As part of Trans Book Month on Just Love, in which we are highlighting trans literature and authors, we want to give you a sneak peak at the upcoming twin novellas The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang, which show a wonderful concept of gender and transgenderness as well as several transgender characters.
Mel has already read them and can’t shut up about them because they were incredibly good.
The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang
Series: Tensorate, Book One
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as infants. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While Mokoya received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, they saw the sickness at the heart of their mother’s Protectorate.
A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue as a pawn in their mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond they share with their twin?
The Black Tides of Heaven is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang’s Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls “effortlessly fascinating.” For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Red Threads of Fortune, available simultaneously.
The Red Threads of Fortune, by JY Yang
Series: Tensorate, Book Two
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Fallen prophet, master of the elements, and daughter of the supreme Protector, Sanao Mokoya has abandoned the life that once bound her. Once her visions shaped the lives of citizens across the land, but no matter what tragedy Mokoya foresaw, she could never reshape the future. Broken by the loss of her young daughter, she now hunts deadly, sky-obscuring naga in the harsh outer reaches of the kingdom with packs of dinosaurs at her side, far from everything she used to love.
On the trail of a massive naga that threatens the rebellious mining city of Bataanar, Mokoya meets the mysterious and alluring Rider. But all is not as it seems: the beast they both hunt harbors a secret that could ignite war throughout the Protectorate. As she is drawn into a conspiracy of magic and betrayal, Mokoya must come to terms with her extraordinary and dangerous gifts, or risk losing the little she has left to hold dear.
The Red Threads of Fortune is one of a pair of unique, standalone introductions to JY Yang’s Tensorate Series, which Kate Elliott calls “effortlessly fascinating.” For more of the story you can read its twin novella The Black Tides of Heaven, available simultaneously.
When I saw the covers in a tweet, I couldn’t but find out more about the books behind them, because I think they are the most beautiful thing. I read an interview with the author and was even more intrigued when they said that the twin novellas could be read in any order.
You can read my review of these awesome stories closer to release day (OMG, I loved them!), but today I want to tell you about the concept of gender and the representation of transgenderness the queer and enby author JY Yang created in their world.
In this fantasy setting (or I believe it is called silkpunk), children are gender neutral when they are born and are able to decide their gender at any point later on in life or not at all. The person’s body only starts to develop male or female features once a person has chosen their gender, if they so want and take the necessary measures for this. A decision on a gender doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to ‘transition’ into the gender, too.
The language, the clothes, and the appearance go hand in hand with this idea of gender as well. There are, for example, different pronouns for those who haven’t chosen a gender and then there are pronouns you can choose once you decide on a gender. That is to say, there went some serious thought into the creation of this world and society, thus foregoing the awkward result when such an idea isn’t thought through and comes off as gratuitous.
I highly recommend that you check out these books because they are awesome and they made me dream and yearn for a world that is more like this one.
I want to mention that the author has some short stories out online which are free to read, if you feel like checking them out first.
JY Yang is a lapsed journalist, a former practicing scientist, and a master of hermitry. A queer, non-binary, postcolonial intersectional feminist, they have over two dozen pieces of short fiction published or forthcoming in places including Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons and Tor.com. They live in Singapore, edit fiction at Epigram Books, and have a MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia. They are the author of the Tensorate Series, which begins with the twin novellas The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune.