Guest post by Donald Weise, Editorial Director of Magnus/RAB
I am thrilled to announce that Ethan Mordden’s Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man is now available and I couldn’t be more excited to finally see this knock-out fiction collection in print. For the past thirty years Ethan has been one of our most widely-read and critically-acclaimed writers. I’ve worked with so many notable gay novelists, from Edmund White and John Rechy to Dennis Cooper and Samuel R. Delany, but I’ve not had the pleasure of working with Ethan until now.
Like a lot of guys my age, Ethan’s story collections Buddies and Everybody Loves You were books I read while coming out and for years after. The distinctive Stonewall Inn Editions logo on the spines was something that jumped out on any bookshelf, announcing “gay fiction!” to anyone in the know. At the time this really mattered, since this pre-dated the Internet when identifying LGBT books in stores was more of a challenge. Ethan was one of the first authors, if not the first, in this groundbreaking imprint from St. Martin’s. That’s just one reason why publishing him all this time later is especially meaningful to me.
More than anything, though, The Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man is a clever, fun, sexy read. It consists of a brand new novella and four stories not available elsewhere. While the collection isn’t erotica as one might hope from the title, it’s still hot!—or as Ethan describes it, “Every one of the stories deals with the relationship of a dominant and submissive male, the daddy and his ‘boy,’ the top man and the vassal.” In the novella, for example, a big blond cop and a sophisticated journalist move in together: handsome, sexy, hungry...and straight. As time passes, they become trapped in each other's emotional lives in a symbiotic friendship. The cop grows intense and possessive till, one night, on the edge of violence, the two men must confront the nature of their relationship.
One reason I love Ethan’s fiction so much is the humor. He’s an understated but effective comic writer, which is why the humor works so well. In one of my favorite passages, a character says, “In the first place, Jutter Flexx was not a porn star. He had done some modeling for Colt, and he did become one of their most exploited figures, with his own solo calendar. In the gay world, this is like being elected President of France.” How can I not love a brilliant line like that?