Doug Henderson is a tremendously funny writer. Utilizing the authorial voice, he writes with subtle humor. His book, The Cleveland Heights LGBT Sci-Fi and Fantasy Role Playing Club is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. His characters are likeable and they make you reflect on yourself and other people. Full disclosure—Doug is a good friend who inspired me to start writing again and was the catalyst for this blog. I’ve read his novel multiple times in various forms. And each time I’m eager to reread it—I never tire of his world and only want more.
What is The Cleveland Heights LGBT Sci-Fi and Fantasy Role Playing Club about?
A group of gay friends that play Dungeons & Dragons every Thursday and everything is fine until a new guy joins the group and Ben, the protagonist, gets a crush on him. Things start into motion that take the group into all different directions. There’s gay D&D, there’s heavy metal, a competing vampire role playing club, a kiss-in.
Zadie Smith’s NW is about different people living in Northeast London who are connected through time and environment. NW is a modern masterpiece. Smith easily weaves pop culture and classic literary references into tableaus that eventually all connect. Her novel includes narrative, lists, stream of consciousness, and vignettes. She writes about interracial friendship, interracial marriage, interclass marriage and within these different relationships she explores perception versus actuality. In NW Smith questions what is authentic and what authentic means to each individual.
The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Rowling created this pseudonym so she could have the freedom to write without expectation and receive honest feedback from editors and critics. She did not want her latest novel to be judged against her past—the Harry Potter series. Her pseudonym is a man who worked in the Special Investigation Branch of the military, which would explain why his photo was not included on the dust jacket or the lack of author appearances.
William S. Burroughs‘ Junkie is written tight and clean, just like I like it. But there is no humor, no black humor, nor any dry humor. The book is dark and hopeless, just as Burroughs’ addiction is. There is no redemption for his narrator; he never changes. But without Burroughs’ strict attention to detail, without his lack of repenting, we would not have the literature we have today. He wrote about gay sex easily without explaining it or making it dirty or salacious. He just wrote about his life. He created a whole new genre—cult culture.