Set in a parallel universe where some people are genetically “Shifters” — able to shift at will between male and female bodies — this is a good yarn and an excellent metaphor.
Damon heads out to his girlfriend Alex’s house, worried that he hasn’t heard from her since she has bouts of depression and heavy drinking. He find an extremely ill Alex… who is now also a man. Unbeknownst to Damon, Alex is a shifter, and his parents have forced an implant on him to prevent him from shifting back into female form.
As Alex struggles with the (many) ghastly after effects of this betrayal, Damon tries to figure out what their relationship now is. Alex is not bisexual — both forms are attracted to men — but Damon has always been straight.
When I started reading Static, I told my husband “This is the weirdest gay-for-you story ever.” * But towards the end I realized it was actually the most sensible gay-for-you story ever. Damon eventually realizes that Alex the man is still the same person he was in love with, and can still be attractive to him.
Although the slow unfolding of Damon’s feelings works nicely, the relationship is in a holding pattern for three fourths of the story, and the middle sags. Also, Alex is truly in a dreadful situation and for me, the prose was not up to making that compelling rather than a complete downer. But I was really happy with how the plot went — it so easily could have been a wallbanger for me — and the imaginative take on being genderqueer.
*Hub’s reply: “Unless it was written by Chuck Tingle, no it isn’t.”