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Richard Norway

Young Adult Straight Online Fiction

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Hi guys and gals,

As most of you know, David and I are foster parents. We have a new placement that is a young boy that will turn 15 in less than 2 weeks, He loves to read and I want to encourage that in him. I mentioned to him that I do a lot of reading online of free and new fiction. He knew that David and I are a gay couple well before he was placed and is straight. Tonight he asked me if I could give him some sites that he could go to to read in the evening. Well, I told him that I mostly read gay themed fiction and said that I wasn't sure if those are the sites he's looking for. He said, "Ah, not really."

Do any of you know of any sites that feature appropriate writing for straight teenagers?

Richard

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I know a few places to find sci-fi & fantasy stuff:

lightspeedmagazine.com

fantasy-magazine.com

http://beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/

http://www.strangehorizons.com/index.shtml

http://dailysciencefiction.com/

http://www.tor.com/stories

http://eschatologyjournal.org/

http://redstonesciencefiction.com/fiction/

And of course, for classics of all kinds there's Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Category:Bookshelf

I also want to recommend some excellent web comics:

http://www.abominable.cc/2007/06/20/episode-1/ (Amazing art and subtle, layered storytelling)

http://www.goblinscomic.com/archive/ (Art takes some getting used to, but excellent, epic story)

http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-06-12 (Art is isn't anatomically correct, but it tells the story well and the comic is funny.)

Good luck with the kid, Richard.

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THE SCENE: A Scottish old timer in Scotland, in a bar, talking to a

young man.

Old Man: "Lad, look out there to the field. Do ya see that fence? Look

how well it's built. I built that fence stone by stone with me own two

hands. Piled it for months. But do they call me

McGregor-the-Fence-Builder? Nooo.."

Then the old man gestured at the bar.

"Look here at the bar. Do ya see how smooth and just it is? I planed

that surface down by me own achin' back. I carved that wood with me

own hard labour, for eight days. But do they call me

McGregor-the-Bar-builder? Nooo..."

Then the old man points out the window.

"Eh, Laddy, look out to sea. Do ya see that pier that stretches out as

far as the eye can see? I built that pier with the sweat off me back.

I nailed it board by board. But do they call me

McGregor-the-Pier-Builder? Nooo..."

Then the old man looks around nervously, trying to make sure no one is

paying attention.

"But ya fuck one goat . . . "

-------

Man, I write ONE vampire story and show it to Cole...

I don't recall reading any vampire fiction at those sites. Half the stuff there is pure sci-fi in any case. ray guns, clones and aliens.

Of course, I do know of a magazine that specializes in alien vampires...

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He actually *wants* to read? Impressive! (No sarcasm there, I'm genuinely impressed. Good for him!)

Try Tor.com, they have some free and cheap fiction and samples, besides being a science fiction and fantasy publisher.

Project Gutenberg, already mentioned.

What about the literary magazine for the school he'll be attending? Do they or the school's journalism, English, or foreign language department have anything online? No idea, but you might check.

Heck, try the local library, real books.

Give him an allowance, er, budget for a certain amount in ebooks and printed books and magazines per month. With the stipulation that the books are *his* whatever happens to his case. (Fostering or adoption?)

If he's a science fiction fan, he might want to try a forum or two. That would give him some fan fiction (usually marked for appropriateness or not) that is OK to excellent, depending. That would also give a mixed group of fans of both sexes and many ages and outlooks. If those are not his thing, it's cool too.

Or maybe he likes other subjects. Horatio Hornblower, Aubrey-Maturin? Mystery? Historical Fiction? Real history? Science? Engineering and Mechanical? Web design? ;) Graphics and Illustration? Veterinary stuff, animals? Sports? The outdoors? Cooking? Woodworking or other hand skills and crafts? Poetry? Dinosaurs? What does he like to do? Find out.

There are plenty of things out there for an almost 15 year old young guy who likes reading, even a little bit.

There's everything from old standby stories for boys in mainstream books to science fiction classics to whatever.

-- I think a compilation of links to sites with good general fiction for straight teen guys is a great idea. -- Also a good idea for Codey's World to pursue.

One question might be, is he going to have questions about gay guys while living with two of 'em? Likely, yes. Better to be able to answer those for him.

There's maturity level and reading level and appropriate material for his age. -- Though at 15, my parents let me read almost anything I wanted to. Almost.

Coming from a background where he needs a family, he's likely been through some junk and likely to be sensitive to the needs of folks like himself, to a sense of fair play and good citizenship and helping others. Things that encourage good citizenship and neighborliness might be interesting to him. I don't mean forcing any reading matter or viewpoints, but the chance to affirm what he already feels and wants, or what he might aspire to. He has until he's 18 or a bit thereafter to finish forming his basic adult / post-teenage / after high school self. A little friendly encouragement toward a better, healthier, happier life might be welcome.

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Thinking about this a little bit more, I think there was a slight problem with leading the question. ;) Namely, "*straight* online reading for a teenage guy." OK, what do I mean, you're asking?

