Different Names for the Same Thing, by Francis Gideon
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Release Date: October 31, 2016
The last time Joël Paquet was in New York City, he nearly died. Too distracted by his problems, he didn’t look when he crossed the street and was nearly made into a pancake by a transport truck in the downtown core. The only saving grace of this trip, other than the cute person working as a living statue who saved him and then took him out for coffee, was the fact that his near-death experience finally gave him the courage to come out as trans.
Five years later, Joël Paquet is one of the most in-demand horror writers in North America. Going to New York City from his current Montreal home for the Black Markets Horror Con should be exciting, but when he gets an email that uses his birth name, he nearly cancels the trip altogether. The only thing that keeps Joël going is the thought of that living statue who saved his life once before.
Content Warning for:
Use of Deadname
I won a book of my choice from the publisher, so I took a chance on this short story by a new to me author. Having no review obligations is nice when you don’t know whether you’ll like a book or not and with contemporary romance I’m less sure anyway.
I’m happy to say that I really liked this well written trans romance and I’ll be looking for more books by the author as well. The short format is convincing with the right amount of detail and complexity. The pacing is good—even the flashback works really well here—and the characters have depth and their issues seem real and understandable.
There is a strong focus on the written word—be it poetry or prose, horror or love—and how it can both help us understand ourselves and evoke empathy for others. That’s really lovely. And quite often I could build a connection with the characters because the most simple things let me relate to them.
The romance between the protagonists is really sweet and it’s easy to imagine that they can build a meaningful future together. There’s just something real between them. The kissing… Hmmmmm 🙂 Lovely! And the sex… wow, um… really hot. Loved that a lot!
Also cats, OMG! This one scene is the cutest thing ever. What a great idea!
I have to say, I often find it hard to comment on the portrayal of trans characters, because, really, I don’t feel like I’m especially well suited or anything, being that I’m cisgender, but I think the author handled it with care and understanding. The misgendering and use of Joel’s dead name is already explained in the blurb and makes sense regarding the premise. I think it’s realistic, but there is also not a major emphasis on it ,and it happens because of ignorance and not hostility, just to clarify and give you some more information here.
I can definitely recommend this shortie. I think it has great trans and pansexual representation and also, just as important, is well written and enjoyable to read.
Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.
After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.
Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.