Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Serial: Taboo by Zachary Bonelli

Taboo is the episode 13 of the +Voyage: Embarkation serial. I received a copy of Taboo from the author in exchange for my review.

Whilst hovering above earth, Kal and Tria try to send a message, only to be transported to an alternative earth. This earth is different though as it isn't registered on any of Kal's databases. At first Kal is excited, as this world seems to be exactly like earth just without the nanotechnology, and even better than that, they have the technology to clone him and transfer Tria's brain into the body. But to do that Kal needs to go to college. There he discovers that not all is rosy on this new planet, and society is particularly homophobic, but Kal is determined to find Tria his body and wants to endure it for him.

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This episode felt different to the others, though I realise that I write that almost every time I review one of Bonelli's installments, but it is true! Each episode is unique and deals with something deeper than face value. What was different about this episode was that the issue dealt with wasn't related to technology, but rather a social one; homophobia.

Personally I don't think that homophobia is dealt with enough in fiction, especially considering that it is a real problem that people suffer from in the world, and an unfair problem to exist (basically what I'm trying to say is that homophobia shouldn't exist). One thing I did wonder while reading Taboo though was how the other characters knew Kal was gay, personally I didn't figure it out until it was explicitly said (up until that point I hadn't even considered if Kal was attracted to men or women, and for the record I don't care which he's attracted to.) But to allow the issue to be faced I guess they needed to know somehow.

There were several times in this episode where my heart really went out to Kal, because he didn't deserve to be treated the way that he was by the other characters, but at the same time I was proud of him for standing up for himself, and for what he believes in. Both of those feelings really point out to me how skillfully Bonelli has crafted his main character, I feel like I've known Kal for a long time and really know him, which I guess is an advantage of the serialised approach.

Part of me wants to read on straight away, and the other part is wanting to wait so I don't finish Voyage Embarkation so soon! Without Kal's stories something is just going to be missing!

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