Perhaps forty years of gay fiction—and notably gay and lesbian mystery, detective and suspense fiction—has been teetering on the brink of obscurity. Orphaned works, orphaned authors, many living and some having passed away—with no one to make the case for their creations to be returned to print (and e-print!).

Until now. That is the mission of ReQueered Tales: to bring back to circulation this treasure trove of fantastic fiction which, for one reason or another, has fallen by the wayside. In an era of e-books, everything of value ought to be accessible. For a new generation of readers, these mystery tales are full of insights into the gay world of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. And for those who lived through the period, they are a delightful reminder of youth that perhaps reflect the struggles of growing up gay in those heady times.

Alexander Inqlis is the Canadian founding partner of ReQueered Tales, who is based right here in Toronto. While the majority of their collection are being released electronically only, there are a few getting a new print reissue as well. Inglis states, “In late January we are excited to be releasing Felice Picano’s most celebrated novel, Like People in History in both paper and e-book. This is the 25th anniversary edition. The original Penguin edition featured a painting by Toronto’s Steve Walker. In this issue, there’s a new afterword by Felice, as well as a specially commissioned foreword by Montreal’s Richard Bugs Burnett.”

Inglis adds, “We also have rights to all of Canada’s Edward O Phillips novels and currently are in the midst of releasing the six-part Geoffry Chadwick books, including Sunday’s Child and Buried on Sunday. Published in 1981 and 1987 respectively, they are about out gay Montreal corporate lawyer Geoffry Chadwick. The first is set on New Year’s eve when the 50 year old is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. He brings a hustler home but after a tussle the hustler is a body at the bottom of the stairs. Robert Fulford hailed the debuted as witty, sophisticated. The second is set in a country retreat outside Montreal with Geoffry and a couple of exes enjoying bon-mots and Bloody Mary’s … until thugs arrive and take the party hostage. This latter tale won the Crime Writer’s of Canada Best Novel.”

New Releases

LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY by Felice Picano (paper, ebook, releases Jan 30)
•  MOUNTAIN CLIMBING IN SHERIDAN SQUARE by Stan Leventhal (ebook, releases Mar 17)
• IN THE GAME by Nikki Baker (ebook, releases Jan
• THE FAMILY OF MAX DESIR by Robert Ferro (print, ebook, released Nov 15)

Like People in History is being released in a 25th Anniversary edition. It was recently mentioned on Christopher Rice’s podcast, and Edmund White called it a “Gay Gone with the Wind”. Nikki Baker’s In The Game is back in print after 20 years, is about a black Lesbian in Chicago as star of a murder mystery.\

LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY by Felice Picano (paper, ebook, releases Jan 30)

Solid, cautious Roger Sansarc and flamboyant, mercurial Alistair Dodge are second cousins who become lifelong friends when they first meet as nine-year-old boys in 1954. Their lives constantly intersect at crucial moments in their personal histories as each discovers his own unique — and uniquely gay — identity. Through the lens of their complex, tumultuous, madcap, yet enduring relationship — and their involvement with the handsome model, poet, and decorated Vietnam vet Matt Loguidice, whom they both love — Picano chronicles and celebrates gay life and subculture over the last half of the twentieth century: from the legendary 1969 gathering at Woodstock to the legendary parties at Fire Island Pines in the 1970s, from Malibu Beach in its palmiest surfer days to San Francisco during its gayest era, from the cities and jungles of South Vietnam during the war to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and Upper East Side during the present-day AIDS war. First published to acclaim in 1995, winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award for Best Novel, Gay Times Best Novel of the Year and Finalist for Lambda Literary Award Best Gay Fiction, this 25th Anniversary edition for 2020 features a new foreword by Montreal’s Richard “Bugs” Burnett and an afterword by the author.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING IN SHERIDAN SQUARE by Stan Leventhal (ebook, releases Mar 17)

A series of discrete episodes among friends provide snapshots of one gay man’s life. There are parties, concerts, dinners with everyday life – and death – interwoven in the rich story-telling. An actress, a painter, a set designer, a writer – all sweating and surviving in Manhattan, all scoring their first successes. Part autobiography and part documentary, artfully written, it details the lives of these creative people. Young and professional, they know there is more to life than money. There is trust and the sort of love that trades in deeds of kindness. Leventhal’s debut novel was welcomed warmly garnering a Lambda Literary Awards Finalist in 1988, this new edition features a 2020 foreword by Christopher Bram.

IN THE GAME by Nikki Baker (ebook, releases Jan 15)

Ginny and Bev. Always there for each other—friends since business school, where their black faces were lost in a sea of white. As Ginny observes, “Lovers don’t last, but friends can be forever.” Now Bev is in trouble. Her lover’s bullet-riddled body has been found behind a Chicago lesbian bar. The police suspect a hate crime, but Ginny, privy to her own information about the murdered Kelsey, thinks otherwise. Threading her nimble way through the cultural byways and politics of the lesbian society she knows, Ginny asks a lot of questions about Kelsey’s death, but finds few answers. A suicide, another murder—and Ginny begins to suspect that she is being cast as the next victim. In the Game is sharp, funny, and on the mark—the auspicious debut of a new Black writer who brings us what we have eagerly awaited—fresh perspective on today’s diverse lesbian community. First published in 1991, this new edition features a 2020 foreword by the author.

THE FAMILY OF MAX DESIR by Robert Ferro (print, ebook, released Nov 15)

It was a family dealing with old values, acceptance and death. Max Desir loved his Italian roots and hearing his mother, Marie, recount tales of the old country. And he loved his American family, his father John a successful self-made businessman in New Jersey. As he came of age, Max discovered something else he loved – men – and met the love of his life in Italy. Now, at age 40, the family is split: Marie and his siblings accept Max and Nick as a stable, long-term couple but his father John does not. When a needlepoint family tree is to be hung at Christmas, it’s too much for John. Then the spectre of death enters as Marie rapidly declines with brain cancer. Loyalties divided, acceptance of family is re-examined. In this beautiful, haunting tale, told in Robert Ferro’s clear, impassioned narrative, he created a classic. “An honest, eloquent and entirely original novel … at once realistic and mythological, intensely personal and public … a triumph,” opined Edmund White. Originally published in 1983, this new edition includes a 2019 foreword by fellow author and friend Felice Picano.

Currently available in print:

• Steam by Jay B Laws

Onyx by Felice Picano

Let’s Get Criminal by Lev Raphael

The Family of Max Desir by Robert Ferro

Be sure to visit the website for all the current and upcoming releases, and the blog for profiles of authors, reviews and more. 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.