Winner, StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Award. The brilliant scientist Taldra loves her twin gay sons and sees them as the hope for Valchondria's future, but one of them becomes entangled in the cult of Degranon, while the other becomes stranded on the other side of a doorway through time. Can they find their way home and help Taldra save their world?...
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Admitedly sci-fiction is not my cup of tea and that is a big gap if you want to read Degranon, since I think the main inspiration for this novel are the old fashioned classics of sci-fiction, ’70 and ’80 style. In those year, due to the political climate, people were trying to understand the right level of government influence in your everyday life, and to do that utopian worlds were developed on fictional novels (as often happen). Degranon has an interesting approach: is the world a better place to live if there are no differences among the men, nor of colors or of genders? If people is unable to see colors, and they see only in Black and White, then they cannot single out people due to the race; if being gay is as ordinary as being heterosexual, then it’s not something you are sigled out for; if being woman, or man, doesn’t influence your authority or your chances to be a leader, then it’s not something you have to fight for… but to remove all differences is the path to a better world or to a tyranny? I think the most excel minds are born as a challenge to the system, and so in a society like the one at the beginning of this novel, it’s only natural that you will have a situation of clash with the power. It’s interesting to notice that, even if the author himself says in the preface that Degranon included a gay theme (While I thought of Degranon as a science fiction novel that included gay themes but only minor gay characters, I found that many of my readers identified with those gay aspects. (…) With all of that in mind, I kept wondering what Degranon would be like if I rewrote some of the major characters as gay.), there is not even once the word “gay” in all the novel: the homosexuality is so blended (or recognized) in this future society, that there is not need to singling out someone as gay or heterosexual. Actually you understand someone is gay only since he is in a relationship, or he is interested in someone else of his same-sex. So I quite disagree with other reviews I read about this novel, when the reviewer warns the possible sci-fiction reader of the gay-theme of the story, since there is really little of gay in the story. The second aspect of the novel I noticed, and liked, is an almost regression to family value; in this modern society the family has lost of importance. Dr. Lorfeltez, later Taldra, should be impartial, her quest should be to create something better for the society, but she is also a mother, and a lover, and I felt for her impossible to separate these two side of her persona. Her choices are both for her people and her sons, and when the choices clash against each other, I’m not sure she is impartial enough; that is basically something very old fashioned, she is indead a mother, and that is something that no future government can change. Taldra is also the reason why this novel is and is not gay themed: Taldra is a woman, a mother, and this is mostly her story, nothing gay here; her twin sons are gays, or at least you can understand that (two times, referring to Argen’s possible partner, people use the word “boyfriend”). Now I’m not entirely sure Taldra’s behaviour is healthy, and I read a tad of fanaticism in her, but I suppose her motherly nature helps in balancing it. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0595317138/?...
The writing in this book is a bit uneven, perhaps because the author wrote it over the space of nearly 20 years, beginning when he was only 15. But the plot is intriguing, and the characters are complicated and real. The themes are important ones like diversity and government control vs freedom.There are two versions of this book, both hard to find in paper format. The one I read was the second, in which Simolke has changed a few of the main characters to incorporate a same-gendered relationship; in the first version, acceptance of gays was a theme, but no characters were gay.
it is a very very good book
Bought it from Kobo (my e-reader is connected to them) and it's loaded. The first few pages were interesting at 3AM.
This very rich sci-fi story captivated me from the beginning. From the main topic of a land where there are no minorities, no differences between races or sexual orientations, to the writing style that transports you into the story in an effortless way, I read this book in record time, unable to put it down.It’s amazing how the author managed to create such complex society, with characters that felt real, with real struggles, doubts, and concerns. I personally found Taldra’s character fascinating, her commitment with her people and her family are exceptional and add a touch of realism that is hard to accomplish in sci-fi stories.Degranon includes some controversial topics such as religion, oppression, authoritarianism, fanaticism and homosexuality, and although some of those topics are not explicit, they are an important part of the story development, and leave the reader thinking, after finishing the book, in our own society and cultures.The fact that Simolke spent so many years creating and editing this book truly shows across its pages. I didn’t read the first edition, with lesser homosexual characters, but this one seemed perfect, I think the author reached a balance of the story and characters that make this book very different from others in the same genre.I really enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to read the sequel. I believe I had been trapped into the Degranon’s pages, which some might say “It’s just a book” ;)
I must be on a roll, because this is the third sci-fi “Star Treky” kind of story that I’ve read in the past month…and I am not normally a sci-fi kind of girl. This story, however, is very well written and fun. I’m pretty sure I got the updated version because I saw a few earlier reviews mentioning a stilted and choppy story, and this was anything but.Degranon takes place in an alternate universe where everyone is a person of some color and all have black hair. The skins tones are red, brown, or black. So I am picturing Native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans while I read. The major difference was that most people were color blind and everything was viewed in grays. Except for those who could see were forced to keep it secret. The prevailing theme being that no one was to be perceived as different. While I mainly read and review romance novels, it is important to point out that this is not romance, but there is love. The love is between couples and between a mother and her sons. It is not a sexual book, nor is it meant to be. It is purely science fiction and one that leaves the reader thinking about where we may be heading in the distant future. For one, I have always been told that eventually there will only be people of color and here is a story exalting that very thing. It is also a story of control and government interference with the pretense of their doing what they think is best for society, not necessarily what the people want.The Maintainers are just that, they strive to maintain the status quo. I found that what I enjoyed most was the ease in which the world building took place, and the way that the characters came alive. I felt strong emotions from Taldra, and even though she was a strong female in her own right, she was also a mother who never forgot that being a mom came first. She is the mother of two gay twin sons. They are the reason, I believe, that is considered this a gay themed book. But the gay is so accepted that it came across as secondary and more a book about strong females. Not complaining, just my point of view. So for those who want a thought provoking and fun sci-fi read, then I would highly recommend Degranon; so hover on over to the bookstore and check this one out. I personally would love to be a Valchondrian myself because everyone is beautiful and even those in their late 40s look twenty five years old…that works for me.The Blogger Girls
You can read my review of Degranon at my web site.