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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  192 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
IN THE NEAR FUTURE, humankind has mastered the arts of peace, tolerance, and acceptance. At least, that's what we claim. But then THEY arrive.

"You know..." she said slowly, so softly that Evvie almost didn't hear it. "You know those movies where the aliens come to Earth, and they... I dunno, they try to steal our natural resources, or create a nuclear winter so they can tu
Paperback, 286 pages
Published April 9th 2011 by Dragon Moon Press
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(showing 1-30 of 583)
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Andy Taylor
Nov 05, 2011 Andy Taylor rated it really liked it
Author J.M. Frey successfully creates a complex world in Triptych, where a lot of larger events unfold around her characters, yet always makes the story feel personal and intimate. Gwen, Basil and Kalp get caught up in a plot of intrigue as various memebers of the institute are targeted and a wedge is slowly driven between the more tolerant humans and their alien guests. Frey pulls no punches in her depiction of the humanity of Gwen and Basil as they come to accept Kalp, including some very grap ...more
I. Merey
Mar 23, 2012 I. Merey rated it really liked it
I was quite torn about what rating to give this book. I tentatively settle on four stars, because the parts I liked, I really really loved.

I won't give a synopsis--many others have done that already. I will reiterate that the character of Kalp made this book for me--the parts written from his perspective (3rd person, but over his shoulder) were, in my opinion, the best parts of the book, in terms of pacing, interest and writing. The voice was so strong and clear and for those parts, I would giv
Alanna King
Mar 02, 2013 Alanna King rated it it was amazing
Triptych's exploration of heteronormativity touched me in places that I didn't even know existed. The characters and their relationships make the sci fi problems Frey creates, very real and very relevant to the human reader. It is a very brave first novel, and I found it surprisingly accessible for something that I consider outside of my genre. I will definitely pick up J.M. Frey's next novel.
Leah Petersen
Apr 02, 2011 Leah Petersen rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure what I expected when I came to this book, but it surprised me at every turn, which is amazing for a book that starts with the end first.

From the luscious prose of literary fiction in what could easily have been stock sci-fi, the skillful use of cliches and pop-culture references for a geek-dream-come-true, the heart-wrenchingly true characters and complex relationships, to the use of time travel to NOT pull all the cinema-stunts you expect when you hear "time-travel," the book was
Karen Dales
May 14, 2011 Karen Dales rated it really liked it
What a wonderful debut novel by J.M. Frey. For a science fiction novel it really deals with new issues that I haven't found often in the genre. They way J.M. weaves her story is sometimes confusing but it all makes wonderful sense in the end.
Deborah Ross
Feb 15, 2012 Deborah Ross rated it really liked it
I would never have discovered Triptych, by J.M. Frey, had I not first met the editor, Gabrielle Harbowy. We were talking about stories that challenge conventional notions not only of sexuality but of family, and she mentioned this debut novel by Canadian J.M. Frey. The cover reveals nothing of the story within -- part queer love story, part alien first encounter story, part time travel adventure, part mystery, part exploration of polyamory, all laced with skillfully woven dramatic tension and a ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Marjorie rated it did not like it
I could go on and on about the excruciatingly over-wrought grief scenes or the completely unfunny and beating a dead Delorian references to Back to the Future or the truly appalling way that the final section first narrates actions and then has the characters explain those actions (For god's sake, we can infer) or the mind-numbing repetition of "innit" or the mechanical prose...but I won't.

This book has indeed been heralded by a few sites--Publisher's Weekly among them, as noted by another revie
Kadin Seton
Sep 14, 2011 Kadin Seton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written science fiction novel about tolerance, acceptance, bigotry, betrayal and most of all, love. I greatly enjoyed the author’s departure from typical science fiction. At times heartbreaking, this book clearly demonstrates the best and worst of human nature. I was particularly moved by the displaced alien, Kalp, who desperately struggles to find his place in our society. For me, the story came to life during the descriptions of Kalp’s troubles, pain and triumphs.
I highly recommen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bending The Bookshelf
I love science fiction books best when they do something a little outside the norm . . . when they push boundaries . . . and when they make you stop and think. While I do enjoy some mindless carnage on the big screen, it simply doesn’t work for me on the page. Mind you, what I like on the page doesn’t necessarily translate well to the screen, but I have a pretty solid production crew inside my head.

