Review: Silent Running


Silent Running is a doujin-style (magazine size and perfect bound) title from publisher Yaoi Revolution. It’s bound on the right, so the panels are a ‘Japanese’ right to left orientation; not unfamiliar to me since Hebrew school as a child but not my favorite either.

Some of you may recall that my claim to fame wasn’t just my OEL publications – I often spoke of ‘BL’ as a viable though appropriated genre outside the Japanese rule book. I’m not knocking this; some of my dearest peers make their work right to left oriented, despite their being from the west.

FYI: I’m a first-gen US citizen born of Polish parents, so my creative wheelhouse is Slavic men (yep, my stories got those -skis, -ovs, -ciks, and -ceks). I’m also about the historical gays, so Silent Running was a guaranteed purchase.



The story opens aboard a submarine in the Baltic during WW2, with Estonian lovers Mikhail Borodin and Pavel Ivanov working the night watch. Mikhail and Pavel are lovers lucky enough to be assigned to the same submarine. This is plausible given the Baltic countries’ shortage of fighting men after Germany moved its war machine east. I digress; let’s get back to touch-starved Mikhail…

Before discussing the opening sex, I want to say that I was an officer in the Navy. I never served aboard a submarine (the US military is sexist) but had to overnight in one as a skill assessment. There’s NO privacy anywhere. So when Mikhail returns to the conn (control room – very small here because this sub looks like a scouting class) and finds Mikhail on sonar watch, there are bunks in the room. Essential personnel in active war situations cannot leave the conn. The bunks here contain sleeping men, and let me tell you – those sleeping comrades KNOW Mikail and Pavel are gay for each other. In fact, some of them probably heard these two getting down and were just too tired to care.

silent4Some torpedo room boys, for the thirsty kids.

This is a grayscale comic printed on semi-gloss paper, with well-rendered panels, so the oral sex the couple quietly engages in is sexy and well orchestrated. This being ‘yaoi,’ anal occurs without any prep (sorry, you staunch M|M’ers). Still, for the rest of us into this shit, it’s very erotic with no censoring and handsome sex faces. The dropped uniform hats and splashed ejaculate on the sonar gage are a nice touch.

Captain enters the conn as they finish (though I don’t know how Pavel goes back to work with nut leaking out of his ass). Our boys dodge the gulag bullet (though sadly, gays would’ve been shot at that point in Soviet history, not sent to Siberia).


A flashback reveals the pair working on a dairy in Estonia, where their relationship started the year before their conscription. Awww.

Back in the present-day Baltic, the ship encounters a German U-boat, and now that the sex is out of the way, we get an action-packed scenario worth the price I paid for this book. Fear not, fujoshi, this one has a happy ending (for now anyway), and it’s a pity this series is a one-off. I genuinely wish western pubs had the capital to produce one flagship magazine (digital or print) to collect serialized stories for collected volume releases.

I’d love to see more of Mikhail and Pavel.

I recommend this book if you’re a original-BL doujin collector and reader. If you’re an original BL reader with a prized collection, you’ll need a magazine file to put this one on your shelf–it’s too thin for spine display. Still, if you’re into original English BL with men that look like men, this one is a keeper. It’s romantic, exciting, and a great gay historical one-shot.

Silent Running (Yaoi Revolution)
Story by Itoshi/Art by Aldaria

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