cover image Labyrinth


Alex Beecroft. Riptide, $2.99 e-book (130p) ISBN 978-1-62649-480-0

Though the impetus for the novella clearly comes from an admirable desire to provide a happy romantic ending for a nonbinary character, Beecroft's (Blue Steel Chain) Minoan fantasy suffers from the unrealistic political centering of what ought to be minor players, an unsophisticated and overly romanticized depiction of Minoan culture, and inexplicable demonization of ancient Greece as a gender-essentialist, misogynist, bullying cultural monolith. Rich shipowner Rusa saves and then falls in love with young inventor Kikeru, who has been contemplating the equally unsatisfactory life paths of living as a man and marrying a woman or becoming a temple priestess like his mother. When Kikeru hears Achean men talking about taking over the Minoan complex, Rusa and Kikeru, together with Kikeru's mother and Rusa's pregnant daughter, are tasked by the Queen to prevent war with the Greeks. Kikeru also gets divine support for being both man and woman. Minoan imagery is abundant but often awkward, making the story feel Minoan-themed rather than grounded in history or world-building. Modern concepts (single motherhood by choice, gender-confirming surgery) also mar any historical feel. (Nov.)