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Channel Surfing in
the Sea of Happiness
by Guy Babineau


ISBN: 9781770867499

Format: Trade Paperback w/ Flaps

Size: 5.5" x 8.5"


  • FIC029000 FICTION
    Short Stories (single author)

  • FIC068000 FICTION
    LGBTQ+ / General

  • FIC064000 FICTION

Price: $24.95

Publication Date: May 18, 2024


Channel Surfing in the Sea of Happiness is an iconoclastic romp through the end of the twentieth century. The misfit characters in this funny and poignant collection of stories find themselves adrift in an increasingly absurdist world — a world they must reinvent for themselves in order to find hope. How much of our identity is forged by direct experience, and how much is shaped by our constant exposure to a barrage of images and ideas imposed on us from elsewhere? From a story about a precocious teenage boy coming out in high school in the 1970s, to a series of tales about two queer con artists and their ridiculous get-rich-quick schemes, to a yarn about a famous transgender sex worker’s efforts to rally her community against redneck homophobes, to an account of a lesbian puppeteer’s AIDS activism in the 1980s, to a story about a sister coming to terms with her brother’s death from AIDS, the collection explores how the human heart stays afloat in a society entertaining, informing, and networking itself to death.


First published in 1998 in a limited edition, the collection has been revised and rewritten, including three new stories.

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“I read this book on a very long train journey and absolutely loved it. It’s funny, forgiving, and brutally honest. Reminiscent of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, the characters weave in and out of each other’s seemingly unconnected lives until the unexpected but deeply satisfying final story. A slice of gay life during the worst years of the aids epidemic, the book never loses its warm heart and dry wit as the characters wrestle with the wars within and without. Mr. Babineau has an unerring sense of time and place. He conjures up a vivid portrait, filled with delightful travelling companions and deadpan humour. I highly recommend this book for journeys of all kinds — especially interior ones.”

— Scott Thompson, actor, comic, The Kids in the Hall

“This book drew me in and kept my attention from first page to last. I hope to read more from this author in the future.”

Marilyn Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

"Babineau writes with a confident gay voice, full of quips and sharply off-kilter but richly descriptive comments that stay on the literary side of arch. But Channel Surfing in the Sea of Happiness is also populated by lesbians, trans folk, a pair of sexually ambiguous goths, and a hefty helping of heterosexuals who are not only comic relief.”

Drew Rowsome, The British Columbia Review

“Babineau’s delightful sense of humour, his way of drawing us so fully into the worlds of his characters and, perhaps most important, his ability to bring queer history to life all contribute to a deeply satisfying reading experience.”

Jeffrey Canton, Plenitude Magazine

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