Sunday, July 1, 2012

Going to Sea to See what I can See

I expected different things from this story. I thought I knew what I was getting into, and maybe that is the joy of this particular tale. I was wrong. Very wrong.
First, when the story collection is called Beyond Binary I think I have a grasp of what will be happening between the covers. These stories will explore alternative sexualities, and by alternative I imagine we mean anything that is not heteronormative, although I will be glad if someone plays close and tight along that particular edge. I also expected the stories to have a more fantastic flash, and it is there that I was wrong. I got the alternative sexuality - we are gifted with male romance in the very beginning - but my expectations of an alternative world got me into a bit of trouble. I do not blame the author. How could she/he know? This is one of those dangers that I tell my students about. We the readers bring with us plenty of baggage each time we pick up a text. Reading is not passive. Never can be. That is why it is awesome (n.b. - all meanings of that word should apply).

There are some lines that I will want to quote, and so I'll edit this post later. I'll give a brief overview, however. I felt that this story had the right balance of strength and dedication to theme. I was hot and bothered at all the appropriate moments, and so my empathy with the characters was vivid. I, like Vix, was confused about the gift of sight. As I said earlier, since I expected the world to be different from ours, I expected the power to have a greater role in things. When it dissolved (without ever really working) I had to view it differently. Now it is symbol. But symbol of what? An icon of the character's locked sexuality? And we don't mean the pleasure he takes with other men, but the added pleasure he takes when those men are transvestites like himself. For only when that mutual bond is achieved does he have release from his gift/curse/madness. I feel, actually, as I write this, that I need to re-read, now knowing the ending as I do, and look to see what else jumps from the page. I'll do that later this week, and then share my favorite moments from the story.

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