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Book Review: Monster by Michael Grant

By Amazon, Books & Authors, Reviews2 Comments
Monster-Michael-Grant-Book-Cover
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Monster is the exciting and explosive first book in a trilogy that will be a sequel series to the superb and super selling Gone Series.

The Gone Series had six books:

  1. Gone which I reviewed here.
  2. Hunger which I reviewed here.
  3. Lies which I reviewed here.
  4. Plague which I reviewed here.
  5. Fear which I reviewed here.
  6. Light which I reviewed here.

In Monster it has been four years since the events at Perdido Beach.

Four years ago, a meteorite hit a Nuclear Power Plant, an invisible dome was created and all the adults disappeared. The children and teenagers that remained trapped inside the dome had a lot to deal with including an alien virus that gave some of them powers. Some used their powers for good and others for selfish or cruel purposes.

Now more pieces from the same meteorite are starting to fall to earth from space.

This time the alien virus make even more dramatic changes to people whom come into contact with it. They are much more powerful than those in the Perdido Beach dome ever were. They will be able to morph into monsters with astonishing powers and then be able to de-morph back into human form. But for each of those infected with the alien virus, one question trumps all others: Will you be a Hero, Villain or Monster?

Most of our main characters are new. Shade Darby saw her mother murdered by Gaia when the Perdido Beach dome came down and barely survived herself. Her father works for the Government studying pieces of the meteorite in space and he has calculated the exact position of the pieces landing.

Shade was powerless when her mother was murdered and is determined never to be so again. In fact, quite the opposite, she wants to gain power to become a hero. Malik Tenerife is in love with Shade, but their relationship ended due to Shade’s obsession with gaining power.

Shade meets Cruz Martinez Rojas at a bus stop. Cruz is a trans character, although physically male, he dresses feminine and feels neither male nor female. Grant explained and dealt with this gender issue expertly. This didn’t come as a surprise, after all The Gone Series had gay, lesbian and bisexual characters.

Justin DeVeere is a promising art student with delusions of grandeur. He is going out with Erin O’Day. Justin comes in contact with one of the pieces of the meteorite and develops powers. In panic, but with some pleasure he makes some mistakes that harm people.

But Justin makes a choice to murder. He decides to name himself Knightmare and tries to make it a persona. He is aiming for people to think of him like The Hulk. Justin is Bruce Banner and Knightmare is the Hulk, something he has no control over. Only he does.

Armo (his nickname, actual name: Aristotle Adamo) is an Adonis, who happens to have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). He has his whole life a head of him, being just 17 years old. That is until the accident and his nonconsensual exposure to one of the pieces of the meteorite.

Vincent Vu hears voices in his head. He possibly has bipolar or schizophrenia. He is exposed to the largest piece and amount of the meteorite an undergoes the most dramatic change. But does this make him unstoppable?

Dekka Talent makes a welcome return and offers fans of The Gone Series the opportunity to find out what happened to other characters from the series. Tom Peaks from the US Government recruits Dekka to help, but all is not what it seems as Dekka quickly discovers.

Whenever any of the characters use their powers, they are aware of being watched by Dark Watchers. These Dark Watchers appear to be using them as a form of entertainment and love death, destruction and devastation.

The description was superb and brilliant. The plot was action packed and compelled the reader to read on. The pacing was ultra fast-paced.

I would highly recommend Monster to anyone and everyone. It’s a crucial and necessary read for any fan of The Gone Series. Those who haven’t read any of The Gone Series could still pick it up, know what’s happened, understand what’s going on and get full enjoyment from the book.

Review soon,

Antony

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5 Great Reasons to Come Out as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual

By GayNo Comments

Today (Wednesday 11th October 2017) is National Coming Out Day. Coming out is when a gay man or lesbian woman disclose that they are attracted to the same sex to someone. Coming out for a bisexual is when they disclose that they are attracted to both sexes to someone.

national-coming-out-day-2017

National Coming Out Day – Wednesday 11th October 2017.

Coming out is a process, rather than a singular experience and is a life long one. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people come out in all areas of their lives including: to family, to friends, to work colleagues, to health & social care professionals, etc. Coming out is diverse, some are out to everyone, some are only out to some people in their lives and some aren’t out at all.

All gay, lesbian and bisexual people remember their first coming out experience and sometimes choose to share their intimate stories with one another. These shared experiences, along with associated emotions can create strong empathetic bonds.

