Habu’s Grab Bag 8, a collection of fifteen standalone short stories habu wrote in the spring and early summer of 2015, is the latest in a series of short story anthologies with eclectic gay male settings and plotlines presented in the order in which they were delivered to habu by his muse. The inspirations for habu stories are as random as are his story themes and settings, but those in the Grab Bag collections usually reflect where habu has traveled and what he observed or read or music he listened to during the writing period. Thus there are stories here inspired by a trip to Charleston for the Spoleto music and dance festival; to Savannah, always a favorite inspirational trip for habu; and to Richmond. A couple inspired by books habu was reading, a historical one dredging up the provenance of a painting in habu’s den, a few connected with the news headlines, and even one inspired by listening to the soundtrack of an old, favorite movie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? As always, there’s one from habu’s intelligence work past and a hardboiled promiscuous NYPD detective mystery. One, “Galician Guitar,” is the opening chapter of a nostalgic book on the Galician region of Spain in writing process with habu’s coauthor, Sabb.
Variety and setting are always important in habu’s stories, and, as usual, the settings of these stories span the globe from the United States—mostly the East Coast in this collection—to Italy, Germany, Argentina, an isolated, foreboding desert in Southwest Asia, and Japan. Time periods also vary. Although most of these stories are in current time, one moves to Germany at the end of WWII and one is set in Germany and one in Richmond in the 1920s. And, as always, there are unusual stories that take fresh approaches to men unabashedly taking their pleasure with other men. Habu’s men rarely agonize over their gay lifestyle; they embrace it.
The overarching motivation for a habu story is that it try to be different in some way from ones he has written before, a tall order for a writer who has some 800 short stories published, but a goal we think has been achieved here. As with the previous Grab Bag series, we hope that readers will find stories to entertain, arouse, amuse, and evoke thought in this collection.
About the Author
Habu is one of the pen names of a former supersonic spy jet pilot, intelligence agent, male model, movie actor, and diplomat. A wild youth in South East Asia was spent enjoying whatever sexual opportunities came his way, and much of his gay male writing is about recalling incidents from those days and inventing ones he’d perhaps have liked to experience. He now leads a very quiet and ordinary life. Feedback and reviews are always appreciated.