Genre: Gay Urban Speculative Fiction Romance
This is a series of five separately sold novellas by five different authors, but they all center around one theme: What if a meteor struck on Earth, big enough to be a total planetary event? Each author takes a different approach, but most fall under the umbrella of extraterrestrial life coming to Earth, and two dudes getting together because of it. There are exceptions. I’d like to apologize to the authors in advance if I spell any of the characters’ names wrong (I hate all of you except for Ethan–joking), and thank you for your understanding.
Angel & Griff by Ethan Stone
Most of the stories start out with some tale of woe from the main protagonist’s point of view. In this case, both our protagonists have lost someone very dear to them. Through hardship, they are brought together, and through loyalty and compatibility they fight to stay together, and this story–that started out so sadly–wound up being basically a sweet M/M wing fic. If you love a cute romance with a guy with wings, this book is totally for you. It’s also very sexy.
Jakob & Ivo by Mario Lipinski
This was an interesting story, in that it was part suspenseful, part sexy, and not exactly a Romance. I was engaged in the beginning, with the hospital set up and how the two employees were mooning after each other, but I have to admit, I got a bit lost in the plot once they entered the quarantine zone. I felt the story was a good addition to the series, because it gave another point of view to the entire meteor strikes on Earth, and fallout of the collisions, that seems to be the main theme of the series.
Nick & Meichol & Corin by Mychael Black
I really enjoyed the characters for this one, and the plot. I also liked how there were different kinds of aliens, and you got the idea that post-apocalyptic Earth was incorporating a lot of new beings into the family. In the beginning it gave me a bit of a zombie apocalypse story feel (but with aliens), like The Walking Dead, with how dark it was and the level of devastation, but toward the end it became a hot little M/M/M. My only critique would be how the ending contrasted highly with the beginning. I enjoyed how the majority of the book was gritty and suspenseful.
Serge & Een by Angel Martinez
Martinez rocks the world-building–that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. And somehow she managed to make photosynthetic reproduction sexy. Don’t ask me how she did it, but she did it. Knowing her, I doubt she set out to do that exactly, but what can you do when you have the gift? I particularly loved the characterization of Serge. He kinda reminded me of those guys I know who live off the grid and refuse to have a phone number, etc, but there were little touches that made him unique: his heartbreak, and his love of music. I don’t usually pick favorites in an anthology, but this one has stuck with me. However, if you don’t like your aliens to be… alien, you may want to skip it (I’m a bit weird alien fanatic). But if you love aliens and science fiction, you’re going to go bananas for this one, and hopefully bananas for Martinez.
Herc & Pyotr by Atom Yang
The win for this story was the characterizations. I felt like I knew these guys after the story was done. I love how the protagonists were older (I wish I read more stories like that) and for fictional characters they had just as many quirks as any real flesh-and-blood being. It made me wonder if Yang knows people like this. I also liked the cultural details for both Russia and China. I haven’t been to either of those countries, but I felt as if I were holding a small piece of them in my hand, by looking through the eyes of Herc. While there was some sexual content in this story, and even though the theme was apocalyptic, the feel was highly silly at times with the fantastic humor and eccentricities.
Link to series on MLR Press: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowSeries.php?_STORM7
B. A. Brock is a reviewer for DSP and QSF. He enjoys reading, writing, running, family and food, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.