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three pairs of lovers with space



The Eighth Acolyte Reader was published by the Acolyte Press, a publisher in Amsterdam dedicated to “boy-love” publications, in November 1992. It is the twelfth in a series of sixteen anthologies. The stories are by various authors, but all the volumes were edited by the American writer Frank Torey (1928-96). This article serves as both a synopsis and a review of the volume’s content. The original list of contents is represented in brown.


A Word About the Stories

Not long ago a Dutch newspaper carried an interview with the British actor-turned-novelist Dirk Bogarde. It seems that in his latest book there is a certain amount of kinky sex – whips and chains and that sort of thing – and he was asked if having been sexually abused in his youth had given him any insight into adult perversity.

Bogarde Dirk with his family incl. bro. Gareth. dtl
Dirk Bogarde with his younger brother

The interviewer had done his homework; Bogarde had written in his autobiography that one day as a 12-year-old boy he had skipped school to go to the cinema and was there lured away by an older youth who tied him up and had sex with him.[1] Bogarde was somewhat surprised by the question. Of course not, he said. The incident was more amusing than anything else. In those days, 60 years ago, all children were regularly abused; teachers wielded whips and canes; nobody would have given him much sympathy for what had happened; it would have served him right for playing hooky. But today! The hysteria about ‘child abuse’ has gotten completely out of hand, he said. All you have to do is look at a toddler and you are immediately identified as a rapist.[2]

It would be interesting to know whether these remarks ever made it across the North Sea to Bogarde’s native England where censorship of boy-love expression has recently taken an ugly turn. At least four of our mail order customers had copies of this book’s predecessor, The Seventh Acolyte Reader, seized by British Customs coming into the country during the summer of 1992. The book was considered indecent or obscene in accordance with Section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act of...1876! Two of these people suffered house searches by the customs police; photos, correspondence, books, copies of the NAMBLA Bulletin – even one computer – were carted away and only some of the material returned. One of the men was told that he could probably consider this visit a warning, but if he was ever found trying to import our books again he would certainly be brought to trial.

Well, England is England; it has never been a bastion of free speech. We are doing our best to protest this kind of censorship; it would seem to be in violation of EEC treaties, since several books of fiction with equally explicit sex scenes involving minors have been legally published within the U.K. recently, but there is little we in Holland can do about the bullying. What the victims of these raids fear most is public exposure in court and their names, addresses and photos being published in the pages of the most evil newspapers which exist anywhere in the world. Consequently we are no longer sending our mail-order catalog to anyone in Britain except upon personal request. And we urge all British subjects who want to have access to honest literature on this subject to travel to countries where book-burning hasn’t yet sunk such deep roots: Holland, Germany (for the moment), Denmark – even the United States.

Anon. 21st

Because of such continuing persecution, deep in the boy-lover’s consciousness is the fantasy – perhaps even an illusion – of a Golden Age. In the Mediterranean world, before Christianity and the Germanic hoards put out the light of Classical civilization, sex between men and boys over the age of puberty was considered quite normal; in Greece it was even incorporated into the boy’s upbringing and education. We can see the dream of this in J. Darling’s story, The Isle of the Blest, where the dismal present blends with a radiant mythological past and a boy-love tale written by a 19th Century traveler in what he considers the style of high Greek oral poetry is read to members of a contemporary Aegean theme cruise.

Luis Miguel Fuentes writes out of his own experience of growing up poor in New York, and a greater remove from Darling’s blessed isles could hardly be imagined. It is a world where family ties are utterly broken (except perhaps between brothers or between grandmothers and grandchildren), where police fear to tread, where drugs, murder, sex in all its variations prevail, where a young boy is forced to become independent long before his voice has changed. Yet, sexually, isn’t this another quarencia, a safe haven for the boy-lover, a kind of contemporary Golden Age? The pale hand of the social worker, the puritan breath of the child abuse therapist is excluded by popular hostility. In three short tales (isn’t ‘reminiscences’ perhaps a better word?), young Luis Fuentes, now fifteen, paints this world for us in all its color and harshness and tells of his sexual liaisons with men and boys, his fights, his loves and his losses.

Edward Bangor treads more lightly through the great urban metropolis of London, yet finds his islands of temporary blessedness. First we encounter a boy being pleasantly assaulted on a crowded Piccadilly Line tube train between Hammersmith and Acton Town stations. Then at an AC-DC concert in the Hammersmith Odeon, an aging (well, he is, after all, 24) rock fan picks up a beautiful 12-year-old – or is it the other way around?

