THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON DUANE SIMOLKE’S SONS OF TALDRA
The Journey to Sons of Taldra by Duane Simolke
Sons of Taldra represents and reflects my growth as a writer and a gay man. I took an unplanned journey through my books. Though they weren’t published in the order in which I first began writing them, their release reflects my progression.
The Acorn Stories included gay characters and showed the prejudice they faced in a small town. They struggled against the bigotry and tried to find their voice. New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio was obviously about someone else’s book, but I looked at Sherwood Anderson’s unapologetic exploration of gender issues, including hints at an acceptance of gay or gender-nonconforming individuals.
Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems includes my long essay “Reactions to Homophobia.” I wrote “Reactions” to help me explore the internal and external bigotry I had feared for so much of my life. It suggested ways to react to anti-gay statements, but also provided a template for people who wanted to stop letting those words limit or imprison them. Many of the poems reflected those same ideas, while some got more into gay love. I later released a short eBook with just some of the poems, simply titled Selected Poems.
Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure took me twenty years to finish, overlapping with college and other writing projects. The version that eventually saw print included the radical notion of people seeing same-gender love as an ideal. I later revised Degranon with the same-gender characters in much larger roles. (“Same gendered” is the term they use within the world of that novel.)
I collaborated on The Acorn Gathering and on The Return of Innocence. In both books, the queer characters simply exist, but they get less page time than the other characters. It’s no longer a big deal or a struggle.
Sons of Taldra uses characters and settings from Degranon, but it’s a completely separate novel that doesn’t require reading anything else first. Between all the action, that novel focuses on relationships: M/M, F/F, and M/F. Two of the male characters plan to marry. Of course, they need to defeat the alien shapeshifters first. Women hold most of the leadership positions, without anyone commenting on that fact. No one seems surprised or offended if two men kiss; it’s just two men kissing.
Sons of Taldra is easily my favorite of my books, and the one that I prefer people to read first. After that novel, I tried going back to writing short stories. I abandoned most of those, finding that I missed my space gays and longer narratives. Now I’m writing a new novel with one of the male couples from Sons of Taldra.
I think reading and writing queer literature helps many people explore what it means to be different and helps them find a commonality in that queerness. It helped me. We could hide queer content, suppress it, or apologize for it. Then again, we could polish it, put it out there, and tell others about it, because someone else wants or needs to find it.
Alien shapeshifters have found the human world. Leader and her sons must stop the invasion. Maintainer Admiral Nil blames Leader for a series of tragedies and might pose an even greater threat than the changelings that want to feed on humanity.
One of Leader’s twin sons, Telius, simply wants to marry the man he loves. The other, Argen, struggles with the residual effects of a deadly drug addiction. The young men rally to Leader’s side as she faces humanity’s greatest threats.
Bio: Duane Simolke was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and now lives in Lubbock, Texas.
Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.