This weekend Oyce and I were eating lunch at the Ferry Building, overlooking the bay, when we began perusing the discount book rack that was outside the bookshop, on the pavement next to us. It was an odd mix of pretty good YA (like Nancy Werlin and Paul Fleischman), decent-looking gay lit, and horrible self-help books, like Healing the Amazon Wound and Cry of the Soul-Daughter.

And then there was God is Gay.

It was a slim, yellow, self-published paperback. The back cover quotes (which we decided were sock-puppets) were decidedly strange:

Ah, it is marvellous... I read and read and then ponder over it.
--Dr. K. D. Chauhan
Jagdishnagar Society
North Gujarat, India

I just read your book and I felt 'happiness creeping over me.'
G. Rommersheim
Munich, West Germany

['Happiness creeping over me' turned out to be a quote from GiG; the narrator, Bob, feels that sensation when he talks to his soon-to-be cult leader, Daniel.]

The chapters are all headed with peculiar drawings reminiscent of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, but with more animals, some with faceted eyes and all a disturbing cross between cute and evil, like the subliminal octopus in Serenity.

It's the swinging 70s. Bob, along with God, is gay. He lives in San Francisco with his lover, Steve. Then Bob meets Daniel, who is obviously a crazy cult leader. Only Bob doesn't think so. GiG is a love letter to Daniel, Daniel's superb musculature and gentle smile, and Daniel's whack-job philosophy, which consists of crazed nattering about androids and mouseries and "the sound of hearing, the music of the spheres," not to mention "the sight of seeing, the vision of the third eye." (No, there is no scent of smelling. Alas.) Daniel points out that Asia and Asians are spiritually superior to non-Asians. (A concept which, in addition to creating many awkward encounters between obtuse Westerners and unfortunate Asians, ruined my childhood.

Bob is overwhelmed by Daniel and his circle: A very handsome, muscular man let us in. As I was introduced to him, any doubts about his gayness were resolved when he cruised me. Plus, there is gay boxing (normal boxing, gay boxers), and Daniel takes Bob out for a banana split.

But Steve, whom Bob describes in phrases like an ugly sneer crossed Steve's face, cannot appreciate the wonder that is Daniel. In fact, he accuses Daniel of being a cult leader. But Bob finally drags Steve to a meeting, where Daniel goes on for pages and pages of gibberish, including Isn't it obvious that male gays are men, with the understanding of women; who understand instinctively that war, violence, and hatred are wrong. Bob is sure this will make Steve see the light. But Steve takes Bob aside and tells him that Daniel reminds him of Charles Manson.

Horrified, Bob runs to Daniel and says, "You won't believe what Steve said about you!"

Daniel says, "Did he say I reminded him of Charles Manson?"

Since Daniel wasn't there, this convinces Bob that Daniel is clairvoyant and telepathic, because there is no other way Daniel could have known Steve said that. It does not occur to Bob that perhaps Daniel often reminds people of Charles Manson.

Needless to say, Bob dumps Steve and runs away with the perfect and telepathic Daniel. That was the point when we noticed that the book was coauthored by Ezekiel (who presumabably used to be known as Bob) and... Daniel!

There is a clearly fictional chapter in which Steve later apologizes for not being wise or brave enough to embrace Daniel. Oyce and I think that Steve is now happily working for Google, and he and his handsome live-in lover sometimes do dramatic readings from GiG at dinner parties.

Having finished Gig, we then picked up a novel by bestselling fantasy author Terry Goodkind, and opened it to a six-page scene in which the heroine is menaced by... an evil chicken.

No, this is not played for laughs. There are more excerpts at fandom wank if you don't believe me.

The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.

She is terrified! For six pages! This is the heroine-- scared of a chicken.

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.

In between being terrorized, Kahlan remembers her perfect boyfriend, Richard. Brilliant, strong, probably omnipotent, Richard comes across as a cross between Daniel and Diego. Did I mention that he is wise, too?

Richard had been adamant about everyone being courteous to chickens.

From: [identity profile]

menaced by... an evil chicken

Have you read the first Amber series by Roger Zelazny? In the second book, the protagonist is menaced by...big Siamese cats. Um, this is supposed to scare the protagonist? And it *does*, giving him cold sweats for nights to come? Weak!

