Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gender 21 by Timothy Luce (#genderswap #romance)

Gender 21 is a near-future science fiction tale with a social conscience. With a new biological treatment available that delivers an easy gender change, the government of a fictional island nation has instituted a Gender Equality Program. Upon reaching the age of 21, island residents are forced to undergo a temporary gender change, living as the opposite sex for a year in order to appreciate how the other half lives.

Timothy Luce does some really interesting things with the story, starting with Alex's sexuality. As Alexander, he is a closeted gay man, secretly in love with his best friends . . . and as Alexandra, she is a closeted gay woman, secretly in love with her best friend's sister. I love how that played out, and how those relationships evolved over the course of the story.

Sexually, this is a fun tale, with plenty of self-exploration, but what is really interesting is how aware Alexandra becomes of her sensuality. She realizes how her body reacts, and slowly begins to appreciate how other react to her. We get some flirting, some anxious moments of self-doubt, and ultimately some explorations of lust and love.

After settling into her new life, Gender 21 takes a bit of a twist in the second half, with a contest/pageant for Gender Equality Program participants that allows one lucky winner to escape the program early, and return to their original gender. Alexandra does take part, but is not really sure she wants to win, and that is where things get good.

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