Review of Bogi Takács, “Changing Body Templates”, in The Trans Space Octopus Congregation Stories, (Lethe Press, Inc., 2019): 79-102. — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Content note: Occupation, physical pain from medical
procedures. Brief mentions of torture, drugs, warfare, mind control.
This is a long story broken up into short stories — little few-paragraph or few-page vignettes. I loved the way that this format allowed me to get brief glimpses into the family life of the narrator, and of the work life of them and their colleagues. What I liked less was the way I felt like I was constantly trying to fill in holes and gaps; I found myself having to reread too much to figure out what I was missing to be able to enjoy the entire story in a smooth experience — and even then I was still left with questions (such as how is it that the Orosi are the dominant people, when their technology is so far behind that of the Dathran?)
Even so, the ending packs a heart-rending punch which makes up for a lot. If you like your sci fi apolitical, this is not the story for you.
(First published in Strange Bedfellows, ed. Hayden Trenholm, 2014).