Wednesday, June 20, 2018


L.A. Witt
Completed 6/15/2018, Reviewed 6/17/2018
4 stars

Normally, “shifter” stories are about people who can shift form into other creatures, like werewolves.  In this book, a shifter is someone who changes gender at will.  It’s part of their DNA to be able to change gender.  Some prefer to be a man most of the time, others a woman, and some are 50-50.  This book borrows from the transgender experience, illustrating the difficulty in switching gender to conform with inner identity. 

Alex is a shifter.  His parents force an implant upon him which is designed to prevent shifting.  He’s a man when this procedure is done, so now he is stuck in a man’s body.  Damon, Alex’s lover, is heterosexual and unaware that Alex is a shifter.  Now he has to deal with Alex as a man, instead of as a woman.  Damon now must question the depth of his love for Alex, pondering the ultimate question of can he stop loving Alex just because he’s static as a man. 

This book is short, just over 200 pages and is a real page turner.  The basic plot of the book is about whether Alex can get the implant removed.  But the real thrust of the novel deals with Damon’s coming to grips with Alex as a man when he’s only known him as a woman.  The book is told in alternating point of view, between Alex and Damon.  It’s done really well and lets us get to know Damon through his questioning his own sexual and emotional identity and Alex’s struggle with not being able to change genders when his inner identity changes as well as his guilt for not telling Damon sooner that he is a shifter. 

Static is remarkable in that it heartbreakingly captures the issues and prejudices the trans community faces, including parents, religion, lovers, and the workplace.  Witt did a lot of research into issues and she it really shows in how the characters develop and interact.  She even includes struggling with alcohol, an issue that is very prevalent in the LGBTQ community.

This book was nominated for a slew of LGBTQ awards, including two Lambda Literary Awards, for Transgender Fiction and for SF/Fantasy/Horror.  I think it’s well deserving of the acclaim.  It takes the shifting genre in a new direction and makes it enthralling.  I give this book four out of five stars. 

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