Trans people also go through the process of coming out. I’m not Trans, so this article will only focus on coming out for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

This article gives 5 great reasons to come out as gay, lesbian or bisexual. But only come out if you feel that it is safe to do so. Don’t put yourself at risk of harm in any way. If you live in a country that mistreats, or persecutes, or where homophobia and biphobia is evident it may be safer not to come out.

Here’s 5 great reasons to come out:

5. More Chance of Meeting Mr or Ms Right
Being out will switch on your gaydar. Suddenly you’ll start to notice attractive gay men, or lesbian women or both sexes everywhere. Being out and becoming part of the out world will lead to more opportunities to meet Mr or Ms Right.

4. A New Lease of Life
Coming out will give you a new lease of life. You’ll become part of the gay community, which is rich with its own unique culture and many sub-cultures. There’s something for everyone in the gay community. You’ll make new friends, lovers and partners.

3. Acceptance
Gay, lesbian and bisexual people going through a process of self-acceptance prior to coming out to others. Part of coming out to others is about gaining acceptance from those you hold dear. Acceptance and tolerance for difference is something that has always been a struggle for humans. But slowly, in more and more countries around the world, we are becoming more tolerant, inclusive and accepting.

LGB (Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual) people in some places gave gained more rights and protections. In some places they have been given truer equality, just think about the legal right marry their partners.

In history most LGB were not able to marry their partners because they were of the same sex. Yet straight people have always been able to marry their partners. By allowing all to marry their partners, irrespective of gender, is true equality. You can read more about The History of Marriage (in the UK) here.

2. Happier and Healthier
You’ll be happier not keeping the secret from people. Keeping your sexuality is a secret is a lot of work: watching what you say, watching what you do and watching how you behave.

Add to the above saying, doing and behaving like others would expect a straight person to. Analysing situations in your head for a long time after they’ve happened, wondering if your act was good enough?

You will be mentally healthier as well. Those who are not out are more at risk of depression, anxiety and other mental health illnesses due to feelings of isolation and the burden of keeping the secret.

1. Be Yourself
Coming out gives you the chance to be your whole self, without having to hide one of the most important aspects of yourself.

Are there any other great reasons to come out? Leave a comment below.

Blog soon,

Antony



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Proud of Tom Daley

By The Web, ThinkingNo Comments

I know it’s old news now; but Tom Daley recently revealed that he is in a relationship with a man. He made this disclosure on this YouTube video:

Click here to display content from www.youtube.com

My initial reaction was pride. All out gay or bisexual men have had to have these difficult conversations at some point, so I definitely empathised. These conversations are hard enough, but for Tom it must have been even more difficult given his position.

Tom is an Athlete in the Sporting Profession; and how many out gay professional Athlete’s or sports people do you know? Gareth Thomas the retired Rugby Player comes to mind, but he only came out as gay after he retired.

Then there’s Robbie Rogers a US Football Player, who used to play in the UK but no longer does. It is unbelievable that of the estimated 4,500 professional Football Players in the UK, he is the only gay or bisexual one. Statistics apparently show that 1 in 10 men are gay or bisexual, so it is likely that there are many professional footballers as well as other Athlete’s and sports people that haven’t come out.

The reason Athlete’s and sports people don’t come out is the stigma still attached with being gay in the sport industry. Professional sports people worry about losing fans, sponsors and ultimately their jobs. Tom will have been aware of all this and is very brave for risking all.

Tom Daley Christmas

I’ve read many journalistic reactions and opinion pieces on his disclosure. I’ve also read many supportive messages to him, along with some quite blatantly homophobic ones.

I wasn’t just proud that Tom had come out as being in a relationship with a man, but that he had put himself in a position of emotional vulnerability in search for acceptance. Acceptance is an innate human desire and in order to gain acceptance you have to let people know you.

Tom Daley Working I have pondered if Tom deliberately avoided using the words gay or bisexual, or even if these words needed to be said. I’m sure that Tom coming out will be a great role model to any gay teens struggling with their sexuality – what it means for them and their life.

If I were to give a message to Tom it would be this:

Thank you for sharing who you are. I wish you every happiness, you deserve it. Keep the people in your life that accept, love and care for you. The people that don’t this feel this way – don’t worry or waste your time thinking about them. Just keep working, living and loving who you are.

