Every Nine Seconds (US Version "Queer As Folk" Novel)- Joseph Brockton

Ladymol's Review

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed the US version of Queer as Folk. Whether people who havenít seen the show would enjoy it as much is very hard to say.† The book reads like an early series of the show, which is just fabulous for fans like me. Whether it has the depth to be a novel, which stands on its own, Iím not so sure. The show has depth, but this is achieved as much by the wonderful acting talents of the cast as by the writing. Here you have the writing without Gale Haroldís face. You have Debbie without Sharon Gless to bring her to life.

However, I adored this book and read it in one day on a flight.† Michael and Brian are about to graduate from High School, and the novel revolves around graduation day and the prom and their deep relationship. Mikey is still a virgin and not out (although everyone knows heís gay). Brian is out and beginning on the odyssey of sex that is the main feature of the series. Oddly enough though, being the most popular student in school (mainly for his cool ďI donít give a damn about youĒ demeanour), very few people know that heís either gay or sexually active.

As fans of the series will know, Mikey bears a torch for Brian. Brian is the one true love of his life, but the one he will never have. This book shows that unrequited love being established, how Brian carefully sets it up the delicate balance in their relationship and tends it. Itís fairly explicit sexually, but not graphic, not at all raunchy. Mikey is too innocent and sweet to ever hit the level of raunch.

Every element from the show is in here, but itís almost too much of a conscious effort to put them in. For example, we have the superhero pyjamas that Mikey wears, the comic book store they visit, Debbie wearing her first badge. Meaningless to the uninitiated, but to fans of the shows, icons of the characters. However, I felt that they werenít actually needed. Perhaps I come to this book from the wrong placeóbeing a writer of fanfic (which, after all, is all this book is despite being published and official!). I used to do exactly this: fill my stories with little canon references. Now, I donít. I try to take the characters to the places I want them to go. Of course, Iím creating events very different to canon (unless I missed the episode where Angel and Spike get it on), and Every Nice Seconds isnít: itís setting up the premise for the rest of the show.† But I would have liked more depth to Brianís character, and less confirmation that he had an abusive father. What was he thinking? How did his father make him the way he was? Iíd have liked to explore his motivations more--get beneath the skin of the most enigmatic character in the show.

These are minor complaints though. Iíd definitely recommend this book to fans of QaF. To those who havenít seen the show, Iíd say read this book and youíll be a fan! I want to get the others in the series now (written by different authors, I believe) and I want to go back and watch the dvds of the show for, maybe, the fifth time! So, in that sense, this book is real winner!

 


Cerisaye's Review

If youíre a fan of hit TV series QAF youíll be interested in this novelisation of Brian and Michaelís final few weeks in high school.† Nothing out of the ordinary but for a TV tie-in not a bad effort and I enjoyed it more than the few Angel books I struggled through because itís written for adults.† Itís true to the characters, with enough backstory and references to keep the obsessive fan happy.† Simplistic writing style makes for a very quick and easy read.† I could easily hear the dialogue in the mouths of Brian & Michael on the show but missed the rich visuals as the book lacks descriptive detail.

Pitched at the same level of explicitness shown onscreen, thereís quite a lot of sex though some of it fairly pedestrian.† Not to mention laughable (Ďhis hardening joystickí for example!)† The fleshing out of Brianís relationship with his high school gym teacher is pretty hot.† As is his first visit to Babylon as an 18th birthday treat, which of course leads to discovering the wonders of the back room.† It seems a bit far fetched however that Babylon opens up just for Brianís benefit.† I guess thatís meant as a joke.† I also found it hard to see Brian as a jock:† high school soccer star goes to college on a sports scholarship- Brian?!

If youíre looking for a coming out story, you wonít find it here.† Both our boys are happy with their sexuality so thereís none of the struggling to come to terms with being gay that usually features in high school set gay fic, though, realistically, Michael is subject to homophobic bullying.† Iíd like to have seen a little more depth to the characterisations.† Itís hard to believe Brian at 18 could be exactly as he is on the show at 30.† Brian has copious amounts of guilt-free sex, and Michael obsesses over comics while yearning for something more than friendship with his best mate.†

Then, as now, itís never gonna happen.† But if you like the pairing youíll find plenty to salivate over here.† If youíre drawn to QAF by Brian & Justin youíll be bored by the bookís focus on the bond between our favourite stud and his best mate, though the close relationship between Michael and mother, Debby, is well drawn.† Nice to see Michael backing up Brian in an argument with his boorish dad over going to the prom stag together, effectively showing the need for support wasnít one-sided and why Michael is such a cornerstone in Brianís life.† Thereís real sadness in Michaelís fear of losing Brian (though no tension as we know he doesnít), when he goes off to his classy university leaving Michael behind to attend a lowly community college.

I donít read QAF fanfiction but Iíd be surprised if there isnít better writing available free on the internet thatís higher quality than this book and offering more insight into the characters.† If youíre not a fan I doubt this book will convert you, and if you are there are scenes thatíll probably have you reaching for a sick bag.† Still it fills a gap while we await the fifth (final?) series, and I would happily read the sequel.

Published by Simon & Schuster Inc; ISBN: 0743476123

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