Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Shift: Scenes from the Year Humanity Lost Sex by Zoe S. Figueroa (#scifi #gender)

I am currently on vacation for a week as I recover from surgery (no, not that surgery - LOL), but I have scheduled a series of reviews and guest posts to keep you reading.

Imagine waking up one morning to discover that gender is a thing of the past. There are no more men or women, just human beings with the same duality of genitalia, shifting with the the phases of the moon.

Such is the concept behind The Shift: Scenes from the Year Humanity Lost Sex by Zoe S. Figueroa, a book that is less a story and more an exploration of such a new world. There are a some short story aspects to it, broken up throughout, but I would argue that the supplementary material is actually what makes this so exciting.

The book includes podcast transcripts, meeting notes from global corporations, and other snippets of communication surrounding The Shift. Probably my favorite is the chapter in which a lingerie manufacturer explains how they came up with their new marketing approach, developing brand names that will appeal to either pre-shift men or pre-shift women, based on when they are or not packing. It is a fascinating read, looking at inherited gender attitudes, the gender connotations we ascribe to animals, and the distinction between functional and sexual when it comes to underwear.

Similarly, the chapters that touch on professional sporting events make for an interesting read, looking at what happens to gender-based leagues (like the NBA and WNBA) or competitions (like the Olympics) when those genders no longer exist. Do you merge leagues or categories? Do you ignore the new equality and focus on pre-shift genders? Do you establish new categories based on when they are packing or not?

There are some story threads throughout, however, that put a human face on things. We follow a few characters through redefining their relationships, as they come to terms with a new sexuality in a world without gender. The Shift is a fascinating idea, and one I do hope Zoe explores more in the future.

Zoe S. Figueroa is an author of erotic stories dealing mostly with themes of gender transformation. If you like stories of men changing into women and women changing into men you'll likely enjoy her stories.

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