Ms. Eliason is both a writer and a fan of deeply immersive science fiction and fantasy novels. She loves to share with her fans the worlds she is creating, and the ones she is discovering.
She writes science fiction and fantasy under R. J. Eliason and contemporary YA novels as Rachel Eliason.
My Governor's House & other stories
on July 02, 2012
My Governor's House & other stories is an interesting collection of tales from Josh Karaczewaski. I particularly like My Governor's House, a story about a warrior coming home after a long time on the road and re-meeting his wife again. "Black Fang" is about a couple of young boys that capture an earwig and brings to mind childhood again.
The stories were interesting and the author does a good job of setting the scene and making the characters believable. He needs to work on his sentence structure. They are often complex and I had to read several some sentences several times before I could grasp them. If the read were smoother the collection would get another star at least. The collection is definitely worth 1.99.
A Taste of Kenchie: A Gay Fantasy
on July 20, 2012
I really liked the affection portrayed in this story. It was well done and very touching. In fact I am giving it three stars based on that alone, because I could not follow the plot at all. I don't know who Kenchie is. Is this supposed to be someone famous? Why is he being paid in cake? Maybe it's because it's set in the Philippines and I don't understand the culture but I feel like there's something I am missing about the story.
Sliders: The Dark Side of Transgender
on Sep. 08, 2012
Wow. If you are looking for an accurate and realistic view of what it means to be trans in this day and age, this is not it. I almost didn't write this review but I finally decided the book required some response.
Sliders tells the story of Regina, a male to female "transgenderist" (?). She takes female hormones and has breast augmentation but decides to opt out of SRS because "that's my clitoris". The first few years after transition (the book follows her through something like thirty years of her life) she seems to be getting along well enough even though she's lost her entire family. (It doesn't appear from the book like she's ever had any real friends.)
After nearly twenty eight years of living as a woman (and nearly half the book, during which it rambles on about nothing) she "wakes up" one day and discovers she's a freak! That's right, all this time she thought she was living successfully as a woman she's really been a freak.
After an abortive suicide attempt Regina meets Lourdes, a closet, self loathing transsexual. Lourdes teaches the two most important lessons any trans person needs to survive. 1) No matter how nice they are to your face, everyone hates you. Seriously, they hate you. It's a deep down "cellular" response and there's no point in calling them transphobic because they really can't help it. 2) You should hate yourself to. If you can't pass as a woman it's probably because you don't hate yourself enough.
Take for example Lourdes advice on vocal training, "If the sound is wrong don't make it." "Better to be a mute woman than a voiced trans." Her advice on passing follows the same basic logic. Don't wear fashionable clothes, don't talk to people more than necessary, and don't do anything that draws any attention to yourself.
Lourdes drops out of the book almost as quickly as she comes in, which is thankful since she's not really a likable character (of course the main character isn't that likable either). The main character spends the rest of the book either spiraling into depression or ranting about how the "transgender paradigm" ruined her life and arguing with everyone.
Where is the rest of trans community during all this? Oh, they're all self-obsessed individuals.
Meanwhile the real "dark" side of being transgender, discrimination, hate crimes, drug and alcohol problems and job discrimination leading to bone crushing poverty, sex work and HIV, seems entirely absent from this novel.
The author seems to have some point in portraying the trans community in this way, but I haven't the foggiest notion what it is. I suppose I could re-read it, but on top of everything else, it's just not that interesting of a read. The characters are flat and the dialogue is not realistic.
The Unpaved Road
on Oct. 07, 2012
The Unpaved Road is a short but extremely interesting autobiography of a transgender person. It starts with her early realization that she was different, including some early encounters with a boy and with crossdressing. She meets a gay person in college who helps her to see that it's okay to be who you are, no matter who you are.
Despite this she can do nothing about her own situation at the time. She is dependent on her parents for financial support and she must put her gender identity in the closet.
The narrative picks up again many years in the future. She can no longer deny who she is but fears how her friends and family will react to the news that the "man" they have known for years is in fact a woman.
I found the story quite interesting but I really wish and hope the author will flesh it out more. When I read the scenes about her childhood I got really hooked and thought, "wow this is going someplace interesting". But then the narrative skips most of her life. I want to know what she did. What was it like stuffing all that in the closet? How did she work to maintain the male image she had to present all those years. The coming out and transtioning too seemed abbreviated, like there is a lot more to this story. I really hope the author will come back and flesh this tale out more. Still I would have to say I enjoyed it and would recommend it.