Eunuch Monks of Krat

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #105, Spring 2004.

Eunuch Monks of Krat

Review by Sam More

The Insatiable Adventures of the Eunuch Monks of Krat. (2002). Tucker Lieberman, XLibris, $14.95.
Do we have to have good sex? Is a violation of privacy really bad, or might it be interpreted as a sign of affection rather than an intrusion? How do we identify with a non-standard body morphology, and how does passing as our preferred gender affect our happiness? There are countless sociological texts and self-help books about these matters, but they are too rarely addressed in fiction?so I was truly pleased when I was sent a novel which promised a transgender theme, rather than the mere inclusion
of a transgendered or gender-nonconforming character.

A science fiction book based on a computer game! If I had read the editor?s review on the back of the book, I might never have touched it. Instead, I happily digested it and found it not unpalatable. Imagine a bunch of eunuchs, enslaved in an imaginary country very much like India, where a blend of castes and third-world villages co-exist with lush tropical forests, computers, and a prince who holds the power of life and death over his servants, including his huge harem.

But soon these forces are reversed and a computer game-playing group of five eunuchs sets out to form a community
of their own in a hut in the forest. Surprisingly, an old stuffed head of a moose comes to life and, via a device disrespectfully dubbed a catheter, enables them to connect to their inner selves and to each other in new ways. This could be boring, but it isn?t: imagine the absurdity of Philip K. Dick?s novels crossed with the humor of Douglas Addams? Hitchhiker?s Guide to the Galaxy.
There are some lags in the action in the last third, which convinced me to abandon the book at three am, but the speed of action is recovered in the last chapters, as I found out when I picked the book up some weeks later.

Other novels have recently put non-standard characters into focus, like Lord Golden in the Tawny Man trilogy
of Robin Hobbs and Shadow Man by Melissa Scott, but Lieberman?s eunuchs are enjoyable and should present food
for thought for FTMs, MTFs and other transgendered folks.