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Faster Than the Speed of Light

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  86 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Frank Mackenzie didn't foresee meeting his young prodigy of a professor during a police raid on a seedy bar. Doctor Col Courtland didn't expect his brightest new graduate student to be a blue-collar widower scarred by the Battle of the Bulge. Neither of them anticipated the complications of academic careers conducted beneath the unsympathetic gaze of the F.B.I.

Life in expe
ebook, 270 pages
Published November 10th 2010 by Torquere (first published November 2010)
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Purgatory by Jeff MannWhen the Music Stops by John T. FullerP’tit Cadeau by Anel VizFaster Than the Speed of Light by Lucius ParhelionLovers in Arms by Osiris Brackhaus
Best Underrated M/M Books
4th out of 400 books — 242 voters
The Magpie Lord by K.J. CharlesWiddershins by Jordan L. HawkThe Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie DeeDowntime by Tamara AllenThink of England by K.J. Charles
Best Gay Historical Romance
192nd out of 562 books — 1,039 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 343)
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Kaje Harper
Apr 01, 2014 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, m-m, historical
This is a lovely, slow-burn, historical romance. The story plays out within a university physics department, in the early years after WWII. It has a very realistic feel, from the setting to the political pressures of the time, to the slang and general language. I've been a graduate student, and have relatives who include a physicist and a mathematician, and the atmosphere of the university, with its interactions and conversations, is well done. These theoretical scientists in their labs and clas ...more
Jul 14, 2011 Maygirl7 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone and Chris
Not your usual m/m fare, especially not the usual historical. Really, really good. It was more a 4.5 than a 4 stars.
The great:
The dialogue was great: snappy, snarky, and full of good chemistry between Frank and Courtland.I really liked the playful nature of their conversations with each other. Lots and lots of UST, perhaps a bit too much for me. I wanted them to stop being restrained for so long and get together sooner.
The good:
Compared to almost any other m/m historical this felt real. The con
Ulysses Dietz
Sep 21, 2013 Ulysses Dietz rated it really liked it
Lucius Parhelion is the kind of pseudonym a gay author would have used in 1948, the year in which "Faster than the Speed of Light" begins. I think it roughly translates into "the light of the sun," and I can't help but think the author is purposely hiding in a way that reflects the world of his characters, Frank and Collis.

Frank Mackenzie is a veteran, having survived World War II with some bad scars and a battered soul. Collis Courtland is a prodigy, guilty over his involvement with the creati
May 31, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I always love this author's historical stories, where the dramatic tension arises from the main characters' need for complete secrecy in an era that does not accept homosexuality. I get tired of too many contemporary romances where the only drama stems from silly, contrived misunderstandings or abusive ex-boyfriends. In this one, the protags are physicists in post-WWII academia, wrestling with doctoral work, teaching obligations, ethical implications of the work of the Manhattan Project physicis ...more
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
4.5 stars.

This was a very good and surprising read and my first from this author.

We are in 1948. Frank is a war veteran and he's attending Clarence Tenn Polytechnic to get his physics degree. Before the war he learned physics by himself and even if he's not a genius, he's very bright and talented. The scar left on his face by a grenade gives him some insecurity, but also a rough look that complements his very relaxed attitude.

One night he is arrested in a gay bar and he ends up sharing the cell
May 22, 2016 Ariadna added it
Shelves: dnf
A few things from Frank's life in 1947:

He decides to pursue a PhD in Physics.

He gets arrested alongside a senior member of an university's physics department during a police raid of a gay bar.

He finds out that said senior member will be his professor/advisor while working on the PhD.

The FBI ends up investigating him.

DNF at 13%

Let me state for the record that this is a good book. I don't intend to dissuade anyone from giving it a chance. My giving up on it simply means that it wasn't the book for
Aug 09, 2012 M rated it liked it
This book, which tells the story of two physicists in post-WWII America, was difficult to parse for a number of reasons:
1) A lot of it is about physics and a lot of jargon is employed, since I only tangentially understood most of what was discussed, I felt a bit adrift.
2) It's set in a time-period that I know very little about; the fews years wedged between WWII and the paranoia of the McCarthy era, so again, I barely understood a lot of the vernacular and terminology used.
3) And this reason is
Jul 21, 2011 ns rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm
I didn't know anything about this book when I picked it up. Some pages in, when I discovered that it was about a brilliant graduate physics student and a young prodigy of a physics professor (swoooon!), included references to real life events in the history of physics and science (oh my god, oh my god), and wasn't scared to talk about *physics* and do all of this in a wry, sophisticated and compellingly stylish way (pass out in excitement), it had a considerable effect on me.

I am now madly, deep
Sue Brown
Feb 12, 2011 Sue Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-fic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, historical
I *really* liked this book a lot but it definitely will not be everyone's cup of tea.

Set in the immediately after WWII this book explores living as both a gay man and a cutting edge scientist in the era of the Cold War, McCarthyism, the arms race and every moment under the eye of J Edgar Hoover's FBI.

The two main characters are wonderful. I really loved Frank, a scarred WW2 vet who has discovered his true talent - physics.

How can you not love theoretical physics as foreplay.

This book is seriousl
Adrienne -kocham czytać-
While this book was very intelligent, had the most authentic historical atmosphere, wonderful characters, humor, and a really good left me wanting in the romance department.

(Minor [expected, as this is billed as a love story] spoiler ahead.)

