A Master of Djinn — P. Djèlí Clark

The fourth book in the Dead Djinn Universe and carrying straight on from where The Haunting of Tram Car 015 left off, with all our favourite characters involved, this really is some great writing.

This trilogy has been my first taste of Djèlí’s writing and i’m very impressed.   His imagination is excellent and his ability to put that imagination into words for all us avid readers is simply marvellous.   I’m certainly going to be reading more of his work in the future: i’m hooked.

All in all, a wonderful blend of steampunk, fantasy and folklore all thrown into an alternative history in Cairo with lots of shenanigans mixed will in.   And it’s great to have main protagonists who are strong women, from different religions, who also happen to be in a same sex relationship.

P. Djèlí Clark’s Page

#fantasy #steampunk #lgbtq #pdjeliclark

Madame Burova — Ruth Hogan

Madame Burova -- Ruth HoganI was rather excited to get Ruth’s latest book.   But it had a lot to live up to after the first three books: did it manage it?


Just like the previous three books, we’re treated to a wonderful set of diverse characters and taken on a roller coaster rides of highs and lows, finishing with a most excellent bittersweet ending.

As to the story, it becomes pretty obvious to anyone paying attention who Billies’ mother is, the cheque gave it away.   And i did think i knew who the father was about the same time, but i realised i was wrong and picked the right one about 80% in.   It certainly didn’t ruin it because the characters were so wonderful and it was still totally enjoyable to see how everything plays out, how Billie finds out and then how everyone reacts to the truth when it finally arrives.

Ruth has such a great way of telling a wonderful story.   If you haven’t tried any of her books yet, do so soon.

Please Ruth, never stop writing.

Ruth’s Page

#lgbtq #ruthhogan

Nasty: My Family And Other Glamorous Varmints — Simon Doonan

The book that spawned the TV sit com Beautiful People.   I don’t watch hardly any TV shows as 99% are utter crap: Beautiful People was well in the 1%.

So how did the book compare to the TV show?


I would definitely suggest to anyone thinking about reading this book to watch the TV show first, as i can’t see it being as good watching it afterwards.   The book has so much more of Simon’s life in it and there are so many more characters and escapades from his childhood that were left out of the TV show and if you read the book first you’ll probably end up getting grumpy that some of the characters and escapades in the book aren’t in the TV show.

That’s not to say the TV show is bad, it’s not, it’s superb, but in order to make a good sit-com out of this book there had to be a few characters left out and certain characters that were left in have been changed somewhat.

Anyways, enough of that, just go watch the TV show and have a good laugh knowing you’ve got a lot more to read about afterwards for desert.

My first Simon Doonan book, and it certainly won’t be my last.   He’s a really good writer.   Thanks for the giggles and laughs, Simon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Shortly after i wrote the above review i received James Clear’s The 3-2-1 Newsletter which had the following quote in it:

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross on how beautiful people are made:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.   These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.   Beautiful people do not just happen.

Source: Death: The Final Stage of Growth

PS.   Do consider signing up for The 3-2-1 Newsletter — it’s really good — and don’t forget to read James’ book, Atomic Habits.

Simon’s Page

#lgbtq #simondoonan

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel — Ruth Hogan

Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel -- Ruth HoganHaving totally enjoyed Ruth’s first two books i had fairly high expectations of this, and i wasn’t disappointed.

Once more Ruth dives into sensitive topics and tells a great story with not only compassion but also a wonderful touch of humour in all the right places.

Written from the point of view of Tilly and Tilda.   Tilly, the little girl who finds out her dad just died after he went away to work and Tilda, the grown woman whose mum just died and left Tilda her diaries of what really happened to her dad all those years ago — and a simple note saying “Forgive me”.   Back and forth we go, a chapter at a time, between Tilly back then and Tilda now, and it works amazingly well as, piece by piece, Tilly’s story gets told and Tilda’s truth gets revealed.

