Monday, November 27, 2017

Dalí by E.M. Hamill (#trans #bisexual #scifi)

Dalí is a deep, complex, multi-faceted bit of edgy science fiction from E.M. Hamill. It is a solid genre read, but it is also (and perhaps more importantly) a very exciting QUILTBAG read, a story that does some fantastic things with gender and sexuality.

The story itself starts out edgy and dark, and goes even deeper. There are themes of human trafficking here, corrupt governments, greedy corporations, and despicable villains.

Dalí themself is a member of the second-class, third-gender changeling who is genderfluid. Their natural state is a neuter gender, but they can shift to become fully male or female, and flow between the three genders. Dalí spends most the book in their female form, which (not surprisingly) appealed to me, but I loved that they had the freedom to be whomever they felt like, whenever they felt like it.

Fortunately, Dalí is more than just a gender novelty, they are a strong enough character to hold such a dark, multifaceted story together. They are a sad character, driven by grief to self-destruction, but with a big heart. The other characters are strong themselves, especially Lord Rhix - who, in any other book, would be the most memorable character. Having them together just elevates the story to a whole other level - emotionally, narratively, and erotically.

Although it is a very dark story, marked by violence and cruelty, there are some lighter moments. For instance, the book is rife with Princess Bride references, with character getting designations like Miracle Max, Buttercup, and Fezzik, and 'Inconceivable' being a favorite code phrase. Why? Well, apparently, one of the alien races are big fans.

Dalí was one of those books I took my time with, lingering over, rather than racing through - and that is precisely how it should be enjoyed.

E.M. (Elisabeth) Hamill writes adult science fiction and fantasy somewhere in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas. A nurse by day, wordsmith by night, she is happy to give her geeky imagination free reign and has sworn never to grow up and get boring. She lives in eastern Kansas with her family, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.

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