I understand why it was so extremely slow-burn, and I applaud them for their determination to stick to their morals. But they just stayed too far in the hands-off, strictly friends zone during almost all of the book for the declarations of love and
Feb 13, 2013 Plainbrownwrapper rated it liked it
Shelves: mm
This was close to being a really good book. It had a realistic feel to it, it had good historical detail, it had appealing characters, it had intelligent dialog. BUT -- but but -- the plot didn't really go anywhere. Nothing really got resolved, there was no big crisis survived, no big drama to overcome. It was more a slice of life -- yes, folks, this is what gay guys had to live through during that time in our history. The End. I was disappointed by the lack of a real dramatic arc, as you can te ...more
Elizabeth H.
Mar 16, 2012 Elizabeth H. rated it liked it
I was so excited to see a book about physicists that I jumped at the chance to read it. But ultimately this novel was a disappointment to me. I didn't really see any sexual tension between the two MCs, just a lot of delay. The technical part of the story was good and well-presented; I happen to know somebody in the field plus I take more than a passing interest in the subject matter. But the romance part and the overall characterization was lacking. Plus I found some of the dialogue, especially, ...more
Val Kovalin
just for fun - 6 word plot: Physicists watched by FBI find love. Outstanding M/M historical set during the Red Scare years of 1947 to 1949 in the academic, scientific community in Los Angeles. Complex, appealing characters and fascinating time period. I had no problems with this book. Just so you know, the sex scenes are almost nonexistent, but there is one brief encounter toward the end, and there is definitely sexual tension from beginning to end.
This was one great historical romance with a solid background. I loved Frank and Courtland, they had a good chemistry and their banter was entertaining. The amount of references to various studies and terminology proved to be a bit challenging at times. I admit that physics was never my favourite subject but instead of getting repulsed it made me want to read the scientific books to help me get those guys better.
I will definitely take a look at other books by this author.

Oh, and I loved Special

4.5 stars

Having just finished a M/M romance about a particle physicist, I thought… why not another? I mean, it’s not often you find this combination in the genre. While I found some of the science in Harper Fox’s Cold Fusion hard to believe, I had no such problem here.

While Faster Than the Speed of Light has a fair bit of science-speak (don’t worry, you don’t need to know physics!), it really relies mainly on historical happenings. It’s set in the late ’40s— the peak of the HUAC/McCarthy era, or
Aug 05, 2013 Millari rated it it was amazing
This was a totally fun read. I was hooked on the couple and the slow buildup of their romance mixed in deftly with the very accurate-sounding historical details. It made me feel like I was getting a real window into what it was like to be gay at the time, and especially what it was like to run in academic, scientific circles. The restraint Frank and Courtland must show in approaching each other as romantic potential is fascinating to me as a modern reader, in the way they manage the budding roma ...more
ARe Cafe
Apr 17, 2013 ARe Cafe rated it really liked it
Shelves: vals-picks
Faster Than The Speed Of Light by Lucius Parhelion is a beautifully written novel that in any other month would have been my choice for Top Pick. It should delight fans of the friends-to-lovers theme, those who enjoy a slow build-up to a romantic relationship, those who love historical romances, those who love science, and those who find a de-emphasis on explicit sex to be a refreshing change in the romance genre.

There is much to praise in Faster Than The Speed Of Light (the title refers to the
Mar 16, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: History-buffs, physicists, and lovers of the written word.
Phew! Faster Than the Speed of Light is definitely NOT a quick and simple read. And I say that in a most positive and appreciative way. The author asks that the reader engage their brain and become an active participant in the story. Yes, it's a little work, but the rewards are well worth the effort. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Faster Than the Speed of Light in every respect, except one, I could of used a couple of more pages after Frank and Col got together. I wanted more.

I give Faster Than t

Jan 13, 2014 Jamie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jamie by: Peggy
Shelves: m-m, own-kobo-gm, gb-read
4.5 stars

Very well written story with a relationship that develops very realistically between Frank Mackenzie, the WW2 vet taking advantage of the GI Bill and the brilliant boy genius physician Doctor Courtland. The historical setting is very well done. The setting of the academic community during such a turbulent time for scientists adds to the drama of a relationship that still had to be kept very secret. The dialogue is terrific and the secondary characters are real. This isn't a book with a
This is a lovely and quiet sort of romance and captured the feel of the 1940s very well. A lot of the American history and physics talk just went over my head - if not, I think I would have liked this book a bit more. And unfortunately, historical m/m romances always leave me with slight doubts over the HEA just because of the period.
Jan 13, 2014 Antonella rated it it was amazing
ETA January 2013: Once more I've read a book (back in August 2011), I found it excellent and I just left 5 stars here.

Luckily I see now the wonderful review by ns, so I can refer to it ;-).
Nov 21, 2010 Kiki rated it it was ok
2.5 Excellent (and mostly interesting) sense of time and place, but not enough time spend on the personal -- characters, emotions, the development of the relationship -- for me.
Sep 20, 2011 Aramis rated it liked it
A cute and sweet gay romance with a bit of Nick and Norah dialog. I don't think romance will ever by my thing, but this is about as close as it is likely to come.
Jan 04, 2014 Idamus rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, historical
This need to be a series, just saying
Oct 13, 2012 Gwendolyn rated it really liked it
I liked this so much. The ending felt kind of abrupt but that was the only issue.
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The Backlot Gay B...: Faster than the Speed of Light, Lucius Parhelion 2 13 Sep 21, 2013 02:51PM  
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Lucius Parhelion writes both free and published works. His free original work is found here:
and his fan fiction is on Archive of Our Own here:

He is also listed on Goodreads as Parhelion:

This author is very private - he does not use social media or include an "about the author" bl
More about Lucius Parhelion...

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