ReQueered Tales is about the preservation of the literary heritage of the LGBTQ+ community through republishing out of print titles from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s and publishing old and new LGBTQ bibliographies.
In the heady days of the late 1960s, when young people in many western countries were in the streets protesting for a new, more inclusive world, some of us were in libraries, coffee shops, communes, retreats, bedrooms and dens plotting something even more startling: literature—high brow and pulp—for an explicitly gay audience. Specifically, we were craving to see our gay lives—in the closet, in the open, in bars, in dire straits and in love—reflected in mystery stories, romance, paranormal and more. Hercule Poirot, that engaging effete Belgian creation of Agatha Christie might have been gay … Sherlock Holmes, to all intents and purposes, was one woman shy of gay … but where were the genuine gay sleuths, where the reader need not read between the lines?
Beginning with Victor J Banis’s “Man from C.A.M.P.” pulps in the mid-60s—riotous romps spoofing the craze for James Bond spies—readers were suddenly being offered George Baxt’s Pharoah Love, a black gay New York City detective, and a real turning point in Joseph Hansen’s gay California insurance investigator, Dave Brandstetter, whose world weary Raymond Chandleresque adventures sold strongly and have never been out of print.
Over the next three decades, gay storytelling grew strongly in niche and mainstream publishing ventures. Even with the huge public crisis—as AIDS descended on the gay community beginning in the early 1980s—gay fiction flourished. Stonewall Inn, Alyson Publications, and others nurtured authors and readers … until mainstream success seemed to come to a halt. While Lambda Literary Foundation had started to recognize work in annual awards about 1990, mainstream publishers began to have cold feet. And then, with the rise of e-books in the new millennium which enabled a new self-publishing industry … there was both an avalanche of new talent coming to market and burying of print authors who did not cross the divide.
Perhaps forty years of gay fiction—and notably gay and lesbian mystery, detective and suspense fiction—has been teetering on the brink of obscurity. Orphaned works, orphaned authors, many living and some having passed away—with no one to make the case for their creations to be returned to print (and e-print!).
Until now. That is the mission of ReQueered Tales: to bring back to circulation this treasure trove of fantastic fiction which, for one reason or another, has fallen by the wayside. In an era of e-books, everything of value ought to be accessible. For a new generation of readers, these mystery tales are full of insights into the gay world of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. And for those of us who lived through the period, they are a delightful reminder of our youth and reflect some of our own struggles in growing up gay in those heady times.
We are honored, here at ReQueered Tales, to be custodians shepherding back into circulation some of the best gay and lesbian fiction writing and hope to bring many volumes to the public, in modestly priced, accessible editions, worldwide, over the coming months and years.
So please join us on this adventure of discovery and rediscovery of the rich talents of writers of recent years as the PIs, cops and amateur sleuths battle forces of evil with fierceness, humor and sometimes a pinch of love.
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