Dyke (Geology)

Publication Date: March 2020


Participating in the 2024 PopSugar reading challenge? Read Dyke (Geology)  for prompt number 39: a fiction book by a trans or nonbinary author.

Through intertwined threads of autofiction, lyric science writing, and the tale of a newly queer Hawaiian volcano, Sabrina Imbler delivers a coming out story on a geological time scale. This is a small book that tackles large, wholly human questions—what it means to live and date under white supremacy, to never know if one is loved or fetishized, how to navigate fierce desires and tectonic heartbreak through the rise and eventual eruption of a first queer love.

“When two galaxies stray too near each other, the attraction between them can be so strong that the galaxies latch on and never let go. Sometimes the pull triggers head-on wrecks between stars—galactic collisions—throwing bodies out of orbit, seamlessly into space. Sometimes the attraction only creates a giant black hole, making something whole into a kind of missing.” In vivid, tensile prose, Dyke (geology) subverts the flat, neutral language of scientific journals to explore what it means to understand the Earth as something queer, volatile, and disruptive.


The history of magnetism on Earth is locked in molten rock, teased out in fiery plumes that burst forth from the mantle. As the fire dies into the hardness of basalt, it preserves the exact magnetic forces working on Earth at the time of its cooling. This is how Kohala learned of the changing of the poles. She felt it in her lava. Each explosion, therefore, is a kind of record of ecstasy: of what felt good, what hurt, what would soon disappear under clouds of ash.

Listen to Sabrina Imbler read from DYKE (GEOLOGY) // Watch the captioned video on the BLP YouTube Channel



Sabrina Imbler’s DYKE (GEOLOGY) is not only gorgeous, it is wildly transformative. It contains sentences that mimic the Earth itself: craggy, pitted, alive. There is so much movement, a momentum that sweeps readers along sentence by sentence. The structures Imbler builds are deeply affecting, deeply moving. The heart of it sits exposed, bare and beating, pulsing and insistent. This writing is very queer, very loving, very painful, very poignant. It is revolutionary work.

—Kristen Arnett, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of MOSTLY DEAD THINGS

You’ll feel every moment of this book, words twisting, colliding, rooting in the body. With a gentle ferocity that builds from the inside out, I was swept by Imbler’s story of navigation, displacement, and the violent marvels of the natural world.


A dazzling work, striking and rich, Imbler’s geology reminds us what it means to be alive.

—Randa Jarrar, award-winning author of A MAP OF HOME and HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI

DYKE (GEOLOGY) holds strata of meaning and feeling veined with anger, horniness, and shame, studded with outcrops of facts and nuggets of nerd jokes. All of this together is what makes the sum of Sabrina Imbler’s ranging, folding, stacking sentences an effortful pleasure to traverse, even when they dig down into pain. Like a lasting mythology, Dyke (geology) offers ways to feel through indirection what it’s hard to know head-on. Like good science, it recognizes the mediated ways that power shapes both knowledge and desire, what we’re able to find and what we want to be true. Like any landscape, it repays attention and doesn’t stop at the surface, but lives in the relationships among history and chemistry, the open air and the hot heart of the Earth.


Imbler queers the history of the world here—a thrilling summer romance set to geological time, unlike any I know, spanning the globe and the history of humanity and the space between two dyke hearts. Play in the waves of this mind and emerge renewed.

—Alexander Chee, author of EDINBURGH, THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, and the essay collection HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL

About the Author

© Rozette Rago

Sabrina Imbler

Sabrina Imbler is a half-Chinese writer and dyke based in Brooklyn. She is a staff writer for Atlas Obscura and the recipient of fellowships from Jack Jones Literary Arts, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and Paragraph NY. Sabrina wrote the monthly “My Life in Sea Creatures” column at Catapult and her essay collection How Far the Light Reaches is forthcoming from Little, Brown in 2021.

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