Strange Horizons, April 11, 2016
Reviewed by Jody Dorsett
Kellsey is transgendered. Her birth name was Kevin given by a mother who died before she was born. Her mother left her video recordings for her, unfortunately her mother didn’t know her offspring would be transgendered. Kellsey is angered at the dead mother’s insistence that she is a he.
Her parents, her father remarried, try to support Kellsey, but they just seem to make matters worse. Then a complication arises. Perhaps her journey to being a woman might have bad consequence. Moreover, there’s a tech that can rewrite one’s brain to change how you see yourself.
Kellsey has some heavy choices. Her family isn’t much help, though they aren’t condemning. What is Kellsey to do? Be true to her identified sexuality or use tech to overwrite her brain for a safer future? These are the questions that Kellsey goes in search of in her mother’s video archive.
She finds the video that actually addresses her condition and her impending death. Here is a great place for an author to know when to stop. Let the conflict, which is what makes stories so good, find a resolution.
Instead this author throws in a deus ex machina that effectively removes all the conflict. The choice then is conflict free. There’s many worthwhile social points that we need to address that this story brings up. Pick one or two and science fiction allows us to examine them outside our own truth. Bravo to the author for examining the gender conflict. “Booo’s” for wimping out in the end.