Folks have been recommending a lot of movies lately (and my To Rent list is bulging as a result; I don't get out to the movies as much as I ought to). In that vein, I have a couple of books to recommend: Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett. There are lot of things I like about these two books. The authors created a fully realized fantasy world where astrology is vital, magic is real, and ghosts visit for a month every winter. I love the main characters--Philip, the hired sword, and Nico, the policeman--two flawed, realistic men who have to deal with the fiddly facts of daily life like jobs, rent, dinner, and politics along with the more exceptional goings-on such as murder and magic. I could wish that the bedroom door wasn't shut quite so soon as it is, but that's what my imagination is for and Nico and Philip are well worth imagining "off-screen".
My first literary love is fantasy, and the fact that I can read and write about gay men in fantasy worlds is a like a dream come true. I get worn out by realworld bullshit like bigotry and hatred and intolerance of all sorts, so I find it hard to enjoy any genre of fiction where those elements play a major role in the telling of the story. Angst is good and useful in book, but there comes a point where I just want to escape all that RL crap. An author who creates another world controls that world absolutely. There may be the same issues we face in our real lives. There may not. Or there may be a layer of it that isn't the focus of the story. I love that. That's the best, because I've never understood people who fight about religion, sexual preference, race, and all the other non-issues people get all worked up over. I love books about people where their problems could be anyone's problems, you know what I mean? You don't have to be a certain gender/colour/religion/political party to identify and connect with them. Those are all things that shouldn't matter, so I love it when they don't, or when they are at most a background concern to a select few characters. That's my escapism. I read fantasy for, well, the fantasy. Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams are brilliant fantasy.
I highly recommend these books and sincerely hope that someday Melissa writes the other two books she and her partner had planned before Lisa passed away. These fellows deserve to have the rest of their story told. Meantime, I'll just re-read these two books whenever I need a dose of Nico and Philip.