In Flux, Edited by Rechan – Book Review by Summercat
by Pup Matthias
In Flux, from Furplanet and edited by Rechan, is an adults-only story anthology with four stories that feature transformation, which is, ahem, a personal favorite of mine. Yet despite two of the stories featuring kinks of mine, that are rarely touched upon, I find myself hesitant to recommend the anthology to the general transformation fetishist audience because I feel it may miss the mark.
This is not a knock on the technical writing skills of the four authors. Each story is well written and clear in their descriptions. The authors know their craft well and it shows. However, in terms of making subject matter for their audience, I can’t help but feel the anthology is lacking.
In Flux contains four stories.
Aesop’s Universe: Savages In Space, by Bill Kieffer, is a science fiction story involving a colony ship on its way to a new world that will be colonized, in part, by a tribal society of lions who are well aware of their technological setting. Huntress Thandiwe is horribly injured while hunting due to the ship becoming damaged from an accident, and her body becomes regenerated using her genes and DNA. This results in a fix to her eyes, but also an androgyn issue that went unnoticed, turning her male. This threatens to complicate issues with her Crewman boyfriend, the lion Bobby.
I love this story. Female to Male is something I enjoy, but more than that, the story goes into how the Thandiwe handles her new body and the changes, set in a backdrop of a major problem with the ship that she helps Bobby with. The story has a satisfactory, for me, ending, and manages character growth in the short few pages it has. The transformation itself isn’t described as much, but there is a video timelapse the character watches.
Wild Dog, by Franklin Leo, is a first person modern day story told from the perspective of Riley, an African Wild Dog. Shifting in this universe is common apparently, as any anthro can infect another anthro with their species. This serves as the center of the drama with his relationship with the dalmation Samantha when she nips him.
I did not like this story. The opening was promising, but the outcome when Riley confronts Samantha about the change being forced on him when he has tried to be courteous about not changing her just upsets me, and the ending feels like an out of character action for both Riley and Samantha. While transformation was at the core of the story, the actual transformation was minimal in description as it served as a plot device for the conflict.
Good Boy, by Friday Donnely. Good Boy is a first person story, a standard plot in transformation media of a revenge transformation. In this case, the speaker, a BDSM submissive, cheated on his boyfriend John while drunk at a party when a very dominant type ordered him around. The transformation to feral is fairly quick, including loss of comprehension and devolution, but what surprised me is how things proceed.
Maybe it’s a BDSM thing. I’m not into that scene. Good Boy is standard transformation fare that doesn’t in particular appeal to me, but I don’t quite dislike it either. Aside from the ending.
Never Lick a PCV Vixen, by Karl ‘Voice’ Hoch, is probably my clear favorite in this anthology. Another first person story, set in modern Japan, it follows tanuki Kaiya after she misses her American girlfriend’s desire to be dominated. It helped me identify with Kaiya because I missed it too. After relating the experience with her gay vulpine friend Seiichi, he takes her shopping where she buys the titular PCV Vixen figurine, and after fantasizing about her time with the character, accidentally summons a trapped male demon into her body, who decides to change it to better suit his needs – and what better mortal to practice on after years of being trapped than Seiichi?
This story touched a lot of my buttons as a TF fetishist, but also managed to do what I love to see in published works – be more than fap fiction by having a plot and character development. The interplay between characters, cultures, and wills was fun to read, as was Kaiyra’s reaction during the scene where she banished the demon. This was a clear favorite of mine.
In the end? If you like the stories I described, buy In-Flux. Female to Male stories are hard to come by, and Never Lick and Savages in Space are worth the cover cost in my mind. But…
If you are into detailed transformation, Male/Female relations, have a thing for embraced and desired transformations, I don’t feel I can recommend In Flux. These are not the stories I would have chosen for a printed anthology – as much as I love Never Lick and Savages, I wouldn’t have put them in as a quarter of the stories in the anthology, and by page count comprise of vast majority of the book at about 90 pages of the 125 page book.
It feels bad to say this of the anthology, both as a writer and a reader of transformation fiction. I want transformation anthologies like this to succeed, not just so I can submit my own stories eventually but also so I can read them.
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