pages I felt a distinct sense that I had somehow come of age. .... '
----  see more of Charlie Tyson's extended reflection on The Line of Beauty posted at the LA Review of Books at :- 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

'ÇALL ME BY YOUR NAME' / A new steamy gay romance ...

'CALL ME BY YOUR NAME' : A steamy gay romance wows Sundance Festival (USA)
-----  the opening pars from a substantial review by Marco Cerritos at HYPABLE (USA), 3 March 2017 :-

      'It may be a gay romance, but shouldn't be limited to LGBT themes and features.
      One of the films that united audiences at this year’s Sundance film festival was the steamy romance Call Me By Your Name. A movie so lush and full of life it quickly proved a force to be reckoned with among the institution’s top awards.
      It tells the simple story of a young boy’s first romantic encounter in the Italian countryside during the summer of 1983. This may sound conventional but the film’s execution is far from routine, making it stand out as a unique and must-see story.
      The film’s director is Luca Guadagnino and while his resume is light (A Bigger Splash and I Am Love) he handles the juggling act of story and character like a pro. .... '
----  see more of Marco Cerritos' praising review at HYPABLE at :- 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"WHEN WE RISE" / an informed review posted at ESQUIRE magazine ...

'WHEN WE RISE' Delivers a Much-Needed History Lesson on Modern Activism
---- two selected pars from a substantial, extended review by Manuel Betancourt at Esquire magazine (USA), 27th February 2017 :-

      'The Dustin Lance Black-penned miniseries chronicles the Gay Rights Movement from Stonewall onward.  ....
....  Considering its reach and availability, one cannot deny television's role in advancing LGBT rights. In 2012 when Vice-President Joe Biden spoke openly about his and the nation's shift on the issue of same-sex marriage, for example, he credited a network sitcom. "I think Will & Grace" he said, "probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far." Similar shows like Queer as Folk, Noah's Arc, Glee, Orange Is the New Black, and Transparent often get cited when discussing America's forward-moving views on the gay and trans community. .... '
----  see more of Manuel Betancourt's lively review of 'When We Rise' at at :- 

Monday, February 27, 2017

'MOONLIGHT' wins Best Picture Award at this year's Academy Awards ...

'MOONLIGHT' triumphs in evening dominated by anti-Trump rebukes
----  the opening par from an extended review wrap-up of this year's Oscars by David Reddish at (USA), 27th February 2017 :-

      '2017 Academy Awards are a wrap, and despite a dearth of openly gay men and women in front of the camera, queer folk hoping for advancement in the annals of film history can now rejoice. La La Land managed to take home five Oscars, only to be thwarted by the surprise win of Moonlight for best picture. Moonlight also awards for Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay for director Barry Jenkins and original writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, the queer writer who penned the original play. .... '
----  see more of David Reddish's substantial review at at :- 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Queer Children's Books ...

Queer children's books have a long history that's only now being told
----  the opening pars from a substantial literary report by Ilana Masad at The Guardian (UK), 24 February, 2017 :-

      'For youngsters realising they don’t fit expected gender roles, books from Winnie-the-Pooh to His Dark Materials have long provided overt and covert help.
      Children’s books should be soft and fluffy things, perhaps with moments of discomfort or fear – lessons must be learned, after all – but always resolved with a happy ending. And entirely asexual. Right?
      Well, no, not really. Children’s books shouldn’t always be happy and simply aren’t asexual, just as children aren’t asexual – which is not to say that children are sexual in the way that adults are, but that sexual orientation and gender identity becomes apparent to many people early in life.
      Just as a straight child may pretend to marry her dolls to one another, or may have a crush on his big sister’s friends, a queer child may experience crushes, pair up their dolls differently or express their gender in a way that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. .... '
----  see more of Ilana Masad's interesting observations at at :- 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


21 Queer Romance Movies Worth Watching This Valentine's Day
----  a catalog, with videos, of representative gay romance movies to celebrate Saint Valentine, assembled by Christopher Rosa at GLAMOUR online magazine (USA), 13th February 2017 :-

      'Most mainstream romance movies tend to skew heterosexual, which makes picking out Valentine's Day date night flicks very difficult for us queer folks. Sure, I still have fun watching films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Sleepless in Seattle—but LGBTQ+ people deserve to see themselves represented in rom coms just as much as straight people. This goes double for queer women and trans people, who have even slimmer pickings than gay men when it comes to entertainment.
      For the love of Madonna, where are the nuanced, interesting movies about queer love?
Answer: Right here. You have to dig a little deeper, but good romance movies about queer people do exist. One was even nominated for an Academy Award last year (Carol). (Still, it's important to note that most queer films are deemed too niche for mainstream audiences and don't get widely released, which need to change.)      Here, a guide to some really great (and Valentine's Day-ready!) picks, no matter what your sexual identity is. ...'

----  [Christopher Rosa's 21 well-selected YouTube video-trailers with brief comments follow in GLAMOUR's attractive post for Valentine's Day 2017. Enjoy!, and thanks to GLAMOUR.]
----  see Rosa's selection at :- 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What Percentage of Americans Are Known To Be Gay?