Anyway, Triptych is a book that I’m delighted to say falls comfortably outside the norm, pushes se
Mar 20, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Aliens in science fiction are a tricky business; they're often little more than metaphors for specific aspects of human society, like the Klingons in Star Trek, or they're a faceless menace with no goal other than destruction and domination, like Wells' Martians or Card's insect horde. Rarely are extraterrestrials given a full, rounded culture and a motivation equal to that of the human characters.

With Triptych, JM Frey has created a work that fully acknowledges the culture of science fiction th
Chris Jackson
Apr 28, 2012 Chris Jackson rated it really liked it
J.M. Frey got some great reviews for this novel, and after reading it I can see why. She really pulls no punches. This is not a fluffy YA SF story. I won't spoil anything for you, but man, you better be ready for some grit.

She also pulls of a very unique point of view twist that I enjoyed very much. The title says it all. The primary story tellers shift from section to section, giving fresh and different perspectives of some of the same events. This is the kind of thing I like a lot, but that is
Ruthanne Reid
May 14, 2012 Ruthanne Reid rated it it was amazing
This book wasn't at all what I expected. The transition from tentative love and blinders-on joy to grief and eventual catharsis is powerful, and makes its point by simply telling the story, never by preaching.

The humans in this story are so very human in all their potential goodness and fear-fired hate. Kalp is a wonderful character, worth reading the book for all by himself.

Altogether, this is a solidly good debut. Just be sure to have a lot of tissues on hand.
Gabrielle Harbowy
A really poignant, painfully powerful human story that will grab you no matter who you are.
Jan 29, 2015 Nenya rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This was a fast read. It deals with a lot of drama and pain, so not exactly a light read, but there were some funny parts mixed in with it as well. It's a first novel, which I think shows; the author didn't quite convince me of everything she was going for. I feel like this was Gwen's story from start to finish, but we only got POV sections from other people's perspectives--her mother, her human husband, her alien husband. I don't know if this was on purpose. I'm a big fan of polyamory and three ...more
David Brooke
Feb 13, 2012 David Brooke rated it liked it
With pictures and to see this review in the "dueling review" format go here:

This review fights Leviathan Wakes.

Triptych is an opera, but not a space opera, a soap opera. It’s your typical love triangle between man, woman and alien. Oh wait, that’s never been done, especially like this. From Wikipedia, a triptych is a work of art (usually a panel painting) which is divided into three sections. In the case of Frey’s Triptych the 3 are three beings made one
Sep 05, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it
Not since Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness have I read such a good exploration of sexuality in a science fiction novel. Gives "marriage" a whole new meaning. Two humans and an alien form a committed triad. Hard to put down!

There's a gap in the middle of the story, though. Weirdly, though it's written by a woman, the female protagonist is the one character I can't sympathize with. It's as though she's sketched but not drawn.

Still, I enjoyed this story, was amused, turned on, heartbroken.
Phred Jackson
Mar 17, 2012 Phred Jackson rated it really liked it
How can a novel that includes time travel and aliens not seem like science fiction?

I liked that each chapter was written from each character’s POV, thot the mourning was dwelled on a bit much and lasted too long.

One point of confusion was that Basil’s flash detector detected flashes that were happening NOW but three weeks from when they returned from the past is when the ship actually left AND why did that person need a ship when Basil and Gwen did not...

Otherwise, highly enjoyable; I look for
Mar 30, 2012 Todd rated it it was amazing
Back in April 2011, I wrote:

I finished Triptych in one go last night, couldn't put it down even. It's a very impressive first novel and if Ms. Frey continues to do with science fiction what she's done in this book she might single-handedly be credited with reviving the entire genre. Bravo! Encore, encore!
Tanya Patrice
Oct 29, 2011 Tanya Patrice rated it really liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book at first - something about the jerky transitions at the beginning - but once Kalp starts telling his story - I was hooked until the end; so I ended up really liking the story.
May 03, 2014 Fence rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff
When the aliens came it was nothing like the way science fiction and popular culture had predicted it. There was no invasion, instead they were refugees. Their own planet had collapsed, killing the majority, only a few escaped. Earth took them in and began to integrate them into human culture.

