What sort of audience do Mars-Jones and White have in mind for this collection of short stories concerning themselves with gay lifestyles during the AIDS epidemic: gay men, who for the most part hardly need to be told , or ‘straights’, who, prurient or sympathetic attitudes aside, probably do not want to be told anyway? And why just them? White and Mars-Jones are undoubtedly two of the finest self-identified gay authors currently writing, which tempers the suspicion that the project might have been conceived during a lapse into hubris, but Faber’s commitment to the book, rushing into print in a matter of months, would have offered the ideal opportunity to reconvene the contributors to Mae West Is Dead to get their opinions also.
One thing is immediately apparent. The Englishman has clearly resigned himself, however angrily, to the presence of the disease, while the American still has his fingers crossed. In Mars-Jones’s stories the facts of HIV-positive diagnosis and facing up to the threat of full-blown AIDS are things that the characters have