micro reviews of queer specfic & nonfiction. diversions into out-of-print annals. occasional digressions.

queer dystopias

just finished Davey Davis' X, which feels very much like an heir to Patrick Califia's lesser-read work (and only published novel, iirc) Doc and Fluff.

It's not that they're particularly similar. Beyond starring transmasculine protagonists who have a ton of BDSM sex, much of it well outside of SSC or RACK paradigms while navigating romantic relationships, sex work, and queer intracommunity conflict... they're pretty dissimilar in tone, politics, approach to character and relationship. I'm not sure I particularly enjoyed either, and I have thwarted feelings about where to place them on any objective rating scale.

But there's something to be said for the fact that there's not much out there like it: dystopias often focus on a promised hero (especially in the YA vein of Divergent/Hunger Games), or an everyday office schmuck (ah — Calvin Kasulke's several people are typing), or grizzled survivors (Walking Dead, various zombie comedies, Torrey Peters' infect your friends and loved ones). Not a lot start from the lives of people already on the outside of society structures, struggling to make rent & stay housed just on a normal day. People who just function under passively, banally evil bureaucracies in futuristic worlds that are near-identical to modern reality.

(the treatment of bureaucratic evil also feels in line with Bornstein/Sullivan's approach to nearly roadkill's fumbling internet regulators, although that book's world is certainly more fun and less graphically violent & dour than Califia or Davis.)

curious whether there's an entire genre of banal dystopias that I need to hunt down, or whether this is just a strange trans stub-genre that rears its head once a decade and disappears.

#y2022 #books #horror #dystopia #essays

I'm a data journalist and media educator based in the Pacific Northwest. Follow what I'm reading live on Storygraph. You can subscribe to this blog via email or via the Fediverse @stetting@write.as. Find me at @petrinkae on Twitter or on Mastodon.