Published by: The Gay UK on Friday 17th January 2014.

Take care,

Antony



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TheGayUK Articles – Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews

By Creativity, Gay, History, Journalism, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

TheGayUK‘s theme this month is Vintage. The articles I’ve written this month are: Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews. Now, some of these have been submitted, but not yet published. The Editor assures me he’s spreading out the articles over the month, so here’s your chance to get a first read.

Here is my first article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village

Manchester Gay Village has a long history that makes it truly vintage. Starting as an underground scene in the sixties, through the decades it has transformed to what it is today: one of the most vibrant gay scenes in the UK. In this article we’ll cover the significant events that led to this transformation, describe the Village today and briefly contemplate it’s future.

In the 60s the area that would become the Village was deserted following the collapse of the cotton industry. Having been industrialised it was a gloomy part of the city with little life. The night visitors to the area were either men looking for prostitutes or the prostitutes themselves.

At this point it was still illegal for men to have sex with men, gay people were isolated, not seen as part of society and often encouraged to conform and get married to someone of the opposite sex.

The New Union pub started out as a place for men to meet female prostitutes, but it soon started to attract a small number of gay men. Female prostitutes and gay men might sound like an odd combination, but it was a relationship of mutual legal protection. If the Police ever raided, the prostitutes would pretend to be the gay men’s girlfriends so that neither could be arrested for their respective crimes: prostitution or men that are having sex with men.

In 1967 after campaigning in Manchester, London and other cities the law was changed so that men having sex with men were no longer doing anything illegal, but societal attitudes would take longer to change.

In the 70s the civil rights movement in Manchester continued to campaign for equality. The Rembrandt pub opened as well as one or two others; but these few venues were regularly raided by the Police aiming to catch gay men engaging in sexual activity in a public places. The Police applied the law unfairly, as it was only applied to gay men and often the attitudes of Police Officers were perceived as homophobic.

Then the early 80s came and along with it HIV/AIDS. This caused an increase in homophobia in society but caused the gay community to stand together. In the Village the Thompson Arms seemed to have opened at around this time, if not slightly earlier.

By the late 80s more gay people were coming out. In Manchester protests against Section 28 took place that passed through the city centre, the Village and ended at the town hall. At one of these Manchester protests around 20,000 people marched and what was significant was that: they weren’t all gay. In the Village New York, New York, Queen Club (now Company Bar) and Napoleons opened at around this time. The New Union and Rembrandt were still going strong.

In the late 80s Manchester Pride was also born, although it wasn’t named as that until many years later. It started with the owners of Rembrandt, Napoleons and the New Union wanting to do something on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the main event in the first year was an afternoon bring and buy sale. The vigil aspect came a few years later, when the gay people of Manchester started loosing their friends, lovers and life partners to HIV/AIDS.

The 90s brought a glass-fronted revolution started by the newly opened Manto bar. Before Manto the Village had a very “behind closed doors” feel to it, and this glass-fronted venue was symbolic of being: out and proud. New bars sprang up including Metz, Prague 5 (now G-A-Y), Vanilla and Via Fossa. Poptastic and Cruz 101 clubs opened around this time as well.

The late 90s brought Queer As Folk, a TV programme that dramatised life of three gay men in the Village. It was aired on Channel 4 and signified that there had been a major shift in societal attitudes towards gay people.

By the noughties the Village was similar to as it is now but the construction of The Beacon of Hope was significant. The Beacon of Hope stands on the edge of the canal in Sackville Park. It is a beautiful artistic steal structure that lights up in the evening symbolic of remembrance. Although we’ve moved on, we’ve not forgotten our gay brothers and sisters who’ve been lost to HIV/AIDS.

The Village today is a clean and bright setting with plenty of bars and clubs that gives it a vibrant atmosphere. It has the Village Business Association (business owners group), the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (a charity aimed at improving the health & well being of gay people), Manchester Pride (one of the biggest pride events in the country) and a myriad of community groups around every sort of leisure activity you could imagine. If you want to find out more about Manchester Gay Village, see our guide to gay Manchester:
http://www.thegayuk.com/#/manchester/4565401305.

Looking at the Village’s history one thing that is clear: it has always brought the gay community of Manchester together. Once together gay people have always instigated the change they want to happen. As long as the Village continues to bring the gay community together, be a part of the changes and keep up with them, it’s future will remain secure.

