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Hugh Likes Fiction: The 5th Gender

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The 5th Gender: A Tinkered Stars Mystery
Written by G. L. Carriger
Published by the author
Reviewed from an Advance Reader Copy

5th Gender Cover

The Skinny: A sweet, fluffy queer sci-fi romance with a few bits of mystery thrown in for good measure.

Alien diplomat Tistol and space station security detective Drey Hastion have been making eyes at each other for months. But just as they finally get together, to the mutual relief of their friends and coworkers, Drey gets a case that he’ll need his new romantic partner’s help with. A ship from Tristol’s notably reclusive home world has arrived, and there has been a murder, something so unthinkable in Tris’s society as to be unprecedented.
Going in, I was worried that this book was trying to do too much, but the author comes through with flying colors. Carriger, who may be better known for her best-selling steampunk adventures, brings her characteristic sense of style and dry wit to this romantic cozy mystery. The Galloi are a fascinating and well realized species. The sex scenes are well written and feel natural.
As a cozy, there isn’t a lot of tension in this book. Even places where I expected there to be, such as Tris’s naive misunderstanding of human gender and racial concepts is breezily but respectfully handled. Although as a cis-gendered white man, it’s not my place to make final judgement on that. Drey’s space station seems much more of a utopian one than Carriger’s Dickensian Wheel in Crudrat, which is implied to share a universe. But the story is charming and sexy, with delightful characters you’ll want to see more of when you get to the back cover.
The 5th Gender is directly available from The Author’s Website, as well as Amazon, the usual online stores, and can be ordered by Your Local Independent Bookshop.
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Hugh supports Gaymercon and rants a bit

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I just supported a kickstarter for Gaymercon.  I doubt that I will be able to make it to the actual event next year, but I am amazed by the courage and awesomeness of the organizers. This is an incredible idea, an incredible convention. It is something that makes me proud to be a geek. And there are people who are complaining about it. They are complaining that it is being EXCLUSIVE and FRACTURING THE GAMING COMMUNITY NEEDLESSLY. I’ll let you read those big old capslock letters again. Welcome to privilege town, ladies and gentlemen.

I am a gamer. Two months ago, I married my wonderful partner of eleven years. We wore matching red and blue waistcoats, and we exited the ceremony to a version of the Final Fantasy Prelude. I was very happy that I could include gaming in our wedding, because we finally got our good ending.

I have never set foot in X-box live, and I steer clear of gamin message boards. Some of the hate spewed in those places is ignorance, some is childishness, and some is a tactic. But it lessens my experience. It reminds me that I’m different. That I’m unwelcome. Gaymercon is an event that is going to bring the gaming community together, to support our identities and our hobbies, and to say that the two are not mutually exclusive. I’ll be damned if some hetero-normative bully is going to tell me to sit down and shut up about it. Gaymercon is important and it is necessary because of this, and this, and let’s not forget this.  Gay, lesbian, transgender, hell, even FEMALE and NON-WHITE gamers have had to fight for their seat at the table in this community.

There is a lot of support for diversity in the gaming community, but there is a lot of hate, too. And that hate has one hell of a large bullhorn. Things are changing, if slowly for the LGBTQA community in gaming. Gaymer con is going to be a great step in making gaming a safe place for everyone. I’m supporting them, and if you feel the same way I do, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation, I urge you to do the same.