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Monday, November 03, 2008

Book review: The Rylerran Gateway by Mark Ian Kendrick.

Mark Ian Kendrick’s ambitious science fiction epic, split into three sections in a single volume, involves two men who fall in love before embarking on an inter-dimensional adventure. Of the Consortium’s fourteen inhabited planets, only Andakar approaches Earth in wealth and a desire for equality.

After Lieutenant Commander Darreth James-Po and Dr. Naylon Ress, the two young lovers, crash land on another of the so-called “Inhab” planets, they accidentally discover a gateway to another dimension, almost like their own but with a different power struggle. Here, the human race wars with an alien race. Instead of the Consortium, a military force rules.

Kendrick uses his interests in science and language to enrich his world-building with interesting technology and terminology. The glossary in the back of the book explains all of that in brief phrases, and also lists the various characters. I never needed to refer to that glossary, though, because it all becomes clear in context. The other-worldly language adds to an exciting, textured science fiction experience.

While Kendrick stays focused on entertaining his audience with battles and political intrigue, he also shows how easily people can justify injustice, such as discrimination and even slavery. The characters interact in believable yet often unexpected ways.

Ultimately, the romantic relationship between the men Darreth and Naylon provides the glue for the expansive narrative. Even though they only appear together in certain key parts of the novel, these two heroic men pull readers in and will keep them wanting to find out what happens next.

The Rylerran Gateway should entertain anyone who enjoys science fiction, and especially the many readers who share Kendrick’s frustration with the odd lack of gay characters in science fiction. As he explains at his website, he wants to change what he and his partner see as the disappointing lack of gay people depicted in the genre they love.

Visit that website to read more about Mark Ian Kendrick’s writings, which also include Stealing Some Time Volume 1, Stealing Some Time Volume 2, Desert Sons, and Into This World We’re Thrown.

Read more about Science Fiction for Gay Readers.