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on May 20, 2012 :
Just plain trans- - transgender, transhuman, and probably a few others that I'm not calling to mind right now - "The Surgery" is not for beginners, but it pays off decently for the effort. It's not perfect, but it's an enjoyable trip through underexplored territory and I have to give it a lot of credit for that.
On the downside:
It takes a few pages to get used to the story's pronoun convention. Arie uses "ze/hir", while Nell uses the singular "they/their". It irritates the grammarian in me, but I don't see an easy way around it. It's very consistent, and I think clear enough if the reader is used to genderqueer pronouns or applies more than half a dozen brain cells to it.
After the introductions, Arie and Nell really take a back seat to the UGP gadgetry. The gadgetry is cool, but it's vaguely dissatisfying not to see more of their thoughts or the chemistry between them. As is they feel more like framing devices than the core of the story, and reading "The Surgery" feels a bit like browsing through a sexual Sharper Image catalog of a cybernetic future.
This said, there's nothing -wrong- with browsing Sharper Image catalogs, and this story is fun for very much the same reasons. It's well-written and conceptually hot, and for your three dollars and fifteen minutes you can enjoy thinking about what life might be like, with all those possibilities open before you.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Jan. 27, 2012 :
The mishmash of pronouns and even nouns made this a very confusing read. Was Nell two people? Who or what was Ze? Not very erotic either when envisioning the slimy slug genitals.
(review of free book)