New York, NY (PRWEB) May 26, 2004
Missing: Novelist Perry Brass Explains Death of Gay Thrillers - On Tuesday, June 8 at 7 pm at New YorkÂs Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, in Greenwich Village, novelist Perry Brass will be talking about gay thrillers, or, to be precise, the lack of them in the flood of gay and lesbian books you find in June (Gay Pride Month) in bookstores around the country.
The topic of his talk is ÂFEVER PITCH: In the Age of the Thriller, Why ArenÂt Gay WriterÂs Writing Them?Â Brass, the author of the new best-selling novel ÂThe Substance of God, A Spiritual ThrillerÂ (Belhue Press, $13.95) has been writing thrillers for years, and usually finds himself alone in a field that in mainstream writing is over-crowded with titles.
ÂThe thriller,Â says Brass, Âis different from the mystery. Mysteries are cerebral. TheyÂre about finding out who done it. They deal with the rational part of the psyche. But thrillers are suspense driven. They are visceral, focusing on basic human drives. In the thriller you know who the bad guys are. The question is what are they going to do next, and how will the hero either outwit them, or, using as many dirty tricks as the villains, survive them? Thrillers are about adrenaline and testosterone; guts and vinegar. You need a hero who doesnÂt play by the rules, isnÂt hung up on always being nice, and who can get mean when he has to.
ÂGay writers can write these kind of heroes. IÂve been doing it for fifteen years. But most of the editors who put out gay books still canÂt see these books in that light. WeÂre either long suffering victims, brainy nice guys, or bitchy wise-cracking queens out of sitcomsÂ
Are their other reasons, too?
ÂA lot of gay men,Â Brass says, Âstill feel physically or psychologically threatened. There are still many homophobic consequences to being gay in America, despite the progress of the lesbian and gay movement. Many fear the rise of the religious right, reprisals at work, or the disapproval of their families and friends who may not know theyÂre gay. So stories where we are in the middle of violence bothers them. Many gay men and lesbians prefer escapist science fiction or fantasy. IÂve used science fiction ideas in my thrillers. My popular futurist thriller ÂThe Harvest,Â from 1997, used science fiction in its plot about a cloned humanoid, produced for his harvestable organs, who becomes sexually involved with an attractive, double-aliased human rebel whoÂll do anything, including kill, to keep him alive. The plot is real Bruce Willis material. Its filled with fights, narrow escapes, and a final white-knuckle-tense show down."
Brass admits the book was "ghettoized" twice. First as a gay book and second as science fiction.
"Readers told me they couldnÂt put the book down, staying up half the night reading it. ThatÂs a sure sign of a good thriller. The stakes are human life, thatÂs what I love about this form. Life to me is a dance to the tune of ambition, aggression, and survival. Since my books deal openly with these inner drives instead of the usual gay cuteness, many critics still canÂt deal with them. So I understand what itÂs like to be an outsider among outsiders.Â
Explaining why ÂThe Substance of GodÂ is a ÂSpiritual Thriller,Â Brass says: ÂI called it a ÂSpiritual ThrillerÂ because the focal point of it is the search for God. Most of us are looking for something bigger than we are, some larger presence. Some people call this presence God.Â
Dr. Leonard Miller, an openly gay, atheist bio-researcher feels this presence after heÂs been brought back from death by a constantly self-cloning specimen heÂs been secretly investigating, a ÂsubstanceÂ also pursued by a group of Christian fundamentalist extremists convinced that it originated with God. They will do anything to get their hands on it, including murder Miller. What they donÂt count on is that the substance will revive Miller, and then make him question everything he once assumed about life, death, sexual-identity, and God. The big question though is how long will it keep Miller alive, and what will he have to do to stay that way?
ÂIn many ways,Â says the author, Âthis book deals with the AIDS Crisis and the fact that many people are being kept alive and healthy now by substances that have a miraculous quality -- and a price -- to them. The Crisis has also given many people that feeling of being forced to meet their own destinies. Post 9/11, we are living in the Era of the Thriller, and a lot of peopleÂs lives have taken on that urgency. So the question is: whatÂs going to happen next, and how do you survive and stick around to see it?Â
Perry BrassÂs appearance at The Center is part of its Second Tuesday series of cultural events. Other writers in the series have included Michael Cunningham and Larry Kramer. Admission is $6 for Center members, $10 nonmembers. For more information, please call 718 884-6606, or 212 620-7310. Brass will be reading from ÂThe Substance of GodÂ with actor Michael E. OÂConnor. He will talk about his work, about the craft of thriller writing, and also answer those life-or-death questions stalking us all. You can learn more about this author's books at http://www.perrybrass.com.
for more information: Tom Laine, Belhue Press
2501 Palisade Avenue, Suite. A1
Bronx, NY 10463
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