Reviews of Carnal Sacraments, A Historical Novel of the Future by perrybrass [WorldCat.org]
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Carnal sacraments : a historical novel of the future set in the last quarter of the 21st century

by Perry Brass

  Print book : Fiction  |  Second edition

Reviews of Carnal Sacraments, A Historical Novel of the Future   (2014-10-11)

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5 Reviews of Carnal Sacraments, A Historical Novel of the Future, the new book by Perry Brass from Belhue Press, ISBN 078-1-892149-05-3 Paper  $16.95

 

 

“a book that captures the imagination and will not let it go until the last page,” from Out In Jersey,  Oct. 07 issue. Review by Toby Grace.

 

In his latest book, Perry Brass takes us on a trip into the not-too-distant future. It is a world we already know but with present cultural trends carried to the tenth power.  The System provides those who succeed with every luxury imaginable and more—with almost eternal youth, but you have to stay on the cutting edge. You must continually prove your value or risk being politely, regretfully, but firmly eased out of the glittering world where everyone is young, beautiful and rich. The rest of the planet is a very different sort of place. Jeffrey Cooper, a brilliantly successful gay man is his 80s but whose evident age is early 40s thanks to the expensive and secret processes known only to the hyper-productive elite, discovers his eternal youth has a very high price – it may kill him. Salvation may come through the mysterious younger man Jeffrey falls for – or will it be his destruction? Exotic locations, high-powered wheeling and dealing and excursions into this new world’s  dark underside – as well as sex – make this a book that captures the imagination and will not let it go until the last page.

 

 

“a page-turning thriller that takes the reader on one helluva roller coaster ride, and oh, the places you’ll go!” from White Crane Journal, Fall Issue, review by Steven LaVigne

 

The only rides I like are literary ones, and with Carnal Sacraments, his new “historical novel of the future,” Perry Brass has created a page-turning thriller that takes the reader on one helluva roller coaster ride, and oh, the places you’ll go!

 

        Paying homage to the works of Orwell, Bradbury and Paddy Chayefsky’s economic ideal from the film Network, Carnal Sacraments is set in a Germany that’s not far removed from the world of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Big Brother is now a global economy referred to as “the System.”  Jeffrey Cooper, a transplanted American, is high up in the system, working as a powerful design executive.  Something of an experiment, Cooper is actually 78 years old, but thanks to injections, looks forty years younger. Activities of the denizens, including the undesirables, are closely monitored, but when Cooper is physically attacked in a train station, this sends him to his therapist, Dr. Rosenputter. He’s advised to put the event behind him, so his physical and psychic levels won’t become affected.

 

        At first, he confides in old friends, including a pair of old foppish queens, but when Cooper follows John, his assailant into a secluded woods, he realizes that the assault was intended to knock some sense into him, even though it could bring about his downfall.  The system has a method for eliminating those who are unwanted.  After he’s seduced by John, Cooper experiences a profound awakening. Both empathy and human nature overpower his senses.  Ignoring warning, his point of view toward the system changes. Cooper realizes he may or may not be in danger, but it’s his passion that will lead him toward his ultimate destiny.

 

        Like much of his other work, Brass includes little inside jokes within his writing, most specifically in this novel, references (whether intended or not) to James Hilton’s Lost Horizon.  For example, Robert Conway is the hero of that novel, and is a character here; Cooper himself is a male version of Maria, the young lady who ages after she leaves Shangri-La.  Still, he includes hot sex, greedy clergy, randy Indian men, vicious neo-Nazi punks and stylish gay men among his characters, taking the reader into the tried and true world of the thriller, where red herrings lead the reader on detours throughout this satisfying roller coaster of a novel that’s sure to please even those who aren’t big on futuristic novels. Take a chance and let your mind be controlled by the system created here by Perry Brass!

 

Layered with philosophical elements, fascinating descriptions, and a clear focus on character overall, Brass' latest work is one of the most unusual novels I've read in years, from Bay Area Reporter, 23 August, 2007, review by Jim Provanzano.
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 Set at the end of this century, Perry Brass' Carnal Sacraments tells the story of Jeffrey Cooper, a design executive who's reached the pinnacle of his career, which involves supervising global marketing campaigns for superfluous luxury products. Few know how long it took Cooper to climb his way to the top. As with many other elites in this dystopian world, while appearing to be a dashing 30something, Cooper is actually in his 70s. A regimen of injections, surgeries and other processes keeps his youthful appearance. Underneath the facade, however, Cooper is about to suffer a nervous breakdown, particularly when a lumbering stranger punches him on the subway. His later coincidental meeting with his assailant, a Dutchman named John van der Meer, leads to a strange and passionate affair that may ruin his precarious status as a tastemaker for the world. Set mostly in Berlin, where the Alabama-born Cooper works, the book's conversations and nicknames are sprinkled with German terms. (A glossary is provided, but mostly unnecessary, with the phrases understandable in context.) Unlike most other science fiction novels, despite some teleconferences and the expected Orwellian government surveillance, Brass dispenses with futuristic jargon, gadgets and machinery in his novel. He instead focuses on the inner paranoia of an upscale executive fearing his inevitable downfall. Although set in a future where the government has become a corporate voyeur of every aspect of middle- to high-income citizens, leaving the lower classes to barely documented yet surveilled status, Brass' novel, like most good "futuristic" fiction, actually comments on contemporary society. Cooper's wealthy gay friends, up-ended by illness, are forced into a government-controlled frozen status. John, Cooper's love interest, is relegated to poverty, living in a shack in a forest outside of Berlin. Cooper gushes with neurotic emotion and pent-up frustration with his "system-assigned" therapist, who warns him of the potential dangers of his romance with John. Then, in an impulsive gesture, Cooper accepts an invitation from a scheming yet supercilious younger executive in India. Cooper and new mysterious lover embark on a mystical yet conflict-laden vacation. More dark secrets are revealed, and Cooper's limits and capacity for love versus his grasp on his career are tested. Layered with philosophical elements, fascinating descriptions, and a clear focus on character overall, Brass' latest work is one of the most unusual novels I've read in years.

 

“A fast and fascinating read.” Mark Peikert in HX Magazine, the most read gay magazine in New York, reaching 100,000 readers weekly. Carnal Sacraments was picked to head up HX’s “Autumn Leaves” round up of fall queer reading. Issue 845, Nov. 16, 2007.

Time stands still for Jeffrey Cooper, a successful businessman in 2075 who remains ageless as long as he continues bringing in money to the company. But stress is beginning to tell on him, and men are flitting in and out of his orderly life, disrupting it and him. Part sci-fi, part erotica, this is a fast and fascinating read.

 

 “Perry Brass has been a pioneer and now a mainstay in the gay futuristic genre,” Jerry Rosco, in Mandate Magazine, March, 2008 issue, Manstuff Column.

 

 Perry Brass has been a pioneer and now a mainstay in the gay futuristic genre, with novels like The Harvest, Warlock, and Angel Lust. His new book, Carnal Sacraments: A Historical Novel of the Future, reveals itself in its subtitle. It is about the future, in fact the last quarter of the twenty-first century, but we recognize the connections to the world around us. Global economic power, profitable war, privileges for the rich, government surveillance of everybody—all familiar, but several leaps ahead of today’s realities. Jeffrey Cooper is an American business executive stationed in Berlin, apparently 30-something but actually 70-something. He’s near a breakdown, dealing with his high-pressure career, the lives of his gay friends, and his own fears and love interests. All of it is unusual and unpredictable, and gives Brass a clever way of commenting on today’s world. 

 

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