Neo-nazism and punk rock share ugly and now pretty well-tracked genealogies. Less well-documented is the once-occulted presence and resilience of gay desire amidst UK white power subcultures and splinter groups like the National Front and the British National Party.
Max Schaefer's Children of the Sun relentlessly confronts this seeming contradiction via a time-bending collision between two queer protagonists interspersed with insanely well-researched documentation from the "golden years" of UK neo-nazi skinhead culture (roughly late 1970s-about 1990 or so). Schaefer walks a fine line between unsparing and sympathetic in the development of Tony, a working class teen coming of age as a gay man AND a (hidden) racist skinhead. Tony's narrative moves forward through a landscape of real-life UK far-right figures (Nicky Crane, Ian Stuart of Skrewdriver, Nick Griffin, Savitri Devi) as James, a mid-20s queer privileged "screenwriter" bankrolled by his well-to-do parents in 2003 becomes increasingly obsessed with the confused collisions between gay subcultures and UK white power movements - Nicky Crane in particular - poster boy for the NF's violent street fighters and who also came out as gay in 1992, months before he died from an AIDs-related illness.
Schaefer's text reads like a police report, rarely stopping for extended emotional interludes (though when they do come, they hit hard). Knowing something of Schaefer's personal background, it was never unclear where he stands in terms of the "politics" of his protagonists. That being said, the narrative never clearly impugns Tony or James (in fact, James comes off more of a problematic dude in the end - which may have much to do with class, Schaefer implies). Highly recommended for anyone interested in darker cultural histories.