It’s not every book that makes me sigh in relief when I reach the afterword and learn the book was written as a satire. No, author Matthew J. Beier does not believe that homosexuals want to take over the planet and control every facet of our lives. That being said, his book The Breeders will make a wonderful Christmas present for hard core right-wingers and gay hipsters alike. How many books can you say that about? But all politics aside, The Breeders is an interesting tale, eerily reminiscent of Huxley’s Brave New World. It can be overly sappy in places, but by the end of the book, you’ll learn Beier isn’t just a skilled writer—he’s got serious balls.
|For some reason, this reminds me of the kids' TV show Cyberchase. Not sure why|
In a society dominated by the flamingly homosexual New Rainbow Army, all heterosexual woman are genetically engineered to be sterile. This poses a problem for Grace Jarvis, who finds herself expecting a baby after an underground heterosexual orgy. As the society she lives in strengthens its crackdown on reproductive rights, Grace frantically searches for a way to save herself and her unborn child—a difficult thing, especially when one of your fathers doesn’t approve of you sexual orientation. Her search leads her to the mysterious Opposition—a rebel group that offers Grace a chance to escape the New Rainbow Army—if she’s willing to leave everything she knows and loves behind.
Dex Wheelock, the father of Grace’s baby, has a big decision to make: stay home and face possible persecution for his sexual orientation, or follow this pregnant woman across the world. Dex is, naturally, terrified at the thought of leaving his whole world behind. When he lets his fear overwhelm him for a split second, all plans and hopes are dashed apart and he finds himself on a long, terrifying journey to survive and reunite with the mother of his child.
Along his way, he finds spiritual fulfillment and inner peace. This is excellent for Dex and a little tedious for the reader. It doesn’t feel quite real, and books don’t run well when the main characters are happy and serene. It’s the kind of thought I’d expect from a Buddhist monk, not a man on the run for his life. Pregnancy is idealized—Grace thinks about the miracle of bringing natural life into the world quite frequency, and her swollen feet and constant need to pee not at all. Over the course of the book, the characters do develop—but in becoming parents, the pieces of their relationship fall together a little two neatly. After all, they were random strangers when they met at the orgy. You’d think that two random people would have more points of disagreement.
The world-building in The Breeders is excellent: Beier has created a society that’s truly frightening in its excesses. It’s not just our world with a little gender flopping, but the strangeness of the story’s world made me wonder if that’s how it is for my gay friends sometimes—that you’re living in a world that wasn’t built for you. The villains are menacing, though distant, and a sense of hopelessness pervades the whole text as we watch these characters struggle against real and overwhelming odds. This is one book you should read twice.
Highs: Atmosphere. The world Beier builds is genuinely dark and hopeless, filled with characters who, if not perfect, certainly draw you to root for them. Story-first approach. A lot of satirical stories can’t decide if they want to be all satire or tell a story, and Beier picks his direction and stays with it. He manages to tell a complete story in a world based off a ridiculous premise, which is much harder than it looks. Twist ending. I’m not going to spoil the book, but Beier delivers on what he’s foreshadowed all along.
Lows: Uneven characterization. The characters feel a little too pure by the end of the book. I would have liked it if they'd had a few more, enduring flaws.
Did I like this story? Yes. Would I read it again? Yes. Would I recommend it to people who like science fiction? Yes. My rating? As sci-fi, five stars out of five. As a novel, four stars.
--Liz Ellor, O43
You can download The Breeders here