And what a wonderful place the Paradise Hotel must have been for a child to live, if only for a while.   A delightful den of loveable, eccentric crackpots: “Everyone there had been cracked in the kiln in one way or another.”

Ruth is a wonderful writer who never fails to conjure up the most wonderful cast of characters to tell the stories about the damaged souls that life creates.   I do hope for many more books from Ruth.

Ruth’s Page

#lgbtq #ruthhogan

What Gender Is That Then?

Another old post that continues on from “Same Sex Marriage”:

It seemed to me when i wrote that article that the BBC were being apologists for transphobic and homophobic points of view, and it still does, even more so after doing a little more research.   Not only did the BBC not look very deeply into what human society means when they use the term male and female, they never looked into what it means in the natural world either.   So i’ve done a tiny bit of research into Nature’s genderqueer/genderfluid/trans community.

Strangely enough, the first example is from the BBC, which demonstrates quite clearly that the BBC science department is fully aware that gender and sexuality are not as simple as male/female, hetero/homo.   So why is it that the rest of the BBC don’t include any of this scientific stuff when they write an article on same sex marriage?   Oh yeah, i remember, the people writing the original BBC articles on gay marriage were obviously transphobic and homophobic themselves.

So first up, Neotrogla.

“Females have penises in sex-reversed cave insects”.

So, the females have the penises and the females get pregnant.   I like the fact that as soon as the female of one species gets evolutionary control of the penis it becomes barbed and the males get fucked continuously for up to 70 hours wherein he is drained half to death as the female fucks and sucks every bit of nutrition she can get out of him.   Go girls!!!

Then we have the seahorse.   In seahorses the females don’t have a penis, neither do the males, but the males get pregnant and give birth a few weeks later to live young: “Seahorse Facts”.

Apparently when there aren’t any females around some males will turn into fully reproductive females that can then get the other males pregnant.

Butterflies and birds can be half male half female with one side of the animals demonstrating male colours and the other side female.

Clown Fish have a dominant male and female in each group which do all the breeding.   If the dominant female dies then the dominant male will become the dominant female and one of the adolescent males will become the dominant male.

Hamlet Fish have both male and female fully functioning sex organs, although they cannot self fertilise themselves, when they mate they take turns at being the girl and boy.   Sweet!

Banana Slugs are similar to Hamlet Fish with the benefit that they can fertilise themselves if need be.   Oh the joy of having to consider birth control methods when masturbating.

Over 70% of male bass in USA waters are now found developing eggs in their testes.

Male frogs that have been exposed to a common pesticide called atrazine can become fully functioning reproductive females.

The bass and the frogs clearly demonstrating how susceptible our sexuality, sex organs and gender identity can be to the substances that we absorb from our environment/food.

The above list is not by any means the limit, that’s just a small little bit of research to show what Nature’s views on gender, sex and sexuality are, there are many more examples if one just cares to open ones eyes and look.   Things only survive in Nature if the phenotypes benefit the species, so if these species are surviving then there must be some benefit to the species for gender/sex variance, and that gender/sex variance is perfectly natural and perfectly normal within Nature for it to have survived for so long.

Why then would any intelligent society even be listening to, let alone publishing, the views of bigots who want to ban all forms of gender/sex variance because it doesn’t conform to some idea that they claim was written 3000 years ago, in a country 3000 miles away, whose capital city only had a population of 3000, and whose understanding of the natural world you could have written on the back of a postage stamp with a marker pen?   Should we really be basing our laws, our world view, our social ethics and morality upon the word of some despotic tribal chieftain from so long ago, so far away, who had the intelligence level of a modern 8 year old, who still thought his city was the actual centre of the universe and the world was a flat disk?

Next up is “Privacy, Privacy, Privacy”

#5t4n5 #gender #lgbtq

Understanding the Complexities of Gender

Following on from my ‘Same Sex Marriage’ article is a ‘TEDx’ talk by Sam Killermann, who is a comedian and social justice advocate, and the guy behind ‘It’s Pronounced Metrosexual’.



