Violetta Vane's Reviews > Static

Static by L.A. Witt
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Mar 20, 2012

bookshelves: mf, mm
Read in June, 2012 — I own a copy

I heard a lot of good buzz about this book, decided to check it out, and was so glad I did. The story is wonderful, original, and thought-provoking.

I think the central premise is clear, so I'll just mention two issues that tripped me up a bit as a reader, but which I don't think are, in the end, weaknesses.

1) the framing of shifting. From a science fiction perspective, I can't grasp it, because your body needs energy to do something like that. So it's not scientifically grounded in the way that sex changing in The Left Hand of Darkness is. And in all other respects, the world is similar to our own; for example, transgender people are presented separate from shifters, although they overlap in fascinating ways. So I couldn't read this is as science fiction, or urban fantasy (no magical elements), or superhero-type science fantasy, because the characters were NOT larger than life—they were quite appealingly every(wo)man types—so I ended up reading it as a kind of allegorical realism. Once I decided to let that be the frame, I really enjoyed the concept.

2) The style. It flowed smoothly, but it was heavy on the dialogue. Everyone said what they meant pretty clearly, and a lot of the story takes place through the dialogue. This sort of style usually bothers me—I prefer having a range of characters with different levels of articulateness—but in Static, the characters were still complex and interesting and clearly different from each other. So ultimately, it comes down to stylistic preference.

This is a very deep psychological book, and I loved how the stuff about gender comes out in a way that is not didactic; it's woven into the psychology of the characters. We've got an MC who is NOT a perfect victim-martyr; Alex has real flaws and real moral decisions to make. And Damon isn't a cookie-cutter GFY guy, not in the slightest...

Overall, this is a great story, super-original, and I highly recommend it.
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