Of course there were plenty of differences.

And then the rumours of a conspiracy started. And the possibility that the aliens were actually invaders, invaders by stealth.

Gwen and Basil were part of the Insti
Jan 13, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
Love it! Great plot twists, coherent and yet chunked. Couldn't put it down!
Aug 24, 2011 Sumayyah rated it liked it
Very, very intriguing and thought-provoking.
Carol March
Jan 12, 2015 Carol March rated it really liked it
J.M .Frey’s science fiction novel, Triptych, is about time travel, aliens in human culture, one of the many faces of love, and the challenges of accepting new cultural norms. At heart, it is a character-driven and very moving love story of two human scientists, Gwen and Basil, and the alien engineer, Kalp.

Kalp is one of the few survivors of a destroyed planet who manage to make their way to Earth seeking asylum. A near-future earth takes in the shattered survivors and quarantines them in the In
Sven Davison
Aug 20, 2012 Sven Davison rated it really liked it
Locquacious, daring, and socially relevant; J.M. Frey's "Triptych" is not afraid to push the boundaries that define love and relationships. " Tryptich," is the story of three lovers told from each person's point of view. The protagonists are a British man named Basil, an American woman named Gwen, and a tall blue-furred, bat-eared alien named Kalp. The two humans are scientists who work for a government body known as The Institute. Kalp is one of a few survivors who came to earth searching for s ...more
Jun 08, 2012 David rated it it was ok
I hurriedly picked this off the library shelf, considering pretty much any new author a possible treat. I must say that I was quite surprised by what I got.

The framing devices of this story include an alien species who arrive fleeing (undeserved, of course) planetary disaster, and time travel. However, even though those are both hoary SF chestnuts, this isn't really a science fiction book: it's a romance novel. The overwhelming majority of the book is a romance between a human couple and one of
May 30, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The worst part about Triptych is falling in love with Kalp, just as the humans, Gwen and Basil do, all the while knowing that he dies. No, that’s not a spoiler. His murder occurs right in the first few pages of the book and I was impressed by the way Frey’s clipped and intense descriptions conveyed Gwen and Basil’s emotional turmoil.

Unfortunately, the next chapter was a bit problematic with Basil seeming to suddenly develop a British accent and affectations, too much focus on the inside jokes th
Dec 22, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Sci-fi at its best. Maybe I was just at the right point emotionally to really connect with this work, but Frey does an incredible job of putting a fresh spin on first contact. Her writing is sharp, funny, and well-paced. Characters all seem so real, fleshed out, with understandable motivations and things you dislike about them, as well. If I had to pick one thing that makes the book outstanding, it's how Frey writes relationships between people -- her approach is no-nonsense and very true to lif ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Corrina rated it it was amazing
Read my full review at!

The first time that I saw J.M. Frey after reading Triptych, I told her “I hate you a little for killing my favourite character. But thank you for not bringing him back.” I think that’s still the best review I can give this book. It’s always a bit of a cop-out for time travel stories to kill someone and bring them back at the end just to pull the emotional strings. Frey doesn’t use that trick. Instead, Kalp dies at the start of the book. The
Jul 06, 2015 Julia rated it did not like it
I really, really wanted to like this book. I was excited about it. I love stories heavily featuring aliens, especially when they employ alien POV. I love stories with polyamory. I love time travel. This book has all of those things, but could not make it work for me.

The structure of the book is non-linear, with an opening scene that makes very little sense on first read. The first section drops lots of references to things the reader doesn't understand yet, which are finally explained in the se
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Trained in musical theatre, and voice acting, Frey is an author, actor, and professional geek. She was an invited panelist on the SPACE Channel's premier chat show InnerSPACE, has appeared in documentaries, lived in Japan, and lent costumes to the Ontario Science Centre. She also has a number of academic credentials, including a BA in Dramatic Literature and an MA in Communications Culture, and ha ...more
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