TRIsocialization (TRIsocialization #1)
by Alex M. Bright
Summary: The human race is dying out.
The government is calling it a crisis.
As society and individuals adapt to survive in this new reality, the government tries to control how it happens. Every detail of every life is catalogued, numbered and directed onto a path to win a population war being waged around the world. Directed onto a path of manipulated evolution. When those in power begin to slowly take away the basic rights and freedoms of the very citizens they are meant to protect, shaping our destiny to their whims, will they succeed? Or will nature have its way?
The Church Organ is a small, lonely, hole-in-the-wall club in New York City. If you didn't know about it, chances are you'd probably pass it by. There's nothing remarkable about it at all. It's just one more place in a city filled with strangers -- strangers struggling to know each other, and to know themselves. Here, two generations of people will strive to change the world around them while attempting to keep their loved ones safe. Chris Medina, an indie musician looking for his place in the world. Wren Parker, a lawyer trying to fight for change from within a broken system. They will find others, and themselves, making the The Church Organ ground zero for the next stage of human evolution.
This is how it begins.
Source: I purchased a digital copy of this book from Smashwords for Kindle.
I knew going into this book that it would be a futuristic science fiction with reproductive focus like that of Children of Men and The Handmaid's Tale and it was also considered LGBT fiction, which is why I read it. I love dystopias and I also wanted to read an LGBT novel as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge I am participating in. While it was slow going for me, once I got into the story, I really enjoyed it.
The book is split up into alternating narrations: the present and 40 years into a bleak future where population is on the decline. The book is written in third person narration, but the present involves singer Chris, his boyfriend Peter, and their friend and bartender, Kiri. The future involves lawyer Wren, her girlfriend Byrony, and Paul.
The TRI in TRIsocialization is very important and it's a detail I overlooked. In the future, a program is implemented called TRI, where a couple becomes a threesome to increase the chances that a baby is born. It's an idea I found similar to the premise of The Handmaid's Tale, though the TRI program is for all couples regardless of sexual orientation and begins as a voluntary program to help increase population.
In the present, Chris and Peter are bisexual and enter into a triangular relationship with Kiri voluntarily and eventually become a family. The logistics and dynamics of Chris, Peter, and Kiri were difficult for me to understand. I wished that the book would have been written in first person to help me connect with one of the characters a little more and better understand them and their thought processes. The relationship between the three of them was a strange concept for me. It's like, I don't have a problem with it and I’ve heard of situations like that before, I just felt totally overwhelmed, even when certain logistics were explained. I think for a lot of the book, I was distracted by my own lack of understanding and curiosity. I suppose I feel like while I’m straight, I understand relationships and love and could have related to a relationship regardless of sexual preference from that angle, but the addition of a third person removed the only angle I had to relate to a LGBT relationship. I just feel like for not ever reading anything that qualifies as LGBT fiction, not getting a first person narration from a one of the characters involved, I was overloaded without having an angle to help me relate. It's like I was thrown into a pool and while I managed to keep my head above water, I was hopelessly treading water. I think perhaps this aspect of the story would be better appreciated by someone more familiar with all of these concepts. I just kept constantly stopping and thinking, "well what happens if..." "but how do they not get mad..." "so how would that work if..." and other purely curious questions. It wasn't like I minded, it was just distracting to do all of that and continue reading the story for the plot!
I remained frustrated with myself until about halfway through the book. Through the character of Gabriel, I felt like I was able to understand and relate more and I wished his story and upbringing would have been sooner in the book. Gabriel ties the present and the future together and his perspective sort of saved me from driving myself crazy trying to wrap my head about the voluntary triangular relationship. I really enjoyed his character and he helped me understand the other characters, both in the present and future, too. Once I connected with him, I was comfortable and able to really enjoy the rest of the book and get settled in. His narration wasn’t in first person, but it was solely about him, whereas the narrations of Chris, Peter, and Kiri in the present and Wren, Byrony, and Paul in the future weren’t focused on just one of those characters.
I thought the plot of the book was really intriguing and thought provoking. I thought it added a lot of perspective and introduced things I’ve never really given much thought to before and I like that it made me think. The politics regarding the population crisis weren’t the kind of far out dystopian politics I expected, but resembled politics of today, making the book feel more sociopolitical than science fiction. But the population crisis and the perspective of the characters reminded me a lot of the premise of Children of Men, so I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful blend of all these things from the point of view of many characters with what is considered an alternate lifestyle.
I would recommend this book to others because the premise was incredibly intriguing and I think it is also a wonderful conversation starter. I gave this book 3 stars because I felt like I needed Gabriel’s character in the beginning instead of after the middle in order to fully appreciate the story. I also feel like the synopsis left me a bit unprepared for the main focus of the book. The focus on triangular relationships and sexual orientation was higher than the synopsis led me to believe, which didn’t bother me, but left me somewhat unprepared when beginning the book. This book is the first in a trilogy and now that I’m comfortable with the characters and feel like I know them better, I will probably continue the series to find out what happens next.
Buy TRIsocialization on Smashwords
This book completes the category LGBT for the 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge hosted by Book'd Out
Made into a movie New Adult
Published in 2013
Labels: eclectic reader, lgbt, Review