For many alumni, their years in boarding schools, summers in Boy Scout and music camps, become their own personal Golden Age, especially allowing for a bit of exaggeration and a more relaxed attitude toward adolescent sexuality than was ever likely to have prevailed in such places. It isn’t rock, but church music which energizes everyone in Jaymee Chelsea’s Lead Boy, where the narrator, treble soloist at the Hosanna Music Camp, experiences first-love – and falls victim to backbiting choir politics. In The Prefect, Jotham Lotring takes us through the first months of a new boarding school prefect’s life as he assumes responsibility for a dormitory of pre-pubertal “squillies” – and, unexpectedly, a rebel fourteen-year-old roommate. Doing everything wrong, he wins the love of his charges, and this has clear rewards.... And who hasn’t imagined, as in Paidrig MagUidhir's Spy, a summer camp where the boys swim naked de rigueur?

Itscher Eric. 01
by Eric Itschert

Fourteen-year-old Robbie, in Jotham Lotring's other story, Chisock Mountain, looks back to the good old days when he basked in easy weekend companionship with his older brother Jonno. He sets out to recapture the past, not in his memory but on his ten-speed cross-country bike, climbing the mountain on which Jonno has a cabin and learning the truth about his brother’s sexual nature.

It is a remarkable fact that few boy-lover writers have been drawn to the gothic, the occult, the haunted house, the horror tale. Alan Edward years ago wrote a send-up of the vampire myth (The Stake, Panthology Two, 1982), but Night Teaser by Frederic Trainor takes itself very seriously indeed, and it’s remarkable how well he has been able to tackle the traditional graveyard and mausoleum, the ghouls and vengeful un-dead spirits, the occult with all of its magic circles and amulets and chants, and make them come creakingly to life, especially if you work a bit to suspend disbelief and give yourself over to the delight you had as a child in listening to ghost stories around the camp fire. But isn’t this genre, after all, another fine quarencia for the boy-lover’s reversion to reverie?


Kevin Esser is probably as fine a writer of boy-love fiction as is working today. One Last Time is a touching farewell to a boyfriend who has moved beyond him into the macho world of booze and women. One could hardly imagine a better epitaph to a love which has run its course. As most readers will remember, Esser is the author of one of the most successful boy-love novels of the 1980s, the futuristic Dance of the Warriors. He had hoped to write a sequel, but... well, sequels are notoriously difficult, and as long as the story, the characters he has created, still dance in the author's mind, it’s hard to put things to rest and get on to other projects. In the last story of this collection, The Warriors of the Dream, Esser has at last finished the tale of Teddy and Cisco and Hava and the little band of “vags” that so bravely set out from the ruins of Old Chicago at the end of his novel to look for Teddy’s mother and his first lover. One of the boys who joined them tells of what then happened, of the revolution which swept the militant Christian dictatorship from power in North America and established democracy and sexual freedom across the land. Now he and Teddy and Cisco are all old men, sexual freedom for everyone is universal and taken for granted – a new Golden Age has been established in this mythical world of the future – but for how long?

Frank Torey, October, 1992


Contents [list, synopsis and review]
by Edmund Marlowe, 10 August 2023

I shall be briefer than usual in summing up this Acolyte Reader, since Frank Torey, a clearly astute editor, has, in this first case, provided a fine summary of the value of each story he selected for publication, only slightly tainted by salesmanship.

This is a below-average offering for the series, with no outstanding gem and the longest story rubbish, namely Trainor’s Night Teaser. I could not disagree more with Torey about this one. I have no prejudice against horror, but struggled with difficulty for the sake of this review to wade through the tedium and silliness of this allegedly successful merging of the ghoulish and pederastic genres, never the slightest bit frightening or erotic or in any other way moving.

Thankfully, the other stories are all at least readable. I would say Paidrig MagUidhir’s Spy is the most delightful story, gripping one at once into an initially intriguing and then exquisite fantasy, but its unexpected brevity comes as a huge disappointment.

In consequence, I think one must settle on Island of the Blest as the best in this volume. James Darling’s stories are always good and make excellent use of his classical learning, and this beautifully-written tale of boy-love in which the Greek mythological past briefly merges with the ghastly British present is a good example.

Acolyte Reader 8th

Another deeply unsatisfactory characteristic of this volume is that, with the half-exception of Darling’s story, every single one is, unlike all its predecessors, set in the then-present day of the unprecedented dystopia of the USA and its sycophantically rebranded crony, the “UK”. I can only suppose it is somehow representative of the ever more repressive times that it was thought pointless to attempt to relieve the horror by resorting to the realistically attractive settings offered by the past or recently independent cultures.

One Last Time, possibly the best story by Esser, one of the most prolific contributors to the series, is a very poignant, convincing and sexually explicit account of the narrator’s love affair with a boy of ten to sixteen, evolving rather typically according to the boy’s age. Very different in character is his futuristic fantasy, Warriors of the Dream, describing a simply unbelievable utopia.

Of Esser’s sometime-boy Fuentes’ three stories here, only Early Times, a riveting account of his extraordinarily active sex life from the age of five, is up to the usual standard of his writing. All three do, however, have the appeal, strangely combined with horror, that Torey describes above and  are especially interesting as examples of the truth being stranger than fiction, at least if, like me, you feel convinced by their claim to be autobiographical.

