My Brother's Love
|Title:||My Brother's Love|
|Publisher:||Clarke and Keating|
|Fandom:||Simon and Simon|
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My Brother's Love is a 68-page slash (not Rick/AJ) novel by Maree Celeste.The distributor website (Knightwriter), says:
Reactions and Reviews
[Fan's name redacted], it should be said, while unwilling to attempt the esoteric pleasures of histericals, elves and romano-celts , is willing to endure anything in her search for brother slash. This time, her treasure-hunting led us to this lump of pyrite.
If you, in a fit of insanity, perhaps, were to purchase a Simon and Simon slash zine entitled "My Brother's Love", what would you expect? Rick and A.J. bonking? Rick and A.J. discovering passionate, romantic love for each other? Slow, lingering lovemaking on a boat lapped by gentle waves? Well, shame on you! You obviously aren't a real Simon and Simon fan, according to the editors of this zine, anyway. After all, they and the writer are all real Si/Si fans, and they don't do incest. And how can we blame them? After all, as the writer says in her author's comments at the end, while "homosexuality is not abhorrent" to her, she is "unhappy" with incest. And the editors are, presumably, so "unhappy" with incest that they won't even print it. Then why pick a title that positively reeks incest? Ours, obviously, is not to question why, ours is simply to buy and buy.
So, despite the fact that this is Si/Si, and despite the title, and despite several occasions of near-incest (or should that be pre-incest? Such as the moment when A.J., feeling his brother blowing into his ear (now, now, it wasn't like that. After all, we don't approve of incest, do we now?), feels a "warm, erotically pleasant sensation" take him, this is a case of no incest, please, we're brothers.
Now, two grown men having sex while a child watches, oh, that's perfectly all right, isn't it? Yes, in a zine that vomits over the mere thought of incest, we have a tale that involves, absolutely gratuitously — I might add: I came up with five different ways to avoid having the boy present whilst still having him available for rescue in the precise ploy of the story — a child watching two men having sex. And what's more. Rick, that bastion of no-incest-we're-decent-people, does not object. He doesn't find some excuse not to, doesn't find some excuse to leave the boy in the other room, doesn't choose to tip his hand before having sex in front of the boy, but waits until afterwards. So while incest is an anathema and homosexuality is not actually abhorrent, child abuse is obviously no big deal.
In amongst all this, there is actually a reason, of sorts, for the child being present. The set up is this: one of the children who live down the street from Rick and A.J. Simon (who would never dream of incest) disappears, and the two private eyes are sure (although the reader never is, not being privy to the facts that lead to such an assumption) that Billy is being held captive in the back rooms, in the "special club", of The Blue Balloon. Now, the Blue Balloon is a mixed club, although we never meet anyone there but homosexual men and abused children. Within a matter of a few pages, Rick and A.J. go undercover in the bar. Rick dumps A.J. (to stop him from being corrupted, to help him retain his "innocence", and keep him out of the clutches of these predatory gay men), Rick is picked up by a club member, the club member gives him a job, mentors him into the "special" club and Rick seesaws between having done this sex-with-men bit before to not being sure how he was going to fake arousal with a man.
It doesn't take long, of course, for Cantrelle to take Rick to the club where they ask for a boy, and who should turn up but little Billy. Rick lets Cantrelle suck him off while Billy watches, then tells Cantrelle what really happens to these poor boys, and Cantrelle, contrite, helps Rick escape with Billy. Cantrelle is killed in a car accident (well, he's run over: the writer hasn't decided yet if it were an accident or not), Rick rushes to his bedside too late, and while all this has been going on, A.J. has cased the joint, had himself smuggled into the club in one of the giant boxes used to transport the boys, been caught, decked out in sadomasochistic gear and left to be rescued by Rick, who does so, of course.
This story isn't actually badly written, although it's very muddy when it comes to the motivations and orientations of the main characters, and huge chunks are inferred or insinuated rather than being written with any more detail than an outline. It's also totally off-base in its interpretations of paedophilia. And then there's the small issue of that nasty aftertaste left in the mouth by the never-ending cascade of negative gay images. The first gay the Simons meet? A smooth, predatory art-gallery owner in the habit of 'employing' young men (so what the hell was he doing with Rick Simon?), fickle, dishonest and, of course, a paedophile. When A.J. is checking the club to see if there is some way (other than Rick going undercover as a gay man, having sex with a man and having sex in front of a boy, that is, obviously too taxing a task for their little brains, now that they've started having these urges) to infiltrate it, the doorman of the club is a swine. The guys who capture him are swine, and being homosexuals, just have to be sadomasochists who love nothing more than an unwilling victim. The gay character Cantrelle blithely assumes that Rick, whom he thinks is a homosexual, will be keen on having sex with a child, and if not keen, then at least open to persuasion, and sympathetic to Cantrelle. Yet again, gay=child molester. Yet again, I found myself wondering why, if Cantrelle is a paedophile, he was so lustful of Rick, our very tall, very butch, moustachioed man whose "whipcord strength seemed to be carefully held in check". Oh, yes, every paedophile's dream. But then again, Cantrelle is queer, and we all know how fickle and sluttish queers are, don't we?
I'm not saying that the author or the publishers are homophobic, but the story certainly is. Now, that could have happened because the writer wanted to get the piece finished, or simply because the characters' integrity was sacrificed to the needs of the plot. Perhaps this is true of this zine. I certainly hope so.Oh, and I use the word 'zine' in its broadest sense: this little lot, while published in zine form, while taking up 63 pages (some of it absolutely excruciatingly bad art: one friend said that "this one of A.J. is awful". It was actually supposed to be A.J.'s mother...), whilst costing $11, can't be much more than 20,000 words, if that. Of course, given what happens in 20,000 words, this zine is like a speech: blessed in its brevity.