Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Book Review F4 by Larissa Glasser

Upon first learning about this book, I saw it described as something along the lines of (and pardon my paraphrasing) “Kaiju trans porn.” And, well, that should give you a good idea of what you’re getting into here. However, let that be just a starting point to the madness that lies within this very brief 142 pages.

Carol is a trans woman who is bartending on a cruise ship that also happens to be a Kaiju, one of a handful that has managed to destroy a good chunk of the world. In fact, there are many trans chicas working upon this sleeping giant, and a few are also involved in some deviant side gigs. Something within the Kaiju causes some of the crew and passengers to transform into inhuman creatures, and really all you need to know for now is that you’re in for some bizarro body horror (though not solely that). Anyone who reads my reviews knows I don’t like to get into the plot too much, but rather some other elements.

Despite of the strangeness that takes up the bookends of this novella, I think the strongest moments are in the middle, when we get to go back in time a bit and find out about Carol’s life before the current events of the story, from being a reluctant “band mother” to a witness in court who also happens to be lambasted by the media. Here we really get to know her character a bit more, and I began to care about the internal turmoil she dwells on throughout the book, usually via sarcastic remarks.

Which brings me to my favorite element of the book: Glasser’s penchant for sarcasm. She’s never afraid to let it fly, and it makes up a large amount of Carol’s personality, which feels true to form considering the pain she feels. Sarcasm is a common deflection method. Seriously, though, the writing is quite humorous at times, and there were several lines that made me laugh out loud. (When describing a pair of eyebrows—“They were really grey and bushy, as if he’d grown them with the pride-maintenance of a ZZ Top beard.”)

F4 is not going to be for everybody, this is certain. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s great. Any art that is created with the intent of pleasing everyone is sure to be trite, forgettable trash. Instead, you get something disgustingly adventurous, unabashedly unique, and wholly fearless. Prudes and TERFs need not apply.

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