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Talo Segura

Story genre?

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On 11/2/2019 at 7:02 PM, Camy said:

Talo, if you haven't read any of Michael Arram's 'Peacher' series (and it sounds like you haven't), then you're seriously missing out.

You also said that (above) and I went to Michael Arram - Peacher series and picked up the first book in the series The Heart of Oskar Prinz. It's true you didn't mention that book specifically, but it's listed first and I like to start at the beginning- LOL! Of course, it's almost picking at random because there is just a list and I'd already started before you gave me the the reading order, maybe they should be in a numbered list?

Anyhow, I'm halfway through, I've got my thoughts about it, but I'll wait until the end. 

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4 hours ago, Talo Segura said:

You also said that (above) and I went to Michael Arram - Peacher series and picked up the first book in the series The Heart of Oskar Prinz. It's true you didn't mention that book specifically, but it's listed first and I like to start at the beginning

Except ‘Heart ‘ is not actually the first book in the series. IIRC it is however the first book where the paranormal associated with Rothenia Is hinted at. The Peachers are introduced in ‘Towards the Decent Inn’ and Terry in ’Terry and the Peachers’. For some reason these do not appear on this site. I remember raising the question with either the Dude or the author, or maybe both, but I suspect my email(s) may have been swept into the black hole of junk mail by their mail servers. These two stories can be found on IOMFATS http://iomfats.org/storyshelf/hosted/arram/ amongst other places. Please note that the versions of some of the stories (especially ‘The Fall’) differ between sites (I think the version here is the most recent) and I have noticed Mike Arram is currently posting some of the stories on GA with further revisions.

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I hate to see a discussion of Mike Arram's stories go by with several having been specifically mentioned without jumping into the fray by citing my favorite: The Chav Prince.  Wonderful story. 

C

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11 hours ago, Cole Parker said:

I hate to see a discussion of Mike Arram's stories go by with several having been specifically mentioned without jumping into the fray by citing my favorite: The Chav Prince.  Wonderful story. 

C

That was my favorite part of the Peacher series until Son of the Chav Prince came along. I enjoyed many of the other stories, but my interest waned as the supernatural angle became more central. A not-my-cup-of-tea kind of thing. But Arram is a master at characterization, and Son of the Chav Prince is both very funny and extremely touching. Both should be read together to get a full appreciation of both characters and their connection in the later story.

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I was going to wait until I had finished the story before commenting, but seeing how the discussion has seen several readers comment, my own comments, good and bad.

The Heart of Oskar Prinz was first published over fourteen years ago on Nifty in September 2005. There is no date of publication here on AwesomeDude, but interestingly the cover image shows Josh Elliot a well known (and sexy) porn star.

Whilst the version on here (I haven't read the Nifty original) is polished and well written, it is nonetheless dated. From the moment I picked up the book and started reading, I said to myself, this was written by an old guy. Michael Arram gives his age as 65 on Gay Authors, so he wrote this in his fifties. Perhaps, it having been written fourteen years ago for Nifty is more responsible for the old fashioned feel rather than the age of the author. I don't know, I would need to read something more recent to decided.

Without a doubt it follows the Nifty formula, if somewhat less pornographic than the majority of stories on that site. Although pornographic is a charged word you cannot deny (the author says himself) the story has several graphic sex scenes. Are they necessary and intrinsic to the story? Probably not. That is the Nifty formula, graphic sex in every or every other chapter. This story was written in the same epoch and it shows.

The author recreates a sort of alternative world which is really a renaming and twist to post cold war eastern Europe. Josh Elliot is from Czechoslovakia (The Czeck Republic post Balkan war) and the story is firmly set in the same (imagined) country, at least in part. The theme of poor boy from Eastern Europe turns to prostitution as an escape, is very much there, but nicely turned around with a hidden royal heritage.

There's no doubting that Mr Arram is an accomplished author and tells a good tale which continues through a series of books, no small achievement. I wouldn't criticise a book for being of its period and age, I do find that mode of the period to write unnecessary graphic sex detracts from the respect the novel might otherwise deserve. It's a shame, and I'm not opposed to graphic sex. One could have a modern book full of sex if the story demanded, but here it's formulaic and repetitive.

Is this a great book? No. It is, as I said well written, a nice story, a detailed creation of a world, (sometimes too detailed), and a story interesting enough to keep you reading, but not enough to be one of those books you simply can't put down. I think perhaps if you'd read it back in 2005 it would have shone out from the quagmire of trash, but that is not quite the same environment today where one must compare against the broad gamut of quality gay writing.

At the end of the day, you will have to read the book for yourself and form your own judgement. Perhaps the best compliment one might pay the author of this book is to appreciate the quality and effort that went into creating this story, which without a doubt contributed to moving gay online fiction from porn to serious, quality, writing. Without books like this we probably would not be where we are today.

