Sons of Darkness: Tales of Men, Blood, and Immortality (1996) takes us down a deliciously homoerotic path of darkness and blood.
I DON’T naturally gravitate toward the short story format or erotica, so a literary work has to possess something unique and compelling to get my attention. This anthology came into my life in University when I was a young gay goth desperate for anything romantic or erotic pertaining to the dark side of my personality and, at the time, lifestyle in the Goth Scene. So, I was unbelievably excited when I saw this at @gladdaybookshop in Toronto. And it was signed by Editor Michael Rowe, a fellow Canadian. I bought it without question, took it home, and went directly to my bedroom to devour this macabre collection of gay/homoerotic stories. And “juicy” doesn’t only describe the blood the varying types of vampires desire in crimson gushes. Hawt–and monstrous. If you’re into that kind of thing. 🙂
I enjoyed these tales, some more than others, true, but there really is something for every fan of Gay Horror and Supernatural Erotica here. It’s really about what entices you about these genres that will determine which stories will resonate with you most. And always consider the constraints of writing in the short story format. The overarching theme of vampirism varies between tales. You definitely get your traditional representation of vampires, but some come across with more of a serial killer vibe but are no less seductive or horrifying. It’s definitely a cornucopia of diverse horror. I think about the tenet of the queer reality competition show @bouletbrothersdragula: filth, horror, glamour—only switch out glamour for kink. These tales aim to make the reader uncomfortable, aroused, and horrified all at once. It’s titillation mixed with terror.
“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Canadian writer Ron Oliver is my favourite of these stories. So twisted with a distinct 80s/90s feel. Very much my The Lost Boys fantasy. Oliver takes the emotions many of us gay teens had, alternative, goth or not, and directs his story towards a horrific and oddly understandable outcome when one cannot deal with unrequited love/lust and inferred betrayal. These and many other erotically charged, dark and twisted themes are not for everyone, but if you’re gay, queer or even just curious about homoerotic horror, this is an excellent anthology to start off with. And yes, there is a follow-up book, Brothers of the Night: Gay Vampire Stories (1997), which provides more of the same (in a good way), but Sons of Darkness holds a special place in my gay, gothic heart as my first foray into this sensually dark genre.
Sons of Darkness: Tales of Men, Blood, and Immortality is available for purchase at amazon.ca and amazon.com. Brothers of the Night: Gay Vampire Stories is available at amazon.ca and amazon.com. Check out his website for more information on writer and editor Michael Rowe. Oh, and in reference to the multiple Queer Horror Anthologies Rowe has been a part of, Clive Barker once hailed him as having “changed forever the shape of horror fiction.” Yeah, I’m impressed. For more information on the writer (though he claims to be a ‘former writer’ on his social media–but once a writer, always a writer to me), editor and sex educator Thomas S. Roche, check out his website. You can also follow him on Twitter.