Issac Ozawa is slightly mentally damaged due to a cybernetic implant malfunction. As a result, Issac’s brain experiences the occasional inopportune glitch. For a pilot, this was almost a career breaker. Fortunately he found a carrier ship, Hermes, whose captain would have him, and whose crew is also a bunch of other delightful misfits—but they get the job done.
The Hermes crew encounters a drifting troop vessel, and when they board they discover complete mayhem and bloodshed. Searching the vessel, they find one lone survivor, unscathed physically, except he’s clearly traumatized. They take Turk in, and Issac quickly becomes attached to him. However, the crew comes to regret their choice in saving Turk, when it leads them—and possibly the entire galaxy—into danger.
The world-building was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. Martinez created believable, relatable aliens, and their entire civilizations and cultures. The culture on Turk’s home planet was fascinating, and I supremely enjoyed waiting for Turk’s next obscure ritualistic reference, or his observations on silly human mores. There was an interesting series of scenes where we got to see how two different species were raised from a sort of developmental transition.
The story was enriched with other fascinating technologies, including a tiny reference to a procedure that allowed men to become pregnant. There was a hilarious, “What kind of lube do we use?” moment. (Don’t worry, this isn’t a mpreg—I just notice this kinda thing.) Besides providing wonderful world-building, these examples of strange technology and alien cultures were cleverly used to bring the main characters closer together. I enjoyed the moments between Turk and Issac, and I liked watching them watch each other. They have great respect for one another.
This is a fun gay science fiction read. While there is some sexy time, there are also a lot of important world-building pieces in this work, even in those softer moments.
Angel Martinez has a bazillion books out. You could say that she’s an expert in LGBTQ+ spec fic. And from what I’ve read of her work, you can’t go wrong. Dig into it!
Beth Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. She enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills her life with bent bunk. She especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. Her website is http://www.bethbrockbooks.com. You can find her on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BethBrockBooks.
Dreamspinner Press–Where Dreams Come True… International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
DSP Publications–Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey. http://www.dsppublications.com
Harmony Ink Press–LGBTQ+ Young Adult Fiction. http://www.harmonyinkpress.com