Of the other stories, newcomer Chelsea’s story of incipient love between leading boy choristers of 11 and 14 is sweet, while Lotring’s Chisock Mountain is a bit shallow, the emotions and self-perception of both the boys  in it unconvincing and inadequately explored and his The Prefect is a little better.

4  A Word About the Stories

8  Chisock Mountain / Jotham Lotring

Set in America, 14-year-old Robbie unexpectedly visits his adult brother Jonno in his mountain cabin, is shocked to find there a beautiful blond of 13 or 14 called Kyle who is evidently Jonno’s lover, but gets over it and enjoys the night-time surprise Kyle gives him. PDF.

20  Island of the Blest / J. Darling

A young scholar acting as guide-lecturer on an Aegean theme cruise reads the tourists  a mythological story from a book of Aegean folk tales published in 1831 about a boy longing for love and company, having been abducted by Poseidon and then abandoned on an island hidden by fog. Temporal dislocation causes the island to reappear and one of the passengers is happily stranded on it with the boy, arousing intense jealousy in the scholar. PDF.


33  One Last Time / Kevin Esser

The author visits Sandburg, the pseudonymous town in Illinois where most of his fiction is set and, for the first time for two years, sights Bobby, the blond beauty with whom he had had a passionate love affair when Bobby was aged ten to sixteen. He then recalls in detail the sexual evolution of their affair. PDF.

40  Lonnie: Upstate New York / Luis Miguel Fuentes

Another apparently true story from the life of this boy prostitute, recounting how his long stay aged twelve in the countryside trailer of a brutish “nigga” he picked up in a games arcade and who also had a wife and another boy living with him. Read as pp. 73-80 of a PDF of the author’s republication of his writings, Diary of a Dirty Boy.

Acolyte Reader 8th. back
Back cover

47  Lead Boy / Jaymee Chelsea

One day in the life of 11-year-old Jaymee, the lead boy in his choir, who is betrayed by the boy he thought his best friend but discovers mutual love and the beginnings of sexual expression of it with the 14-year-old lead boy of another American boy choir. PDF.

60  The Piccadilly Rub / Edward Bangor

Funny anecdote by a cockney boy of 13 about his being expertly wanked by a stranger on a crowded London underground train. PDF.

65  The Prefect / Jotham Lotring

The narrator is a 17-year-old prefect in charge of a dormitory of boys of about 11 in an American boarding school that is astonishingly liberal about open affection and hidden sex between boys. He ends up in nightly sex play with the boy of 14 who shares his room and occasional lighter play with the boys of 11. PDF.

77  Sometimes I Wonder Why: “Jose Sidekick” / Luis Miguel Fuentes

The New York boy-prostitute cum boy-lover describes another of his apparently real-life affairs, this time in his latter capacity as seducer at 13 of another Hispanic boy of 11. Read as pp. 88-92 of a PDF of the author’s republication of his writings, Diary of a Dirty Boy.

82  For Those About To... / Edward Bangor

At a rock concert in Hammersmith, the 24-year-old narrator picks up a stunning boy of 12 or 13, who turns out to be amazingly experienced. Recounted with enough mildly-amusing banter almost to drown out the action, never mind leave space for emotions. PDF.

96  Spy / Paidrig MagUidhir

The beautiful 10-year-old son of the main local child sex abuse prosecutor worries the owner of an American summer camp for boys by asking too many questions, but turns out to have his own agenda, very different to his father’s. PDF.

100  Early Times / Luis Miguel Fuentes

The young author relates his earliest sexual experiences, beginning with two brothers, immigrants to New York from Germany, of whom the elder, 13, pedicated him when he was 5, continuing with his brutish uncle of 15 (who first raped him when he was six) and ending with his first experiences with men at eight. Read as pp. 81-87 of a PDF of the author’s republication of his writings, Diary of a Dirty Boy.

107  Night Teaser / Frederic Trainor

A deeply disappointing ghost story set in Oregon, centred on the rambling musings about the dead of 15-year-old Leslie, mostly about his suicidal friend, and with nothing to justify considering it a Greek love story.

137  Warriors of the Dream / Kevin Esser

A fantasy set in a future America where 14-year-old Teddy ignites a victorious civil war against the Federalists, ending both their global war against the Caliphate and their sexually repressive regime and ushering in a boy-love utopia, all narrated by one of Teddy’s younger lovers. PDF.


[1] Bogarde described the incident in Chapter XI of his first memoir, A Postillion Struck by Lightning (1977). A “Mr. Dodd”, whose youth can only be deduced from his being a student at a medical college, chatted him up and took him home, after they had watched the film, The Mummy, in order to demonstrate how mummies were bandaged. In the consequent experiment, Bogarde was bandaged until he was immobile with his genitals exposed, which is the nearest there is to a mention of “sex”. Dodd then unwrapped him and took him on the train back to his home town. [Website footnote]

[2] Bogarde made these remarks in an interview with NRC Handelsblad on 19 September 1992. [Website footnote]




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