Certainly a bit of food for thought for those of you who still think that gender is a simple binary system of either male or female and that every single one of us has to live in only one of those two boxes our whole lives.   Well it isn’t, and we don’t!   And also food for thought for those of you who still think that how we express our gender defines our sexuality — it doesn’t!   Just because i’ve got a mini skirt on does not mean i want to have sex with a man — understand?   If you don’t understand, go back and watch the video again.

Open your minds a little and see the world in a much more wonderful way.   A world where people aren’t defined by what genitalia they have or haven’t got, but a world where people are defined by who they are and who they chose to be within any given moment.

On a side note… i do really like Sam’s presentation of this.   The way he jumps between prose and poetry and back again is just delightful and gives what is a very serious topic a nice light-hearted approach, which i hope makes more people pay attention and listen than otherwise would.

Next up is “What Gender Is That Then?”

#5t4n5 #gender #lgbtq

Same Sex Marriage

Another post from the past that i’m re-publishing.


Once again the absolute best journalists the BBC has to offer have written an article that i just can’t help but add to.

‘The people who oppose the gay marriage law’.

It seems to me that the article is nothing but the BBC pandering to homophobic bigots, because i don’t see any counter argument against any of the bigotry that is being presented.   And it is bigotry.   Oh sure, you can dress it up as being faithfully religious if you like, but people who hide behind an archaic ideology that has no relevance whatsoever in the 21st century in order to justify intolerance and discrimination are nothing but bigots.

Let’s look at this in a little more detail, let’s provide a little journalistic endeavour to this article and see where it leads.   Because one thing’s for sure, the BBC journalists certainly did not apply any journalistic endeavour towards their article.

So basically, according to the homophobic bigots, if one of you has female on your birth certificate and the other has male on it, then marriage is ok.   If they both have the same sex, then it isn’t.   But just because a birth certificate states something doesn’t mean it is true.   A birth certificate is simply a piece of paper issued by the political state for their own political purposes, and is not, and never has been, approved by any god for the followers of their religion to be used to judge, approve or oppress anyone.

Where, in any religion, does it state that the clergy should ask the political state to intervene on the sex judgement of those that the clergy are marrying?   Because that’s what the clergy are doing when they refer to a birth certificate.

I can absolutely guarantee that all of these religions who are so opposed to same sex marriage have performed many same sex marriages without their knowing.   Why?   Because they have no way of knowing if the birth certificate is accurate and true.   They also have no way of knowing about anyone born with an intersex condition, or if that intersex condition has been defined correctly on their birth certificate.

You can read all about intersex here.   Go on, educate yourself and be a lot wiser.   And the next time some ignorant, homophobic bigot tries to tell you how utterly sinful same sex marriage is, you’ll have plenty of ammunition for your debate.

Oh, if only sex and gender could be defined so easily as male or female.   Nature simply isn’t like that.   Depending on what scale you judge intersex on, you could be looking at up to 2% of the population with some kind of physical intersex condition.   That’s a lot of people!

Sex and gender is a spectrum, not a binary objective that we all either fit this one or that one.   This is a fact!   And more and more science is proving this fact again and again.   The only people who don’t accept this are bigots, totally ignorant, retarded bigots.

And how many transgender people have been married who have had their documents changed to reflect their new gender identity?   Do any of these religions have any idea on how many trans men have been married by them to cis women and vice versa?   I doubt it.

Moving along…

The other point that the wonderful incredible BBC journalists fail to look further into in a journalistic way in this whole article is the procreation aspect presented in the homophobic bigots’ arguments…

We read in part 1, this…

“Marriage is a unique kind of relationship that involves a man and a woman and their ability to create new life in the form of children,” says O’Reilly.   “The church isn’t looking to impose its understanding of marriage on others, but it is looking for its understanding of marriage to be protected.”

