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three pairs of lovers with space

THE TENTH ACOLYTE READER

 

The Tenth Acolyte Reader was published by the Acolyte Press, a publisher in Amsterdam dedicated to “boy-love” publications, in October 1994. It is the fourteenth 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. It had no introduction. The original list of contents is represented in brown.

 

Contents [review and list with synopses]
by Edmund Marlowe, May 2024

This is the dullest of the books in this entire series, though it contains nothing dreadful. Happily it includes a trio of very short stories by Alan Edward, Panthology/Acolyte’s most enduring writer, who wrote one or two stories for almost every volume from the first to the last. His stories are delightfully whimsical with unexpected and amusing twists. Combining high quality with unrivalled quantity, he should be regarded as the series’s star author. His first story here, The Good Boy, is an example of him at his best: a mother tells of how her Oxford undergraduate son brings home what she had expected to be a girlfriend, but turns out to be an attractive boy prodigy of thirteen, also at Oxford. Her original worries quickly give way to new ones, but be careful what you assume … Edward’s other two little stories here are also fine.

One other story in this volume captured my imagination. In Serrana Bay, Jotham Lotring gives us a glimpse of a moving idyll. One weekend, a youngish lawyer visits a friend from university living in happy exile by a Mexican beach and is surprised to find his house occupied by a beautiful and utterly uninhibited boy of thirteen who soon brings long-buried longings to the lawyer’s mind. What is unforgettable is the convincing portrayal of a dream to die for: a boy and a young man living together in passionate love, unburdened by either physical inhibitions or the usual fear of brutal destruction by hate-driven society.

Acolyte Reader 10th front
“Cover design and painting by Mario de Graaf suggested by the story Serrana Bay”

Within a year of reading them, I shall certainly have forgotten all the other nine stories, so they are not worth dwelling upon for long. Inconsequential would probably be the best description of those that are at least readable. Perhaps it did not help that all but one is set in the anglosphere. This seems a strange editorial choice for 1994, by when anglo attitudes to Greek love were pure venom, but many parts of the world were only mildly infected.

Ingles’s Camp Diary, is like his long novel Explosion, promising in its premise, in this case what might happen to an English boy of fourteen in a Japanese internment camp, but fails abysmally to live up to it. It is, however, at least a lot better than his interminable Niko, which is not only lacking in verisimilitude but is so dull and uninspiring that one lacks any motive to suspend disbelief. Graham’s Mr. Big must be one of the most anti-climatic stories in the whole series, while Davidovitch’s The Trouble with Michael failed abysmally to elicit a smile from me, though it seems supposed to have been funny. Louis’s Peepers and Freedman’s Ephebes were at least mildly amusing, and the former also had a compelling enough plot, as did Freedman’s Runaway, but none of these stories are at all inspiring.

 

5  Peepers / E. C. Louis

Set in the recent USA, two curious boys of about 11 and 12 spy on their late-fifties neighbour wanking to homoerotic porn, leading to an unfortunate accident with happy consequences. PDF.

 

22  Camp Diary / I. L. Ingles

14-year-old Adam, interned in a war-time camp, finds his feelings for the Japanese captain change considerably after being appointed his personal servant. PDF.

 

58  Desmond and Joey / Jotham Lotring

In bed together at night, two brothers aged 12 and 15 tell each other adventure stories which are increasingly erotic until reality catches up with their imaginations. PDF.

 

70  Ephebes / B. J. Freedman

Faintly amusing skit about a man defending some unexpectedly popular unapologetic writing in the Oprah Winfrey show. PDF.

 

80  Empathies / Alan Edward

Three very stories. In the first, a mother is worried by what is going on when the girlfriend she’s thought her undergraduate son was bringing home from Oxford turns out to be a boy prodigy of twelve. The second is witty repartee between a tourist and a 13-year-old bagpipes-player in Edinburgh. In the third, set in Victorian London, a 12-year-old pauper singer meets a sympathetic older boy.

 

91  Mr. Big / Charles Graham

Ben goes on a hunting trip with fifteen-year-old Paul, climaxing with the boy’s killing of a chamois and a night of sex.

 

110  The Trouble With Michael / Godefroy Davidovitch

Skit about a priest and altar-boys of 12 to 13.

 

114  The Big Payback / Luis Miguel Fuentes

Short reminiscences of Kevin Esser and other lovers by a 16-year-old Fuentes, apparenty dying of AIDS.

 

118  Niko / I. L. Ingles

Set in Wales, a blind gay teacher of 43 and living with another gay is most attracted to boys and has an affair with a 14-year-old rent boy.

 

157  Runaway / B. J. Freedman

A drummer in a New York band with a girlfriend  meets a runaway boy of fifteen out in the wild and they spend a night wanking each other, both having hippyish lives with lots of dope.