You know, when I was 14 and 15, the first thing that popped into my head was not, "straight reading" or "gay reading." Nope. Well, that was partly because I was in that "questioning" camp or maybe the "in denial" camp, at least part of the time. But no, it really didn't occur to me to qualify, when I wanted something to read, with "straight" or "gay." I just wanted something good to read, about whatever subject might appeal to me at the moment. I'm pretty sure any teenage guy would tend to think that way too.

Uh, about the only time it might have entered my head to look for "gay" or "straight"...well, no, I still kinda avoided that, but that was way back in the early to mid 1980's when I was a teen. You know, dinosaurs and cavemen. It's changed a little since then. (Thank goodness.) So, about the only time I might look for something was when I had those questions, you know, about my body, my feelings, sexuality, puberty...am I OK? What's it like for other guys? Does anybody feel like this? Wow, I sure wish my friend A or B or maybe C wanted...I sure want to...huh...? Oh dang, there it goes again, how come I keep thinking about guys when I...instead of girls? -- And back then, I was too uptight to look for magazines, even halfway innocent like guys' sports, much less something racier. If I did happen on a character or a scene in a book that suggested something or got my hormones going, hmm, that was sure interesting, but I felt both excited and sometimes guilty. But that was, of course, because I was struggling with trying to understand growing up as a gay guy when there wasn't anyone or anything I knew to turn to for anything but negatives, seriously freakily bad negatives, about a boy liking a boy and maybe doing...y'know, stuff. Also because I was shy and conservative and pretty religious. Also because of where I grew up. And I'd already developed a dislike for getting made fun of or beaten up. Hmm, yet I still managed to develop a couple of crushes without knowing any better until I was way into the crush....

Yeah, but that's being a gay boy in the 1980's in a big city in Texas. Doesn't really apply to a straight teen boy today, huh? Nope.

He *is* likely to have some interest in the awe and mystery of the female of the species, when his thoughts turn to curiosity about them. :) Good for him! How he deals with that and how you as foster/adoptive parents deal with that is, well, a subject unto itself.

I would say, though, that he's again likely to have some very real, urgent questions about gay guys, about you and your partner's relationship, and how he is, and how he fits into that. He'll deserve and need good answers there. Again, not really the question you asked about, and besides, it's something you'll have to find your own best answers to. -- But that does have bearing here where things are gay-friendly, and gay and straight folks deal with gay friends, relatives, and same-sex relationships. Uh, and he might have questions if he's had any feelings or experiences with other guys. And for a young guy who's straight, he definitely needs good answers for how to deal with that, if it's a concern to him. (Hey, he might be very well adjusted about that. I sure hope so.)

But otherwise? I think just plain old, "good stories" or "cool stuff to read" is probably more on target than "online reading for straight teenage boys." Does that make sense?

And -- My apologies if I stepped on any toes, there. My sincere apologies if it gets into something that would bother him.

I could probably start another topic, posting about how I felt or what I tried to find, in reading or viewing, as a teen guy in the 1980's, trying to figure himself out. But that's a whole different subject than what you asked.

Here's hoping your new foster/adopted son will really like his new placement and get to stay. Here's also hoping he finds plenty of good stuff to read, besides lots else to do.

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One more thought: He might like to try writing stories and poems. If so, that might be fun, helpful, and a learning experience for him. Nothing says he has to submit that anywhere online. It may not be allowed, given that he's placed in a home setting, for his privacy's and safety's sake. However, if it is something he could do, and if he'd like to write, it could be a way for him to start getting a regular life. I have no idea if that's a possibility. It might not be, given his status. A teenage author would be welcome at Codey's World, if that's suitable and he would like to write. Other teen authors there in the past have always been supported strongly. Just something to consider, if it's a possibility.

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These are a lot of interesting and far reaching thoughts, but...one step at a time. Right now we're still in the honeymoon stage. He's only been with us for 2-1/2 weeks and he's getting to know us and we're getting to know him. He's been through a lot and it's too early to have the "what are your long term goals" talk. He's just trying to get through the day right now. As he starts to feel safe and comfortable with us and is able to open up, then maybe we can approach the subject.

I'm going to start with reading first...to open up his horizons for him to see what is possible out there. Writing is bearing your sole and that is something that I plan on working on but only when he is ready and feels safe and secure enough to do that.

It's such an awesome (if not downright frightening) thought that we have the opportunity to change his life around to eventually be somebody.

Richard

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Yeah, wanting to make sure somebody's not going to pull the rug out from under you the next breath or the next day, I can relate to that these days. But even so, I get through the day. I don't know how I do some of the things I do, but I do 'em all the same. It's probably like that, being a foster kid or a foster parent. Keep on keepin' on, guys.

I'm impressed that of all the things he might like to do, reading was one of the first on the list. That says a lot for him.

Best wishes as he gets settled in and starts being himself and testing the waters.

Uh, Richard, my internal editor says, "Psst, 'baring your soul' :) ." Unless he's having trouble putting weight on his feet. ;) Yeah, don't mind the internal editor. He can't help it, occupational hazard.

Somebody who likes to read already has a plus in my book. I'll be cheering for y'all.

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