THE FIRST ACOLYTE READER
The First Acolyte Reader, was published in October 1986 by The Acolyte Press, a publisher in Amsterdam dedicated exclusively to pederastic publications and recently founded by the American writer Frank Torey (1928-96) as a replacement for the similar but defunct Coltsfoot Press. It was the first of twelve volumes published over a decade when hopes for acceptance of Greek love had recently evaporated and it was coming under rapidly intensified persecution, both in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The stories in all the Acolyte Readers are by various authors, but they were all edited by Torey.
This article serves as both a synopsis and a review of the first volume’s content. The original list of contents is represented in brown.
Contents [list, synopsis and review]
Though the Acolyte Readers were issued by his own new press, it would seem that Frank Torey had been very much his own master while editing the earlier Panthologies for John Stamford’s defunct Coltsfoot Press, since there were few discernible differences. The authors of the short stories were mostly the same, every one of those in this first volume having already contributed to the Panthologies. The varied tone and quality of the stories was much the same, excepting a discordant note struck by Kevin Esser’s The Dying of the Light, which presented a dystopic (and sadly, in my opinion, realistic) view of the future, contrasting with the tendency of most stories in both series to be escapist. The book-cover artist, except for the strange omission of illustration from the cover of the volume under immediate consideration, was the same Mario de Graaf throughout. The main difference that struck me is that whereas in the first Panthology there were twice as many British as American authors, the reverse was the case in this volume, possibly reflecting preferences for or better contacts among their own kind by Stamford and Torey respectively. To my taste, this shift was apparently unfortunate, as I thought much the best stories in the present volume were by Englishmen: Steven Wood with Cheating at School and Simon Tryst with Floreat Grundy both offer a delightfully whimsical mixture of suspense and comedy that make their stories much the most enjoyable.
Floreat Grundy / Simon Tryst
A comedy set at an English preparatory school where the chaplain and the odd-job man are promiscuously involved with the knowing older boys of 12-13. PDF.
Sandburg Buccaneers / Kevin Esser
Brief descriptions of six American boys of 10-14 and their sexual antics. PDF.
The Amethyst Encounter / Casimir Dukahz
A comedy rich in the author’s characteristic word-play and set in New Jersey, in which he is taken home by a knowing boy of twelve who turns out to have been kept by a recently-deceased Mafioso after running away from an orphanage. Original PDF. Improved PDF.
Ball Games / K. I. Bard
The narrator and his best friend and lover, Mark, both apparently Americans of 14, are spied on by the former’s brother of 12 and Mark discovers new pleasure initiating him into their fun. PDF.
A Matter of Public Morality / Matt Lewis
A mildly amusing allegorical tale in which jumping sideways is a heinous crime in Britain while initiating boys into skilful sex-play is thoroughly approved of. PDF.
One September Day / Kevin Esser
Cheating at School / Steven Wood
A young master at an English preparatory school where two of the masters (besides himself) seem attracted to the older boys, makes a clever and audacious but dishonourable plan to discover which of his pupils might be interested. By far the most gripping and best story in this volume. PDF.
The Jukes & Kallikaks Memorial Bolo & Chaos Ashram / Hakim
A snippet of rambling anarchist thought with no direct relevance to Greek love.
Pericles / Bob Henderson
A realistic account of the Australian’s author’s gradually developing affair in Athens with a 15-year-old footballer, told in a quite different style to his earlier stories, more staccato and with little local colour. PDF.
Rodney / Robert Campbell
A moving story about a white American of fifty overcoming his prejudices and legitimate worry over having been robbed, and succumbing to the passion for him of a 14-year-old black boy. PDF.
The Dying of the Light / Kevin Esser
A prisoner recalls his brief liaison aged 13 with a man in a grim 1995 of the future in which the viciously anti-pederastic trends of the 1980s have accelerated; as so often with prognostications of the future, it is the speed of change, rather than its direction, which is unrealistic. PDF.
Contributed by Edmund Marlowe, 1 August 2021.