The Contagion Press edition of the book, with lavender purple cover

Monk Reviews The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell

Reading this inviting little faggot time capsule made me yet again contemplate and appreciate the power of unabashed fantasy – a word I choose over the utopia/dystopia binary. It’s a slender volume comprised of connecting vignettes, each only a page or three long. The perspective is outside/adjacent to violent/oblivious straight society. All sorts of fags and trans people make an appearance, and there is not a mention that I can recall of sickness, plague, or AIDS. It really makes me wonder how the contemporaries of the author received this book, compared to how we in 2019 receive it. (I’m especially curious with regard to the depictions of the street queens and trans women…)

It’s less of a straightforward narrative and instead progresses in vignettes not more than a page or few long, with fun flirty and sensual art nouveau type illustrations here and there, and so it makes for excellent reading for excursions, escapes, and when you can’t really focus on anything else too involved.

I first read this book thanks to a friend who lent me their copy, put out by Contagion Press, which “faithfully reproduces the long out of print edition by Calamus Books.” As I write this, a new edition has been produced by Nightboat Books with essays and some other bonus material not in the original, and I see many people on social sharing their photos of the new red cover book. This book is also available in its entirety in free PDF format.

Since the release of the Nightboat edition, I’ve seen many of my contemporaries posting about it on social media, and not a soul mentioning the Contagion edition. This makes me contemplate just how many important and historic bodies of writing are out there, which we just don’t know about until someone makes the effort to uplift it, and how often people and their creative works are lost and forgotten to time/history.

Suggestion: Requesting a copy of this book from your local library can thus make it available to others. Or ask your local book store to order it for you. Go to anyone but wicked mazn.