Antony Simpson, writer of this article wasn’t born until the mid-eighties. So in addition to speaking to some of his older friends who witnessed to some of the historic events in this article, he would also like to reference the following sources:
Gaydio: Your Story Radio Documentary, available: http://yourstory.gaydio.co.uk/documentaries/.

Guardian: Village people by Beatrix Campbell, available:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/aug/07/gayrights.communities.

Channel 4 OD: Queer As Folk
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/queer-as-folk/4od

Wikipedia: Canal Street (Manchester), available:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_Street_(Manchester)

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • Don’t disregard an idea without discussing it with someone first. I happened to mention in an online writers meeting that I’d had the idea for this article, but disregarded it as it was local history and TheGayUK is a national online magazine. The Editor seemed really keen on the idea and said that after London, Manchester was their next biggest audience.
  • More about the journalistic research process.
  • If you’re writing about something that’s been wrote about it before, make it your own by using a different slant or point of view (POV).
  • When it came to writing about the ‘noughties’ writing 00s didn’t feel right so I ended up using the word. This was inconsistant with the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s I’d previously used. I should have found a better way to write the decades, as it would have made the article consistent.

Here is my second article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Top 5 Vintage TV Characters
This month’s theme is Vintage. So I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 Vintage TV Characters. In order to make my list, characters had to be iconic (at least to me), gay and in some way vintage. So here we go:

5. Willow Rosenburg (Alyson Hannigan)
5.Willow
(Image Credit: Slayer Revival @ Flickr)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer first appeared on TV in 1997. Willow started off as a geeky, shy girl who fell in love with part-man part-werewolf Oz (Seth Green). When Oz decided he was too dangerous to be around and left Willow she slowly transformed into an UBER Witch. She met fellow Witch Tara (Amber Benson) and fell in love again, only for Tara to be murdered. I love Willow because of the transformation from shy girl to powerful independent woman.

4. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
4.Captain Jack
(Image Credit: alacoolb @ Flickr)

Captain Jack Harkness first appeared on our TV screens in 2005 in Doctor Who, before getting his own spin-off series Torchwood. Captain Jack is openly bisexual although all of his on screen relationships have been with men.

Now before you start commenting and telling me 2005 is hardly Vintage; Captain Jack is an immortal rogue Time Agent that has a timeline that dates back 1860’s. So if that doesn’t make him vintage, I don’t know what will.

3. Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver (Marcus D’Amico)
3.Michael Tolliver
(Image Credit: Seattle Gay Scene)

Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver appeared on TV in Tales of the City in 1993, which was based on the series of books with the same name. Michael is a gay man living in San Francisco in the late 70s and is a truly loveable character. If you’ve never seen Tales of the City, I can’t recommend the TV series’ and books enough.

2. Mr Humphries (John Inman)
2.Mr humphries
(Image Credit: NightMaresGrim13 @ Flickr)

Are You Being Served? Originally appeared on TV in the 1970s through to the 1980s. Are You Being Served? Was a sit-com set in Grace Brothers’ Clothing Department that focused on the Sales Clerks. I remember seeing a re-run and instantly fell in love with the mincing Mr Humphries.

Camp humoured Mr Humphries was filled with innuendo always alluded to his sexuality, as did his famous catch phrase ‘I’m free!’ whenever a good looking gentleman entered the store. An iconic character, one of the first TV characters to allude to their gay sexuality.

1. Edna Everage (Barry Humphries)
1.edna everage
(Image Credit: jsarcadia @ Flickr)

Edna Everage debuted on stage in her native Australia before she appeared on our TV screens in the late 80s. This Melbourne Housewife is surrounded by fables, but is essentially a character created and played by Barry Humphries. Edna Everage self-proclaimed advisor to the stars and royalty I always think of as being the first mainstream comedian drag act. Her international status makes her number 1 on my list.

If there’s a TV character you feel should be on the list, comment below so that I can discover some new characters.

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • That I can write and indeed enjoyed writing a light-hearted ‘Top’ article.
  • The format of a ‘Top’ article.
  • Use of a Creative Licence with regards to using flickr user images.
  • Keeping it brief: saying more with less words.

Book Reviews
This month I have submitted two book reviews: BOOK REVIEW: Into The Flames by Mel Bossa and Book Review: Handling Edna The Unauthorised Biography by Barry Humphries.

Blog soon,

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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