‘Triptych’ by J.M. Frey
Author: Nadine Bell
March 21, 2011
Many science fiction tales deal with first contact and the inevitable conflicts between human and alien societies, but few tackle so directly and intimately the question of the human family, and how it could be changed as well. In Triptych (Dragon Moon Press), a time-traveling adventure spanning twenty-nine years and over two generations, the human version of family is radically altered.
One human female, one human male, and a non-gender identified alien are thrust together in an effort to educate and integrate two societies. A love between the three soon develops, but is challenged by disgust, fear, and hate. Through the loss of one, the remaining two fight to find meaning in the death of their spouse and once and for all draw a line in the sand: Love is love. Earth’s future depends on embracing this simple fact, or else we will be plunged into a war driven by such hate that neither humans nor aliens will survive it.
J.M. Frey writes Triptych in a contemporary, pop-culture reference filled style that will delight many a geek looking for an adventure they could easily wake up to find themselves in. Sexuality and love involving an alien are dealt with compassion and tenderness, not a clinical description of the anatomical differences between species. J.M. Frey delves into the often ignored question of why we so rigidly stick to the definition and expectation of a two-person partnership and not more.
Why is it wrong to be in love with two people at once? How could real love between three be any less valid than love between two? She also explores gender identity from the view of an alien so confused by how humans conceive of gender it leaves the reader shaking our heads, too, at what we think of as “male” and “female” anyway.
This is a refreshing twist on a genre that sometimes leaves a reader with few options for future Earth’s views on sexuality and identity. Too often, the future is painted as accepting, with no real discussion on how it got that way, or the question of acceptance of different sexuality and gender identities never comes up in the narrative to begin with. A frustrating situation for any reader looking for more out of the science fiction experience than merely human vs. alien or human exploration sagas.
A stirring adventure, as well as a tender love story, from a first-time author who truly embraces the limitless possibilities the future may bring. J.M. Frey’s Triptych satisfies any sci-fi reader looking for a different take on the first contact motif, or anyone looking to explore the possible evolution of human sexuality and love.
by J.M. Frey
Dragon Moon Press