From: [identity profile]

Re: menaced by... an evil chicken

Yeah, but they're the size of saber toothed tigers, and their heads fall off and burst into flame. Much creepier than a (normal-size) chicken.

From: [identity profile]

Re: menaced by... an evil chicken

To be fair, barnyard fowl can be quite vicious. Mind you, it's usually the roosters that are CRAZY. I have a friend who grew up in a household that included a crazy rooster who, if he didn't like you and he didn't like anybody would literally sneak up behind you, and then jump up and scraaaape the backs of your legs with his talons/claws/whatefver you want to call them, drawing serious blood. He stopped doing that to my freind after she was outside pouring feed into a trough, sensed him sneaking up, turned around and bashed him hard with the bucket. Her mom never managed to scare him off though, and they kept a 2x4 by the back door for her to use for the express purpose of rooster defense.

From: [identity profile]

Re: menaced by... an evil chicken

*laugh* True, but Corwin is supposed to be one the universe's best swordsmen and wants to be king of Amber. Plus, Zelazny is supposed to have a great imagination.

From: [identity profile]

Re: menaced by... an evil chicken

Hah. You clearly weren't traumatized by Lady and the Tramp when you were a small child ...

From: [identity profile]

Re: We are Siamese, if you please

She's baaaa-aaaack.... welcome back!

Happy to be back -- but seriously, those cats gave me nightmares for years and are probably at the root of all cat-hating in North America ...

And given the nature of the Amber books, it would not at all surprise me if Zelazny chose these monsters with the assumption that we'd all kind of hear that song. He probably wasn't traumatized by them either *wry g*.

From: [identity profile]

Re: menaced by... an evil chicken

My response was pure outrage (at the age of five or six) that Disney was slandering MY beautiful Siamese cats. Also I was so sad when Lady had to wear that awful muzzle. DUMBO traumatized me to the point that I've never watched it since.

From: [identity profile]

runs away with the perfect and telepathic Daniel.

See, that's the point where I started to wonder if maybe this was SG-1 fanfic.

From: [identity profile]

Isn't it obvious that male gays are men, with the understanding of women; who understand instinctively that war, violence, and hatred are wrong.

I'm sure Alexander the Great would disagree. Not to mention Elisabeth Bathory.

As for the Evil Chicken. Sounds like Goodkind was overdosing on Gary Larson, or possibly The Egg and I.

From: [identity profile]

Perhaps Goodkind put the evil chicken thing in for one of the following reasons:

A. He did it on a dare
B. He did it to prove his editor never actually read and/or edited anything he submitted
C. He did it because he had no idea that an average reader, even an average F/SF reader with the custom heavy-duty belief suspension mechanism, does not find chickens to be a credible threat but rather hilariously out of place

From: [identity profile]

I'm SOOOOO glad I wasn't reading this while enjoying a coffee!

Gee, I'm glad I friended (gooder English, no?) you. :-)

From: [identity profile]

Speaking of the creepy octopus from Serenity, I would punch my sister in the back of the head to have the "Fruity Oaty Bar" jingle for my cell's ringtone.

Fruity Oaty Bar, makes a man out of a mouse!
Fruity Oaty Bar, makes you bust out of your blouse!
Eat them all the time! Let them blow your mind!
Ohhhhh, Fruity Oaty Bars!

From: [identity profile]

Attack chickens of doom

I've been savaged by a rooster. Give me a 17 hand horse with an attitude and I'll deal with it calmly; give me an attack chicken, and I'll find something better to do.

Elsewhere. And fast.

This does not mean I find Goodkind in any way readable.

From: [identity profile]

menaced by... an evil chicken.

It's David Boreanaz's nightmare...
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter

And the cover! I am only sad we didn't get a chance to take a picture of the cover, what with the naked man bursting out of some arcane circle.

From: [identity profile]

You know, my grandmother kept geese...when they scared me, I left the pen...I refuse to believe she was in a cage with a chicken.

Was she in a cage with a chicken?

I almost typed "pigeon" every time.
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (hakkai - scream)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

You know, I have always avoided this author, without any facts on which to base that decision. Just something about the number and size of the books, and the nature of the blurbs ... I'm so glad my instincts didn't let me down here!

From: (Anonymous)

Oh God....


I... don't know what to say right now except that I have to go and change my username because it used to be based on that character. The only excuse I can offer is that I was 11 when I read it. I don't think I'm brave enough to read it again.

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