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Paul said:

That was my favorite part of the Peacher series until Son of the Chav Prince came along. I enjoyed many of the other stories, but my interest waned as the supernatural angle became more central. A not-my-cup-of-tea kind of thing. But Arram is a master at characterization, and Son of the Chav Prince is both very funny and extremely touching. Both should be read together to get a full appreciation of both characters and their connection in the later story.

You're right, Paul!  I read both these long enough ago that I forgot all about Son Of.  Yes, both of them are excellent and should be read together.  Mike's terrific in creating characters you really want to succeed, and developing engaging plots.

C

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Getting back to labelling stories with categories...

It's a thorny question. I occasionally hobnob with authors whose work is published conventionally by major publishers, Penguin etc. Many of them bellyache about the publisher's requirement that they identify their stories by category. The publishers have developed quite tight definitions for their categories. For instance you can't label your story 'Romance' unless it has an HEA (publisher speak for 'Happy Ever After'). The publishers reckon that this is because romance readers expect the stories they read to end happily and feel cheated if they get to the end and there is no walk into the sunset hand in hand. Authors however feel that this denies them the tension build-up that is an important part, for them, of storytelling. The will they/won't they uncertainty keeps the reader turning pages.

On the other hand there are readers who object on various grounds to some genres, such as paranormal, or maybe bdsm. If a story that contains these elements is not clearly labelled, such a reader might begin reading and then be repulsed by the element to which they object.

There appears to be no right way to go about this - but I for one am happy with the way it's done here at AD - I can trumpet my story's category if I so desire, or leave it unlabelled if I prefer that.

Just my two-penn'orth.

Bruin

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Ye gads, Bruin's rich!

Spoiler

There was a time when two pennies were worth having. There was a time when you could get 8 black jacks (sweets, or candy to the US contingent) for a penny, drive across country without arranging a bank loan, and get a pint of beer for 30p). This has nothing to do with genre - unless the story is labelled 'whinging & whining.'

 

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I know this is off topic, but having started talking about The Heart of Oskar Prinz here, it seems only proper to add my comments having finished reading the book.

 

You might view this book from two different angles; the first half is dedicated to porn, not surprisingly, given that is the storyline and plot; the second half is about the untangling of the truth and relationships. On reflection, it would be much too harsh to criticise the constructs used to develop the story. Too much work has gone into the jigsaw puzzle and making all the pieces slot into place, one after the other.

There is a lot to learn about how to write a book here, and some scope to improve. I am still of the opinion that a little less graphic sex would have been preferred. The multiple ejaculations are as unbelievable as the rich benefactor. The former is the formulaic (Nifty) sex story, albeit well done, and the latter, is an overused, all too easy story device.

That said, you should always give credit, where credit is due. Mr Arram peppers his story with similar well worn phrases. There are glimpses in the novel of descriptive narrative which add a lot: ‘Melancholy, like a winter mist, chilled the places where he had been... ‘You won’t find him at Terlenehem, you know. ‘What?’ Will responded, his face wiped blank.  The significance of the remark sank in like a lead bar on a paper boat.

It is those descriptions that bring alive a novel, not just this story, but any story, hence the lesson to take away on how to improve and author a great book. The setting in Prague and the Czech Republic, transformed into Rothenia, is described with all the place names that you could probably discover looking at Google Earth. Likewise, Highgate, Camden Town, and the surrounds in North London, but the place names whilst adding authenticity, are not evoked with much description.

Overall this is a very well constructed and well written story which is pleasurable to read. My remarks and criticisms are my own and others will have different views. I would recommend the book as a good, enjoyable, story to read, by an accomplished author. As a foot note, I read this a long time ago, and not here on AwesomeDude and neither do I think on Nifty, not as far as I can recall, because it was way back when, before I ever found these sites. I wonder where Michael Arram first published?

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37 minutes ago, Merkin said:

I believe Timmy, at IOMfAtS had him first.  http://iomfats.org/storyshelf/hosted/arram/

More than likely. The Peacher tales are complete, and in order, too. Beginning with 'Towards the Decent Inn,' and ending with 'The Fall.'

Arram's three historical novels are not listed. But they are here, at AD, and well worth reading.

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1 hour ago, Merkin said:

I believe Timmy, at IOMfAtS had him first. 

If I am correct, IOMFATS has been running since 2008/2009, The Heart of Oskar Prinz was published in 2005 on Nifty. This got me thinking: in 1998 we got our first computer, super at the time, Windows 98, only problem we had dialup internet at 25Kb that's Kb not Gb... lol! There was a time limit on access and only certain times of the day, it was not unlimited, you couldn't really stay online reading a book. Downloading was also kind of slow.

dialup_download.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, Talo Segura said:

If I am correct, IOMFATS has been running since 2008/2009, The Heart of Oskar Prinz was published in 2005 on Nifty.

 

The Wayback Machine Internet Archive has snapshots of IOMFATS from as early as 2001.  Timmy introduced Michael Arram as a new author to the site in January 2006.  Nifty has several of his stories posted throughout 2005, but I suspect IOMFATS was the first curated story site to get him.

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