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I am quite male, quite gay, quite unsafe for work.
I am quite fond of androgynous boys, spaceships, exquisitely constructed gore, well-written horror, sushi, cats, poisonous plants, classic cars, goth/industrial, vinyl you wear, vinyl you listen to, pointy shiny things, and beer.
I write to construct unspeakably beautiful evil, because I've already eaten all of that I can find, and Earth definitely needs more.
Your mother would not like me or the terrible things I write, and she would not let you trick-or-treat at my house.
on Dec. 22, 2014 :
Damn. Each book I read by XIX immediately becomes my favorite. The writing "voice," the way he uses language to tell you a story... just draws me in and holds me captive. I can almost hear him saying, "Let me tell you a nightmare, little girl..." He gives life and imagery to ideas that have long resided in my own dark corners, and I just adore him for it.
Hero's Torch opens in dystopian future Earth, where religion and government have become a twisted mindfuck... either you embrace the mindset of the borg, or suffer months of reconditioning.
Our protagonist, Leander Schaiden, is a bright and creative teen who cannot buy into the societal collective beliefs (Christianity-based) of post-apocalyptic Earth. He's been reconditioned once already, and it didn't work.
When he's passed over by the Septarch, (in a ritualized child-reaping process that I'm not even going to try to simplify into a brief explanation)... Leander speaks out, "Wait," to the horror of his parents and everyone else. Being passed over is a relief, cause for joy. Calling attention to oneself, unheard of.
Leander, the first to dare to speak to the Septarch in 200 years.
And so Leander is taken, destined for a future of rape, torture, and death. But it's got to be better (and more honest) than spending the rest of his life on Earth being forced to worship a god he doesn't believe in.
This work is gruesome and graphic, explicit, and unpretty. And that's a beautiful thing. Really.
What I found most powerful in this story was the depiction of parental love, how Leander's father will go to any length to "rescue" Leander, to put Leander back into the borg-box where he "belongs," even if being in the box is the death of everything that is Leander about Leander.
Powerful stuff, boys and girls. Take a risk. Enjoy the darkness.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)