What Percentage of Americans Are Gay? It's Wildly Different Than What You've Heard
----  selected summaries from an extended analysis of evolving-&-shifting stats, assembled and described by Gabriel Bell at HEATSTREET (USA), 11th February 2017 :-

      '....  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s this: According to Gallup, 78% of Americans know someone who’s openly gay or lesbian themselves, be it a friend, coworker, or family member. That closeness, along with all the other factors above, give gay and lesbian individuals an outsized appearance in American culture.
      Whatever the actual percentage of gay or lesbian people in the U.S., it’s clear that they’re becoming more of a mainstay in politics and culture, and the majority of Americans support that. According to Pew, 63% of all Americans say that the homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable, up from 50% 10 years ago.'
----  see more of Gabriel Bell's extensive, well-researched article at HEATSTREET (USA) at :- 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

VALENTINES DAY / A brief history for lovers of all types ... gay & not-gay

History of Valentine's Day
----  the opening phrases of a celebratory article published by the Times News Service in the Times of Oman (Oman), 8th February 2017 :-

      'There are many theories on how Valentine’s Day began. The holiday may go back to ancient Roman times, when a festival called Lupercalia was held on February 15. Lupercalia was a celebration honoring Juno, the Roman deity of women and marriage. During the festival, women wrote love notes called billets and put them in a large jar or urn. Each man would select a note and pursue the woman whose name was on it.
      Another theory is that Valentine’s Day began with one or more early Christian saints. According to one legend, the Roman Emperor Claudius II (AD 200s) forbade all marriages, believing that single men made better soldiers.
      But a priest named Valentine broke the law and married many couples in secret. Another story tells of an early Christian named Valentine who befriended children. When he was imprisoned by the Romans for his faith, Valentine’s little friends gave him notes and cards through his jail window. This may explain the tradition of exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day.
      Most of the Christian stories agree that Valentine was killed by the Romans on February 14 around AD 269. People began to make and sell valentines on a commercial level in the mid-1800s ....'
----  see more of this mini-history article at the Times of Oman (with thanks) at :-  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


"TOM OF FINLAND": Film Review
----  the opening par from a substantial review by Stephen Dalton of a new movie, published at The Hollywood Reporter (USA), 8th February 2017 :-

      'The Bottom Line: Understated portrait of a tumescent talent ...
....  Finnish director Dome Karukoski's prize-winning biopic celebrates the cult artist who brought hardcore gay sex imagery into the mainstream. Touko Laaksonen was once an illegal underground porn artist, notorious in gay circles for his fetishistic fantasias of uniformed muscle men with square jaws, supernaturally swollen biceps and colossal phallic weaponry.
      But Laaksonen, who found belated fame under the alias Tom of Finland, is now globally respected as a pioneer of homoerotic iconography and a highly skilled artist in his own right. His instantly recognizable work is well-hung in prestigious galleries, including MOMA in New York, and has even been celebrated on Finnish postal stamps. ....
Production company: Helsinki-Filmi Oy
Starring: Pekka Strang, Lauri Tilkanen, Jessica Grabowsky, Taisto Oksanen, Seumas Sargent, Jakob Oftebro, Niklas Hogner
Director: Dome Karukoski

----  see more of Stephen Dalton's insightful review of Tom Of Finland at at :- 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


LGBT History Month
----  the opening paragraphs of an extended celebratory historical essay by Philip Christopher Baldwin at HuffPost Lifestyle (UK), 7th February 2017 :-

      'Michelangelo first met Tommaso de’ Cavalieri in 1532. Michelangelo had other lovers, although his relationship with Tommaso was the longest and most passionate. For many centuries, historians writing about Michelangelo tried to ignore that he was gay.
      For example, in his poems, references to men were changed to women. February is LGBT History Month, which is important as it allows LGBT people to reclaim the past, identifying and evaluating the place of LGBT people in history. Michelangelo’s sexuality is central to any discussion of his work.
      The focus for this year’s LGBT History Month is the fiftieth anniversary of the decriminalization of gay men in England and Wales. .... '
----  see more of Philip C Baldwin's stimulating historical essay, with thanks, at at :- 


.... here are a dozen movie trailers from recent international sources (click on video-arrows below), updated regularly ... with thanks to
YouTube & the movies' international distributors in cinemas, specialist screenings, & home dvd's ...

"MOONLIGHT" is masterful' ... (says reviewer John Ehrett at The Federalist (USA)


ASIAN GAY ROMANCE fights stigma in Hollywood ...

"THE PASS" ... its movie trailer

"BEING 17" / Young love finds a way ...

Twenty-two year old David has it all – he’s young, hot, and he’s just got into the prestigious dance school of his dreams. But he has a secret: for two years he’s been sleeping with his sister’s husband, Jules.

SOFT LAD is the directorial debut from Leon Lopez, an examination of lust, jealousy and their consequences in contemporary Liverpool. Starring UK artists Daniel Brocklebank (Coronation Street) and Jonny Labey (EastEnders).

Passions ignite and hidden secrets are revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles reconnects with an ex-boyfriend he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. LAZY EYE is a story about roads not taken, unfinished business, and the struggle to adjust to progressive lenses. Written and directed by Tim Kirkman (LOGGERHEADS, DEAR JESSE, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME), LAZY EYE stars Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Aaron Costa Ganis and Michaela Watkins.


"LILTING' - British actor Ben Wishaw tests his range again ...


"What is like to live in a world where you have no grasp of its language, and your only lifeline to that is lost." In "LILTING" Ben Wishaw, wide ranging UK character actor from Shakespeare to James Bond movies, tests his range even further.

"Best gay-themed movie ever!" ... ?

STONEWALL | The birth of a Movement ...

FREEHELD - A subtle gay rights challenge ...

VENICE FESTIVAL ENTRY: "From Afar" (Venezuela 2015)

Peter Greenaway's EISENSTEIN, Stalin's eccentric filmmaker ...


BISEXUAL WOMEN | How to be oneself? ...



GAY LIFE in Switzerland in the '50's ...




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 | 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 :-


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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA rainbow-community site ...

Thank you for visiting my book's information site COOL GAY STUFF.

Please come back soon to note new posts, movie trailers, or publications & reviews.

Immediately below this bye-bye lies the complete bibliography consulted to research THE HADRIAN ENIGMA, its era, its historical personalities, & its cultural forms.