An Update, Public Libraries and April Daniels’ Dreadnought: Nemesis

Hey, if you only interested in my take on Dreadnought: Nemesis skip down to the second break, thoughts start there.

I ain’t put nothing up in like almost a month. I’m sorry. I get it, it feels like such a disappointment to me, if no one else. Nobody reads this fucking thing, and so I just stopped. It’s all too easy and I hate myself for the work I’m not doing, I don’t understand how for the past month all my days have been so empty.

I spoke to some people and they say it’s burnout. Really, it feels like all of me has been placed in receivership, everything is not my own anymore, I don’t know how to bring it back.

I’ve been watching films still, I got shit to say. I’ve wanted to write about  how the marketing of The Ritual was mostly actual garbage and how the film managed to quite beautifully articulate this concept of a modernised artificial capitalistic guilt framework against the flicks agrarian setting.

Also about the new Tomas Alfredson joint, The Snowman, and describing the myriad ways it don’t make sense, or plain fails. Basically, it’s a pile of garbage and I just wanted to dig down into why. But not really, I just wanted to pinprick every point it got wrong. Thing is, y’all look at a still, nothing is going to seem amiss, it just the baffling way they all put together.

Anyway, it gonna be too long and messy for me to dig into now (Imma always hit the theatre for an Alfredson movie though, you better believe). Whatever, I’ve sat down at my computer, opened up a new file like every day since I saw these about a week ago. I just can’t, there’s something stopped inside me.

Not to say I been doing nothing. we’re into the home stretch on a film I be directing. I started up a new short film screenplay (not sure who be willing to collaborate though due to its hyperactive queerness, but y’all know). Got myself involved in directing a play, exciting. And sent a lot of time fiddling and composing on piano.

I see those memes and quotes and images shared by people I follow on twitter. They all say that you ain’t defined by what you be putting into the world. You’re worth as a human being is immutable, I imagine it’s some deficiency that I unable to believe it. I feel so weak all the time.

Which is the extended way of saying that I ain’t gonna be your flicks gal for a while. At least, not when i don’t feel up to it. I’ll just be turning this into the one thing I hoped it would never be, a personal blog. This country ain’t so good at managing it’s populations mental health.

If Chris Kraus can publish I Love Dick in ’97 to critical acclaim, then why should I, spilling myself loud and passionate over my timeline, my feed, my blog, my whatever; feel any less self conscious. Also I live in hope that some of my family might one day click on the links I send, it’d be far less awkward than having the conversation face to face.

Whatever, now I’m gonna talk about trans identity, reading, and April Daniels Nemesis Series (or Dreadnaught series, I ain’t 100% on that).

So when I was growing up, the small library in my town had its young adult shelves neighbouring the Sci-fi/Fantasy shelves. yes, the two were mixed. Comics were on the other side of them, manga was relegated to one of those free standing rotating book trees.

When I’d get older there would be a queer literature section acting as a buffer between the YA and SF sections. Crime got its own bookcase, Romance novels were to be found in identically bound blue covers with overly descriptive titles. All of these were separated from the grand lit fic section by the DVD racks.

Non-fiction was all held upstairs. I never held much interest in that floor when I was young, the world didn’t make sense and there was too much up there to start. Conspiracy theories exist at the beginning of the Dewey Decimal system, once you stroll past them into philosophy things get a lot less exciting.

Sorry, this wan’t supposed to be about my library as I remember it, I just remember it well. the important thing to take is that the YA and SF/F shelves blended onto one another, and unlike our school library kids weren’t banned from withdrawing the adult selections.

Keep a clean mind now, i never borrowed erotica. Only somethings more developmental.

I remember there was this sci-fi novel once. I don’t remember the name or the author (they were probably male though). I remember just about everything that happened in that book. I remember the opening two chapters  as clear as I did that first time I read them.

It was built off that old ethical teleportation problem. The one where the teleported version is a clone of the original who dies at the moment of transfer. Except in this future universe people apparently accept that unproblematically. They save previous versions of themselves to grant eternal life, they modify their appearance while transplanting the same brain.

See what I’m getting at? Early on in this book, the lead is abducted against their will. They materialise in a chamber somewhere unknown, they identify as male but now find themselves in a female body. There’s about two pages dedicated to them realising and exploring this transformation, it’s probably pretty exploitative (though to note, this future society is pretty genderfluid and it’s revealed later that the character has lost memories of years of their past spent in both male, female and intersex bodies.)

I’ll not bore you with how the story progresses from there, all the impact was held in those two chapters. I don’t think I can properly express how compelling that shit be to a young trans gal, especially operating with a narrative at the edge of their reading (and intellectual) comprehension.

I thrust this  book into the hand of my twin like the moment I was done reading it. He returned it pretty quick. I think my fanatical enthusiasm probably weirded him out.

There was one other book I found at that library with similar content. A fantasy this time, again I’ve no name and no author stored. probably for their benefit this time. In this one it was a side character who was made to be a woman. Looking back upon it the book was fucking misogynistic, transphobic trash. The author seemed to take delight in finding new ways for their characters to be debased and abused. Guess which one they singled out?

I think I cried a lot reading that one. It was worse because I knew I was supposed to be laughing. I kept going until this unpleasant end though because fuck, seriously, I was ready to accept anything just to feel seen.

Later I’d find vast databases of fetish erotica online. They were useful, but in a different sorta way. I’m tempted to insert some sorta lewd emoticon here but I won’t.

Finally the I guess I get onto April Daniels Dreadnaught Nemesis. I just read this book and i just about be in tears the whole way through.

Basic summary, it about a young trans girl who unexpectedly acquires superhuman abilities. One side affect of those abilities, her body takes on a form that she desires. Antics ensue.

It’s like nothing I ever read, it’s like nothing i ever seen, it’s like nothing else. Here is a YA novel, one i would never have to feel ashamed sneaking off the shelves novel that says: not only is your existence allowed, it is literally a superpower.

It ain’t a curse or like a trick or unwanted. With the force of the universe at your back it is enough to become who you want to be. And when that happens you don’t have to be a victim but the power granted to you by accepting yourself is enough to overcome everything life throws at you.

Sure, this comes in waves of supervillains and explosions and the crashing plane that gotta be saved. But it also arrives in the form of parental abuse, social ostracism, and the contradictory whims of the powers that be.

Cos it makes it clear, she would not have gotten her power were she not trans, she wouldn’t have gotten her body were she not trans. It’s validation in the most cosmic sense, the same way that I know truth externalised for all to see.

Yet, even then some of the characters in this book don’t recognise that. So we get again to see the pain that public invalidation brings. The book ain’t scared to look into the face of that hurt because it gives trans people power. Physically and rhetorically.

Growing up I never read a book that gave me that.

At least I can now.

One response to “An Update, Public Libraries and April Daniels’ Dreadnought: Nemesis”

  1. Wow, I want to read the April Daniels book. For a start.


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