THE SEVENTH ACOLYTE READER
The Seventh Acolyte Reader was published by the Acolyte Press, a publisher in Amsterdam dedicated to “boy-love” publications, in June 1992. It is the eleventh 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.
Unlike some earlier volumes in the series, there is no introduction to these stories, either general or individual, or information on the authors.
Contents [list, synopsis and review]
by Edmund Marlowe, March 2023
The Seventh Acolyte Reader is the best in the series, mainly because it is unburdened with dross, unlike all its predecessors, all of its stories being at least reasonably good. Happily, it is also blessed with two by Alan Edward, one of the best contributors to these anthologies. Both are characteristically well-written, gently over the top and whimsical fun. Old Spanish Customs describes a particular Andalucian puberty rite one can only imagine as initiated by a Greek god with good taste, while Spotters describes an encounter at a railway station between a man and a stunning blond of 14 who soon see through each other’s ostensible interest in looking at trains.
Of the two longest stories, Bunjie’s Story, is excellent, though uncharacteristic of an Acolyte story in the weak role of eros in it. A brutal rape by a villainous character is briefly mentioned, but the much more important and touching story narrated is of the growing love between a hitherto uncared for boy of 11 and a protective boy three years older, and this is overwhelmingly fraternal with mild sex play adding just a little fortification. In this, it is the exact opposite of Lotring’s Little Brothers, an intensely erotic story involving two pairs of brothers of 14 and 10, in which sexual thrills definitely come first.
No less than three of the stories besides Bunjie’s Story are narrated by boys in the first person. All are convincingly done – a triumphant testimony to the ability of some men sympathetic towards boys to remember in great detail what it was like to be one. Possibly the best is Bard’s A Fine Mess, in which a painful tragi-comedy about a boy pretending to be what he is not is unexpectedly suddenly changes to become a moving story of love with an understanding man. Tilley’s Ride is a likeable boy’s account of his sexual experiences, and is even more poignant to read today than it must already have been in 1992, when American boys having the freedom and agency described here was still a dream from not long ago. Pauly Joe stands in amusing contrast to it as a bible-thumping pubescent’s outraged account of his older cousin’s sexual antics with other pubescent boys, and has some fine satirical touches.
I haven’t liked much of I.L. Inglis’s writing, but the beginning of his story here, the other long one in the volume, is excellent, beautifully written and capturing brilliantly the simultaneous fear and excitement of a boy facing for the first time the reality of the sex with a man that he has fantasised about and sought. Unfortunately, the plot then meanders downhill, though not disastrously. It, like Bangor’s Norfolk Pirates, is worth reading, which is much more than can be said for the least interesting stories in the previous anthologies in this series.
4 Marvin’s Double Revenge / I. L. Ingels
Set in England, flirtatious 13-year-old Marvin, deeply curious about sex with a man, gets what he sought, leading to a convoluted love affair with one who becomes his school’s groundsman. PDF.
41 Ride / Marcus Tilley
A spirited and independent boy of 14 hitchhiking across the USA in perhaps the 1960s gives a camper driver a lively account of his sexual experiences with older boys and men, staring with a cousin when he was nine. PDF.
51 Old Spanish Customs / Alan Edward
Brundle, a teacher at an English school in Andalucia, has long been smitten with beautiful Emilio, when the boy asks him to help him rehearse for his upcoming role in a local custom whereby boys on their 13th birthdays star naked in a puberty rite. PDF.
57 Norfolk Pirates / Edward Bangor
Anti-climactic little tale of a pubescent London evacuee in Norfolk in 1940 accepting an invitation to irrumate him from a forward local boy of ten. PDF.
63 Bunjie’s Story / Daniel Mallery
An English boy of 11 brought up in a series of homes because his parents abandoned him, tells of being sent to a boarding-school where he is put in a dormitory with boys three years older, one of them a vile bully who concocts a frightening ordeal, and another who protects him and responds to his love. PDF.
110 Little Brothers / Jotham Lotring
14-year-old Garred, secretly attracted to his 10-year-old brother’s best friend Donny, is astonished and thrilled to find the latter not only willing but experienced in offering full consummation, only to find himself in for a still greater surprise. Evidently American. PDF.
122 Pauly Joe / William Barber
A boy of 14 somewhere in the Bible Belt of the United States, and a fervent advocate of its values, recounts in a horrified tone how he finally exposed and got rid of his 18-year-old cousin who, since coming to live with them three years earlier, had regularly been taking local boys of 12 to 15 to his room for full sex. PDF.
131 Spotters / Alan Edward
Teacher Jack Marshall sees some good-looking boys train-spotting at a station, and pretends to be interested in photographing the trains himself. He is joined by Andrew, a blond beauty of 14 and clever wordplay leads gently to hot action.
140 A Fine Mess / K. I. Bard
A 14-year-old boy new at his American high school feels obliged to go through a long charade dating an unattractive and wildly over-enthusiastic girl, while being secretly attracted to her 12-year-old brother. Eventually his tension is such that the only solution is to talk to his most sympathetic teacher, leading to an unexpected conclusion of love and happiness.
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