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Len "StoneWall Society" (USA)

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Degranon
Degranon
by Duane Simolke
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.86
7 used & new from CDN$ 17.86

5.0 out of 5 stars "Degranon" Another Fantastic Read By Duane Simolke, Dec 30 2002
This review is from: Degranon (Paperback)
"Degranon"
Duane Simolke
Review by Mountman
Degranon is Duane's first venture into the world of Sci-Fi. And what a venture it is. Duane really shows just how talented he is with Degranon. When I was asked which of Duane's book I wanted to review it was very hard for me to choose. As you may know, I reviewed Acorn Stories. I was excited about reading it, but, when I got Degranon, I chose it because I am a Sci-Fi fan from way back.

The story begins on the world of Valchondria. A negative utopia that is 'Maintained' by, who else, the Maintainers, sort of, like the Firemen in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. They watch for people using words from a banned word list. Words that are considered anti-glory to Valchondria, words such as colonization. There are no books, like in Fahrenheit 451, only wallscreens that project the things that the Maintainers want the people of Valchondria to see and think. For their own good, of course.
There is a 'miracle drug that has given the people of Valchondria a virus that makes them immune to almost all diseases and the ravages of time... but, along with that there are things that it takes away also like, the ability to see in color, and hear as many tones as we do now. With this loss people have lost interest in music and anything related to it, such as dancing.
There are some that have not lost the ability to see in color. One such person is Dr. Lorfeltez. A 26-year-old scientist that recently became a representative of the SSC (Supreme Science Council), a strong branch of the government. She is as strong willed as her adversaries. She thinks that Valchondria should reopen space travel exploration, something that is considered anti-glory.
She along with another brilliant scientist, Dr. Nabold, creates Life. Life is a computer that had many tentacles that reach deep into the Valchondria soil looking for energy deposits. There is another 'scientist' along with them, Dr. Geln. Did I say scientist? I forgot to add the word Mad. Dr. Geln is also an operative placed there to watch, and make sure that Life does what it's actually meant for, creating a doorway to Valchondria's past.
Dr.'s Lorfeltez and Nabold fall in love and become married. At the same time, Dr. Geln falls in love with Lorfeltez. Which creates some very interesting twists later in the story. When Dr. Lorfeltez becomes pregnant with twins, something that is forbidden on Valchondria, Dr. Geln, with the help of Life, takes one of the twins, Telius, to the past, where Alom brings him up. Alom is an aging priest of his time.
Dr. Geln has got to be fashioned after 20th Century's worst criminal, Hitler. He creates a youth organization called Youth For Valchondrian Reform. Where he brain washes, Argen, the twin that stayed in Valchondria's present. Argen, best friend is Kryldon who happens to be same-gendered, something that is considered normal in Valchondrian society. Sometimes it is even preferred. Kryldon unwittingly, gets Argen involved in the Youth For Valchondria's Reform. You can take it from there.
Whether you are a Sci-Fi fan or not, Degranon is a must read. It is fast paced, and compelling. Thanks Duane for giving us another place and friends I would like to revisit again.

The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer
The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer
by Writers Uniting Against Cancer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.38
13 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars "The Acorn Gathering..." Benefits all!, Dec 30 2002
The Acorn Gathering; Writers Uniting Against Cancer
Duane Simolke
Review by Len
A true "Story Cycle", this anthology comes together in a unique and most interesting manner. The cohesive nature of "The Acorn Gathering" is amazing considering the different authors and that they had not necessarily read "The Acorn Stories" first. Editor and co-author Duane Simolke is justifiable pleased with the diverse yet universal feel and messages shared throughout the book.
Although all proceeds do benefit cancer research, the book itself is not limited in subject. Stories of conflict, life, bravery, and community awareness all come together in an every day manner. You feel as though you now these characters. That you have been to places like these and the stories and tales are familiar, haunting and sometimes even painful. Do not mistake this as a piece about brave cancer patients and their experiences.

Although a worthy subject, the authors have offered a more common tapestry. One of experiences with which most will strongly associate and or identify. Messages about things we meet in every day life. And as well the people, some good some not so good.
The writing styles are complimentary to each other and as well the work overall. There is flow and continuity as well as strong growing interest. The themes and sometimes even characters relate and overlap. The tales and landscapes are believable and moving. An easy read, which draws its conclusion all too quickly, "The Acorn Gathering" has strong effect and bright colorful style. A unique piece of art, dedicated to a great cause, and brought together by pure talent.

Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio
Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio
by Duane Simolke
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.09
15 used & new from CDN$ 3.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Gertrude Stein Lives on!, Sept. 15 2002
Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio
by Duane Simolke
Reviewed by Joe Wright
This book is the work of Dr Simolke. It served as his doctoral dissertation. It shows the relationship between Sherwood Anderson, his work and Gertrude Stein. In Dr Simolke's own words, "I consider Gertrude Stein, gender roles, the machine in the garden, feelings of isolation, and attempts at communication, as they all relate to Sherwood Anderson's masterpiece."

Of course the masterpiece he is talking about is the story cycle, Winesburg, Ohio. Published in 1919 about a small town in Ohio becoming industrialized and what that does to the lives of the people of Winesburg.
New Readings would be a great companion to go along with Anderson's Winesburg. It gives you not only the history of Mr. Anderson, but also the history of his stories. In Chapter 4 Men and Women, Dr. Simolke talks about how Mr Anderson's 1923 novel Many Marriages was banned by many libraries and book stores due to the fact that the book mainly focuses on nudity and sex.
If your a tried and true fan of Gertrude Stein or Sherwood Anderson New Readings is a must have!

Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems, 1983-1999
Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems, 1983-1999
by Duane Simolke
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars "Holding Me Together" Perfect Prospective, Sept. 15 2002
...
First off, I want to let you know that I'm not a professional reviewer. I am a person that just loves to read. If my reviews get at least one person to read a book then I've done what I have set out to do.

The latest book is "Holding Me Together" by Duane Simolke. The largest part of the book is an essay titled Reactions to Homophobia. This work is very thought provoking. One of my favorites is "Gay Sex is unnatural. Yes, for a heterosexual." This essay is full of ideas along this line. Duane has taken homophobic statements and given his take on them. Others include: "Homosexuals are just a bunch of men dressing up like women", "The average gay male has 5000-15,000 different partners per year." ... "Homosexuality is a Mental Illness", and "The Parts don't fit." Duane has done his research. He has many references and interesting answers to scriptures, websites, books, etc. Once you have read his essay you will want to pick up your copy of King James and check it out in a different light.
There is also a collection of poems. Now I'm not normally a big poetry person however, there were a couple that touched me, as the style is tight and the imagery wonderful. Faces parts I - VII, really aroused my heart. Or in Bareback, Duane hits some, where they don't like it.
If you want something to say when someone says a Homophobic remark? Well, try some of Duane's.
I would recommend this to anyone. Someone that is just coming to terms with their own sexuality and they need answers to remarks they have grown up hearing. Or to the person that is making ignorant homophobic remarks.
Duane Simolke's writings have appeared in several of publications, including; The International Journal On World Peace, Midwest Poetry Review, Perception, Caprock Sun, Community Voice, The New Voice of Nebraska, The Amarillo Bridge, and The Electronic Gay Community Magazine
Duane is also the author of; The Acorn Stories, Holding Me Together, and New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. Just click his Name - Duane Simolke to see his website and or purchase information on any of Duane's titles.
You can order Duane Simolke's books at most local or on-line bookstores.
So Check it out. You will be pleased. Till next time, Be Safe, Be Proud, and most important, Be Yourself!

The Acorn Stories: Written 1988-1998
The Acorn Stories: Written 1988-1998
by Duane Simolke
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from CDN$ 8.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Acorn Stories, Aug. 30 2002
The Acorn Stories
Duane Simolke
Review by Mountman
Picture a small town in West Texas. Acorn. The reason it's called Acorn is that it is the only town in West Texas that has a lot of trees. Yes, Acorn is a fictional town but after reading The Acorn Stories, I wanted to visit the place, just to check it out.

" "Welcome to Acorn, population 21,001, the Texas town with a little name and a big heart" - Sign marking city limits of Acorn" (taken from the book.)
Like the branches of the Main Street Oak tree, the town has just as many histories and legends. Each story gives you a glimpse into lives of the people of Acorn. Also how their lives are intertwined.
There are stories about the founding family, newcomers, the rich, the poor and in between. When I first started reading it I felt like I was left hanging. Just then, in Simolke unique clever style, things began to connect. Growing up in a small town I could relate to some of the characters. Duane gives you just enough details that you get a feel for where each of the characters are coming from. There are people that you like, some that you can't wait to see if they get theirs. Big cheers for when they do!
Ones that really grabbed me are Survival and Dead Enough. Survival is about a gay, deaf teacher. Dead Enough is about a writer of murder mysteries. I'm not going to give you any details because you will have to find out for yourself.
Whether you are an avid short story reader, or a novel reader this is a must read! So check it out.

Award-Winning Men: Up Close and Personal with Gay Honorees
Award-Winning Men: Up Close and Personal with Gay Honorees
by Ed, Jr. Karvoski
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.98
7 used & new from CDN$ 18.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Award-Winning Men: Establishing new role models., Aug. 20 2002
In "Award-Winning Men" Ed Karvoski Jr. has not only introduced a smorgasbord of Gay male men, he has documented there are role models, great role models! Actors, authors, singers, musicians, activists, politicians, erotic actors, Leather-Bears, and the included list goes on.
Forty-eight strong in fact. The diversity of the men included is an excellent representation of our community's diversity. Each featured has a unique and interesting tale. One common bond, pride. Pride in self, community, and the world in which they live. While many may see this work as an opportunity to better know the stuff of which heartthrobs are made. I see a deeper more monumental deed here.
For decades it has been stated there are no role models, no examples to follow. Karvoski disproves that theory and thankfully so. He shows with words and pictures, all we need do to find both are look around. A rich tapestry of types, skills, and professions, the representation is strong and wide. Ed has also elevated some cultural experiences to levels which are long overdue. In many circles a Mr. Leather title or city/pageant title are not accepted as equaled accomplishments. In reading "Award-Winning Men" you learn the hard work, determination and pride embodied in these gentlemen. You see what it takes to reach a personal sense of success and accomplishment. You also learn that same sense of success and accomplishment comes from within these men.
An easy and very entertaining read. Karvoski addresses through his interviewees topics specific to each. No fear and no hold backs. The book offers a brief glimpse into personal pride, and self development. The basics of all successes. The message I heard loud and clear... It is there for us all. We need only to believe, to try, and to have pride in what we seek and ourselves. With determination, peer support, and a broader awareness rather than self indulgence and apathy the road to personal success is open to all. Anyone looking for role models and or examples of community success should read "Award-winning Men". All is there. My question? When is the next installment? Bravo to Ed Karvoski Jr. for documenting these men, their achievements, and providing proof that the dreams and realizations of those dreams are available to all!

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