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Transformations Paperback – November 6, 2008
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Dale was a planetary explorer with Star Corps, home from an extended survey mission and taking a teleport to Earth from the orbital Customs and Immigration station (just like International travel today). Goldfur was in line in front of him, also waiting to teleport to Earth. Goldfur made the trip easily and was about to leave when there was trouble. Dale's mental pattern had arrived, but his physical pattern hadn't. There had been a "problem" and his body pattern was lost. Dale was dead, effectively.
Yet he wasn't. Goldfur had the teleport operator use the previous physical pattern as a base and had Dale's mental pattern integrated into it.
A bit late, Dale arrived...only he was not Dale any more. He was a Chakat, a six limbed felinoid hermaphrodite with a human mental structure for a mind--and no instruction manual.
This story looks into how a human can learn to be other than human. How He can become Shi. How to use six limbs, and most importantly, how to keep hir new TAIL out of automatic doors.
It's funny, sad, and hopeful...and there's a lesson there for us too. The person is the mind, not the body.
Well, a Chakat is about as different as I'd want to be... At least a Chakat has hands and a brain big enough to run my mind. But what if the change was permanent? Could a human mind cope in the long run being in a six-limbed hermaphrodite? Doove thinks so and shows you how.
The story begins with a Transporter accident (sabotage, actually) that leaves a human male, Dale, stuck in a duplicate of the body of a Chakat, Goldfur, who happened to be transporting at the same time. We follow Dale's out-of-body experience from trying to walk without stepping on hir tail to dealing with hir dual sexuality. The story proceeds to its predictable conclusion in a fairly straightforward tale of culture-shock, coping and caring.
Does it say anything really new? No, not really. If you buy the premise that having your software reloaded onto a radically different hardware platform isn't going to make you completely insane, then the idea that "we're all the same inside our skin" isn't going to surprise you any. (Of course, since Chakats are an engineered species, maybe that hardware platform is compatible by design.)
Was it a fun read? Yes. If you're looking for a feel-good story with a SF basis and especially if you're a furry fan you will love this. It's a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Such a heartwarming story, too.