 

170  Serrana Bay / Jotham Lotring

An American lawyer of nearly thirty, whose homosexual experience has been limited to pubescent fumblngs with a younger boy, crosses into Mexico to meet an old university friend living by a beach in a community of their expatriates, and finds in his friend’s house only a beautiful and uninhibited boy of 13 who changes his life.

 

185  A Word About the Authors

Follows below:

A Word About the Authors

E. C. Louis is an American commercial artist, working in the comic book and animation film industries and illustrating adventure novels for children. Peepers is his first work of fiction for the Acolyte Press. Obviously he had steeped himself deeply in the chaotic life and adventures of a certain tow-headed cartoon youngster whose “customary fascination for mayhem” started enlivening our breakfast tables back in the days of black-and-white TV – and has continued to do so ever since.

Acolyte Reader 10th back

Back in 1988, the English writer I. L. Ingles sent us a remarkable story called P.D. It told of a dysfunctional marriage and its effect upon the two boys who were its issue, one of them sexually attracted to his father, and we published it in The Third Acolyte Reader. Since then, nearly all of the successive Readers have had stories by him: Lost Property in the Fourth (a lighthearted tale about a teacher and a London street boy); Uncle George in the Fifth (how a sympathetic boy helps pull a depressed blind man back to the world of the living); Marvin's Double Revenge in the Seventh (erotic tricks by a pair of twins who were identical except in one critical way); Rabin in the Ninth, about an Indian boy finding his erotic way in an English Public School. He is also author of the recent Acolyte novel, Explosion, about how a group of boys survive on an African mountainside following the ultimate nuclear holocaust.

The American writer Jotham Lotring first appeared in print in The Seventh Acolyte Reader with Little Brothers, which told of a teenager's seduction by a ten-year-old at his younger brother's birthday party. The Eighth reader had two stories by him: Chisock Mountain, where a 14-year-old boy, bicycling up to a mountain cabin, discovers the secret behind his older brother's absence, and The Prefect in which a boarding school senior is put in charge of a lower school dorm and, to his surprise, finds himself the object of the younger boys' erotic longings. In the Ninth reader, his Night Ride told of a fleeting seduction of a fifteen-year-old boy on a transcontinental bus.

B.J. Freedman is the author of this year's A Natural Lizard Activity, a comic, erotic novel about a 13-year-old counterculture California boy, his Pop whose brains had been addled by too many magic mushrooms, and 31-year-old Bernie who swiftly becomes the boy's lover. The author has played in American rock bands similar to the one described in Runaway, teaches in a Third World country and admits to writing texts like the one quoted in Ephebes.

Alan Edward is a prolific author of boy-love fiction – serious, comic and erotic. The novel Kit, published back in 1983 by The Coltsfoot Press and set in an English psychiatric institution, has become something of a classic, deftly and entertainingly examining social worker and psychiatric attitudes towards "paedophilia" and "autism". A steady flow of his Sakilike short stories have appeared over the years: First of the Month, PAN No. 3, 1979; Will o' the Wisp, Panthology One, 1981; The Keeper, PAN 9, 1981; The Stake and High Doh, Panthology Two (1982); The Thing, Panthology Three (1984); Pacific 4-6-0, P.A.N. 19 (1984); Wild Horizon, The Fifth Acolyte Reader (1991); Tromp-I'Oeil, The Sixth Acolyte Reader (1991); Old Spanish Customs and Spotters, The Seventh Acolyte Reader (1992); I Love My Little Brother and King of the Castle, The Ninth Acolyte Reader (1993). Also in 1993 we published his second novel, The Fire-Worshipper, about alternate world England in which the old pagan religions have prevailed, where a 13-year-old chorister is the story's hero.

Charles Graham is the first New Zealand author we have published. In Mr. Big, he reveals himself an enthusiastic out-doorsman and vividly paints for us the magnificent wild mountains of South Island, its changeable weather and big game.

Another first is Godefroy Davidovitch's The Trouble with Michael where the big game captured (but hardly killed) is an American priest.

Louis Miguel Fuentes is well-known to Acolyte readers and members of NAMBLA. His Josh and John (Or I Just Can't Get Enough) (Fifth Acolyte Reader) brought the world of a boy prostitute in Spanish Harlem vibrantly to life. Revolving Doors told of the boy's missed chance at a stable relationship. His personal saga continued in Lonnie: Upstate New York, Sometimes I Wonder Why: Jose Sidekick and Early Times (Eighth Acolyte Reader); and Shooting Stars (Ninth Acolyte Reader). Some time ago he was diagnosed as HIV positive, and now the inexorable symptoms of AIDS have begun to manifest themselves. In The Big Payback we can see this talented youngster trying to make sense of his life and what was happening to him. Whatever permanence there might be to souls, reincarnated or otherwise, his small body of honest, crystalline stories will survive as a touching monument to a very brave 16-year-old boy.