Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Unrecognized Masterpiece:
Dark Water’s Embrace by Stephen Leigh

I originally posted this bit on La Gringa & Co. on October 15th, 2005. (So I guess techincally this is a Swivet re-run!) But recently I found myself discussing this book again with a friend, so I thought I'd dig this out and point y'all to a book that I think was seriously overlooked when it was first published:
October 15th, 2005

I spend an inordinate amount of time trolling used bookstores for old sci-fi paperbacks. There are so many gems out there that never really found the audience they deserved, and when I stumble upon one I feel it incumbent upon myself to shout it from the rooftops and otherwise annoy all my Greek & Croation neighbors here in Astoria.

So here’s one such gem I found whilst wandering Park Slope last summer, and have since foisted upon several of my friends and colleagues: DARK WATER’S EMBRACE by Stephen Leigh. Sadly, the book has been out-of-print for several years, but I keep hoping that someone out there will pick it up and reissue it in the trade paperback format it deserves.

In Dark Water’s Embrace, Leigh posits the idea of a third biological gender - the “mid-male” - nature’s answer to a low birth-rate on an environmentally unfriendly planet somewhere in humanity’s distant future. Much like Ursula LeGuin’s extraordinary LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, Leigh takes preconceived ideas about gender and sexuality and tosses them out the window, while at the same time doing something that so many sci-fi writers fail at: creating characters with whom we can genuinely empathize. If you can find a copy out there in a used bookstore somewhere, grab it!

1 comment:

writtenwyrdd said...

Sounds like an exciting read. I'll ahve to add it to my list of books to find. I sure do miss the big city used book stores!

In a similar vein, I've been playing with an idea that involves differing breeding cycles.