I Married an Earthling

Alvin Orloff, Author
Alvin Orloff, Author Manic D Press $13.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-916397-64-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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A cross between Star Trek and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Orloff's debut novel imagines first contact with an alien race known for its benevolence and its outrageously good fashion sense. The result is a thoroughly original genre of fiction--queer sci-fi social commentary. Told in alternating first-person narratives, the novel traces the journeys of two smart and sassy misfits, born worlds apart. Here on Earth, Chester Julian, an out-of-the-closet queer goth high-school senior, is battling teenage homophobes and the banality of suburban culture. Meanwhile, on the campy planet Zeeron (where all the most powerful people are hairdressers), an Earth Studies scholar named Norvex 7 is fighting to prove that Earthlings aren't as unevolved (that is, unfashionable and humorless) as his colleagues think. Orloff (a UC-Berkeley grad student, a writer and a DJ--all of which shows) tells the story of Norvex's journey to Earth and Chester's journey into adulthood skillfully, through insightful, lively prose and believable, adorable characters. Along the way, he delivers depictions of teenage subcultures, San Francisco's gay pick-up scene and American sitcoms that rival even the best nongenre literary social commentary. Meanwhile, his intricate, invented Zeeron culture demonstrates the untapped queer possibilities lurking in SF. Despite a predictable plot--in the end, Norvex 7 and Chester meet, fall in love and marry--this novel is a delight. (Aug.)
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