By Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, authors of LONELY SHORE
It’s tempting to suggest sexuality will be a non-issue in the future. When humanity is more concerned with solving energy crises, preserving our planet, exploring our galactic neighbourhood and/or defending our existence against the ant people from Celeron 5, should it matter who we’re sleeping with? No, but it shouldn’t have mattered in the last century, or way back before we measured time—and often, it didn’t.
Our history is full of instances of homosexual love. Not just sex, but love and relationships between same sex couples. It’s tempting to delve into that history, because I find it fascinating—what writer wouldn’t—but the setting for Chaos Station series is 240 years from now, and Jenn and I had a very specific thoughts on how we’d like to present sexuality in the future: who you chose to sleep with would be nobody’s business but your own.
Zander questions his sexuality early in life when he’s sorting out his desires—partly because he’s a thoughtful guy and likes to label and sort his life, and partly because he’s attracted to both women and men. He knows that the choice is his, however. Felix always knew he preferred men. He always knew he preferred Zander over other men, too, which is a more essential part of his character than his preference alone. Both of their attitudes are normal in the world of Chaos Station, as are three-way partnerships, sex bots and being best friends with your left hand.
“…in the black, sex was all about comfort and companionship, or just something to do on the long jumps between stations.”
No world is perfect, however, and the one we created is no exception. In Lonely Shore, our guys attend a festival on the planet Risus where their relationship makes the colonists uncomfortable. It’s our alien pilot’s fault. Qekelough (pronounced kek-eh-low) finds human sexuality fascinating—probably because ashushk sexuality is pretty obscure. Qek is genderless and will likely remain so for her entire life. She’s chosen a female pronoun because she works with a human crew. The refrigerator is an it. If she returns to her home planet, an ashushk gender might manifest, which would trap her there for the rest of her natural life. For ashushk, sexuality is not about finding comfort and love, it’s a biological imperative.
For the colonists of the planet Risus, it’s all about procreation.
“On a colony, sex meant procreation, and some settlements had adopted old, outdated attitudes toward sex that had no possibility of creating life.”
It would be naïve to assume everyone on Risus is heterosexual, and if we were to write the coming out story of one of their sons or daughters, I would hope we could make it hopeful. That the future Jenn and I envision comes with choices. That love is, and always will be, love.
Do you envision a more tolerant future?
Book two of Chaos Station
All they can do is live day to day…
Felix Ingesson has returned to his duties as the Chaos‘s engineer with Zander Anatolius, his ex-boyfriend-turned-broken-super-soldier, at his side. Hope means something again. But there’s nothing Felix can do to battle the alien poison flowing through Zander’s veins, or his imminent mental decline. With each passing day, the side effects of Zander’s experimental training are becoming more difficult to ignore.
When the ruthless Agrius Cartel seeks their revenge—including an ambush and an attempt to kidnap the Chaos’s crew—Zander is pushed over the edge. He can no longer hide his symptoms, nor does he want to. But hurting Felix when he’s not in control of himself is Zander’s worst nightmare—when it nearly happens, he agrees to seek help. Even if that means trusting the unknown.
As Zander places his life in alien hands, Felix appoints himself his lover’s keeper. And though he tries to be strong, he can’t ignore the fact that he might lose Zander…forever this time.
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Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.
The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.
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