8 Ways How Gideon the Ninth Messed Up My Brain—And I Said ‘Thanks’

#1 It made me drool over a training montage—in a book. Anything I wrote about it would not end up honouring the scenes enough, so—trust me on this. (So. Hot.)

#2 It made me seek comfort in a puddle of utter reader destruction right afterwards. I had to cuddle to get better after I read the first book, and it helped only infinitesimally.

#3 It made for awesome bonding stuff with my partner, all over again. Alright, alright, I know—if you’re not sure your partner is your person, what are you doing with them, anyway? But I’ve loved these past few days, where I got to go through a thing that wrecked my partner ages ago, and I got to go through it for the first time, and I got to share my reactions, basically in real time, with someone who has already died and gone to heaven with these books. And now I can finally go back to read all those memes I saw her sharing all over the place, which I had to avoid in case I did end up reading the books after all.

(I cannot believe that there ever was a time where I thought I wouldn’t. Lesbian space jock wasn’t enough, alas. Lesbian jock obsessed with honour… helped.)

#4 It destroyed my ability to function for a whole week. (Okay, that’s with the sequel, Harrow the Ninth, added to the mix.) I kept up the pretense about four days in—it’s the slowest pace I’d ever gone with a book, because you seriously need to savour this shit, so you don’t miss yet another pun or heart-wrecking moment—and then there was that night my cat went berserk at 4AM, which woke me up, and since I was already awake, I could’ve as well read. I lost count of how many hours I read a day, with both Gideon and the sequel. It was lucky I had to go out of the house for work this week because… I don’t even want to know how my back and neck would’ve reacted if I hadn’t.

#5 It made me use a dictionary whilst reading for the first time since I tried yaoi manga in German back in the 2010s. Luckily, it coincided with the acquisition of a brand new e-reader—the first in my whole life!—with a glorious built-in dictionary, so it wasn’t all that hard to do. These books are not beginner level—not even if you’re a native speaker, I’d reckon.

#6 It made me go offline for almost a week. I stuffed my cellphone in my work bag and my tablet in a drawer back home and I ignored there ever was a world outside of Gideon’s. #noregrets (It was the first time this has happened to me in years, since I used to read on my tablet for quite a while, with wireless on. This was amazing.)

#7 It made me create a new ranking system for gay. As in, how gay is it, from zero to Gideon the Ninth? (As an example, the Machineries of Empire series would be a Gideon minus 1, and obligatory reading in Croatian schools would be a zero.) It’s the gayest (okay, most lesbionic) book I’ve ever had the privilege of reading, and I read Hazard & Somerset for breakfast.

#8 It absolutely fucked me up for all characters before her and, probably, quite a few afterwards. I love Gideon Nav more than I love Ammar ibn Khairan. There. I’ve said it. My teenage self is rolling in her grave, but my adult self has intermittent stars and hearts in her eyes, so it’s okay.

It’s gonna be okay. Eventually.

At least I fucking hope so.


As she read this, my partner asked me about ranking my own stuff on the Gideon scale—most notably, my lesbionic doppelgänger mystery Johnny’s Girls—and I have to admit it’s not nearly as high as one might think. (Yes, Gideon the Ninth is THAT GAY.) I think I’d give it a solid Gideon minus 5, but please—if you read it, I’d love to know where you’d rank it!

Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash.