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the gay SF classic begins here, with the unabridged edition, lovingly restored in 2004 Mel Keegan begins a new masterwork of gay-themed science fiction: Hellgate near-future SF with gay themes and delicious heroes. Oh yes, and wild tigers,too! near-future SF again ... in a world that's turned to ice. Delicious gay heroes, and it's 'High Noon' on superbikes in a post-apocalyptic future! the first starships of Earth are launching from the Jupiter system ... and something, somewhere is way off beam in a drowned Earth science fiction scenario, the new beed of humans are the key to survival. Gorgeous gay heroes are just the beginning 2048 ... and the city of Adelaide is beset by mystery, murder and intrigue ... five stars at Rainbow Reviews! A starship crew returns to the home worlds, where augmented humans are not merely unwelcome -- they're illegal forms, an they're in big trouble. Sizzling gay romance on Titan -- and a whole lot more

Gay science fiction novels ... it's a rich genre, and the one most often thought of when one thinks of Mel Keegan. There are no less than sixteen novels on the list for this category, if you call fantasy novels 'science fiction,' as most book stores seem to these days. (You always find the sword and sorcery filed cheek-by-jowl with the space wars and fictional mars missions.)

The NARC series is five volumes, a set of stories which are the 'Gay science fiction reader's choice' of the Mel Keegan list. These novels tell the vast story of a paramilitary department, Narcotics And Riot Control, fighting a drug war four centuries from now, and their heroes, Jarrat and Stone, have achieved cult status. See DEATH'S HEAD, EQUINOX, SCORPIO, STOPOVER and APHELION:

Death's Head Cover Equinox Cover Scorpio Cover Stopover Cover Aphelion Cover
[Click here for a swift overview of the series.]

The NARC books are a exercise in 'social science fiction.' Rather than examining the possibilities of artificial intelligence, alien creatures and more highly-evolved life forms, in these books Mel Keegan examines the human condition ... and this is what makes them so popular. It's the factor that makes social science fiction, as a genre, so popular.

In the Mel Keegan brand of science fiction, the author creates a world where homosexuality is no longer an issue in any way, shape or form. You're gay. Where's the problem? People are completely free to choose their social niche. This is the 'upside' to this fictional universe. The 'downside' is that there are plenty of other things to worry about! One of them is the lethal designer drug called Angel.

Mel Keegan's characters come from widely different backgrounds and lifestyles. They work with a common purpose on the space-borne aircraft carrier, the Athena. A single vocation gives them kinship.

Everyone in the service has lost a loved one to a designer drug known as Angel. Lethal ... incurable ... seductive, this plague has built empires and torn them down.

(Briefly, Narcotics And Riot Control (NARC) is a paramilitary department. Don't think army or air force. Think some combination of SWAT and a cutting-edge anti-terrorist squad, plus the US Coast Guard and (!) customs and quarantine. The working atmosphere is relaxed and a number of their 'mission specialists' — in computers, programing, medicine — are actually civilians. NARC was founded purely to fight the Angel plague, defeat the syndicates which achieve imperial status in the human colonies. This is the background for the series. It's the framework on which the stories 'hang.' For an in-depth look, visit the NARC sub-site, which is part of this site.)

The stories themselves are about people — very real, often haunting ... and frequently, men in love with men. The themes which underlie the novels are often strongly gay, but on a broader level they're about the freedom to be what you are. This freedom should be a right, not a privilege. Yet, how many groups on Earth in our own century still struggle to achieve it?

Special feature:
Mel Keegan talks about the gay science fiction genre

And this is where 'social science fiction' comes into its own as a genre. The NARC books are superb examples of this sub-category of SF. Readers have been enthralled since 1992, and many reviewers have raved.

HIM magazine described DEATH'S HEAD as 'unputdownable.' In the same year, CAPITAL GAY called the novel 'a powerful futuristic thriller.'

And in its year of publication (1992), DEATH'S HEAD was nominated for the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Being a gay novel, it was less than likely to win over the giants of SF (Azimov, Clark, Bear...), but the nomination tells its own story. In the estimation of many readers, the NARC series is gay SF at its very best ... and it's a hard act to follow.

Pleasing the critics is one thing. Delighting readers — and doing it reliably over almost twenty years — is something else. And Mel Keegan has done this, with gay fiction of every description, from 1989 to 2011!

Meanwhile, the HELLGATE series does indeed follow the NARC books, in more ways than one. More serial than series, HELLGATE is at four novels, and tells the story of mankind's expansion into a region of space — the Deep Sky — where we will obliterated by an someone else's enemies ... if we don't wipe ourselves out first with the Colonial Wars which are just beginning to explode as the series starts.

And here's the kicker: HELLGATE is set in the same 'universe' as NARC. The frontier has moved back from the Near Heavens (in which the NARC books take place, in the 24th century), to the Deep Sky, two centuries later. HELLGATE is complete, with the sixth and final volume published in Dacember 2013; since THE RABELAIS ALLIANCE was published (2001), we've tagged it as a 'masterwork of science fiction,' and this is rather an understatement! As per specifically gay science fiction, HELLGATE is as much a ground-breaker as the NARC series.

the rabelais alliance deep sky deep sky probe flashpoint flashpoint

Next are a raft of stand-alone novels, from TIGER, TIGER, which is set in Tasmania in the 2050s, to WINDRAGE, which is a post-apocalypse romp once described as 'a gay western on super-bikes after we get pulverised by an asteroid impact' ...! There's also CALLISTO SWITCH, about a switch pilot in the Jupiter system, on the eve of massive developments regarding the first human colony ships ... and AQUAMARINE, set in a 'drowned future,' where it was a comet that impacted in the Antarctic, and the new race of Aquarians, genetically-engineered humans, might be the future of mankind ... if any of us survive long enough. And if gay fantasy is your preference, THE SWORDSMAN is sword and sorcery, Mel Keegan style, with an astonishing sting in its tail — a readers' favorite.

Click the covers, above, to go to the browser pages. From those pages you can read around 40% of each book online, get inside MK's head with the 'Research Tales,' link through to the Reviews and see what other readers are saying ... and order the books! Learn more about HELLGATE...

See also: The Gay Historical list Sea Stories with irresistable gay heroes!

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