And from part 2…

“The main reason for the state to be involved with marriage is children,” says Prof David Paton, an industrial economics lecturer at the University of Nottingham and a supporter of the Coalition for Marriage, a group arguing that traditional marriage is beneficial to society and would be undermined by a definitional change.   “It seems reasonable for the state to treat the one type of relationship from which children can directly result in a different way to others, and this is the basis for marriage laws,” says Paton.

So let’s look at this a little closer…

Is this what marriage is really about?   I know people who have been married for years and years and have never had children and do not want children.   So why did the priest or registrar marry them and why isn’t the church or government annulling their marriage?   Surely, if the religious/political argument against same sex marriage is that they can’t have children and that the sanctity of marriage should be protected for only those lucky few who can actually have children together, they should make sure that only fertile people are allowed to marry and that they should produce a child within a certain period of time else their marriage shall be null and void in the eyes of the lord and the state.

But they’re not doing that.   These churches, and the political state, very clearly don’t care whatsoever as to whether two people they marry are capable of producing a child, or if they are capable whether they actually want to have a child. So why is this point of view, that marriage should be about the production of children, being used by the bigots now when it very clearly has never been the case for either church or state to insist on the production of children for a marriage to be valid?

One should also ask whether the church considers the intervention of science with IVF, allowing two people to produce a child, counts in their proper marriage thing.   Because one thing is for sure, that those people could not, just like two men could not, or two women could not, produce a viable living human child without the intervention of modern science.   So are these homophobic bigots calling for the annulment of marriages that use IVF to produce children?   No they’re not.   But it’s reasonably feasible for two women to make a baby using IVF techniques, so why can’t they be married the same as a male/female couple who had to use IVF to produce a child?

And if it is all about raising children and being a family, then why can’t two gay men who are raising a child (whether adopted or from a previous relationship or surrogate) be allowed to marry in the same way a man and a woman who have had to adopt because IVF didn’t work or for some other reason?

To sum up…

Sex and gender are quite complex topics and they should not be given over to ignorant, retarded bigots to define how they are treated by society as a whole.   I’m sure that 2 or 3 thousand years ago, when we were not much more highly educated than chimpanzees, we could only manage to comprehend gender as either being male or female.   It either clearly has a penis, or a vagina, and anything else is obviously the result of sorcery, and/or evil malignant spirits, and must be drowned at birth.   Keep it simple for the morons.   But this isn’t 2 or 3 thousand years ago and i don’t think that people who chose to follow a narrow minded, world view, that was defined in dark ages of unadulterated ignorance no better than a baboon’s, should be allowed to go around freely spouting their retarded, homophobic bigotry at all and sundry.

I did find Rupert Everett’s bit to be about the only piece in the whole thing with any level of intelligence…

Actor Rupert Everett perhaps gave the most colourful argument against, in a 2012 interview in the Guardian.   “I loathe heterosexual weddings.   The wedding cake, the party, the champagne, the inevitable divorce two years later.   It’s just a waste of time in the heterosexual world, and in the homosexual world I find it personally beyond tragic that we want to ape this institution that is so clearly a disaster.”

More interesting thoughts on the topic of gender and sex to follow in the next article.

Next up is “Understanding the Complexities of Gender”

#5t4n5 #politics #government #lgbtq

Less – Andrew Sean Greer

Less - Andrew Sean GreerAround the world in 80-ish days with a turning 50, gay, struggling writer, recently dumped by his much younger lover, having a mid life crisis: that about is what is at this book’s heart.

Another Kindle 99 pence book that just drew me to give it a go and while gay fiction is not my normal kind of literature i really enjoyed it.

If i had to compare it to anything i would say it’s like a gay version of The Little Paris Bookshop, but instead of our protagonist sailing off down the waterways of France, Arthur Less goes on a merry go round trip around the world as an excuse not to go to his ex-lover’s wedding.   Well written, really enjoyable, with a good ending to finish it off nicely.

Oh, and it even won the “2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction”: if that don’t convince you its a good book then probably nothing will.

Andrew’s Page

#lgbtq #andrewseangreer