A guest review by Sirius
Summary: An excellent scifi where the protagonist just happens to be gay.
On the tiny, frozen world of Frostbite, Rogan Tyso is the Mailperson, responsible for the communications array that keeps his home in contact with the other human Refuges scattered across known space. It has been a century since the Cluster–the great union of Earth-like colonies–fell to an alien race known only as the Flense, and human civilization has been reduced to an afterthought. Rogan’s correspondence with Nathe Mylan, a man thousands of light years away, offers him both the possibility of a love he has never found, and a chance to work on a project that may help humanity escape the influence of the Flense for good
The theme of alien invasion on Earth and humanity dealing with it is of course not a new theme in the scifi genre, but I really loved the execution of this theme in this book .
The invaders in this story drove the remaining human Refuges to the worlds with very hard living conditions and as long as they stick to those worlds, the invaders do not care to chase them to kill them. At first such behavior felt strange to me and I thought that the author was making it a tad too easy for his characters. I mean, after you killed hundreds of thousands (or whatever exact number) it was people when you were invading their planets, would you really want to let anybody get away and then plan revenge? But the more I read about the horrible conditions the remaining humanity was forced to survive in, the less I thought that the author was making anything too easy :). After all, the names of some of the planets the refuges settled on (besides the Frostbite) are Hellhole, Dust, and Flood, and that should give you some idea as to where they live and survive.
But of course it rang very true to me that human beings can adapt, survive and even to a degree thrive in a lot of circumstances and this is what was happening in this book. And some people still want to try and come up with the solution which will make it eventually possible to fight the Alien race, no matter how tedious the preparation could be.
As the blurb tells you Rogan is given a chance to work on such a project and probably find love, but he has to get to Nathe first, which is not an easy task. Please note, while love is definitely an important reason why Rogan decides to take this journey, it is absolutely not a romance. If I were to invoke a familiar title from popular culture, I would probably call it “Star trek”, only in a sense of journeying to the unknown on the space ship.
I thought that the writing was very good. The writer portrayed such vivid pictures of living on those planets with horrible living conditions that I still feel that I can see it very clearly in my mind. The story is hardcore enough scifi (the way I understand the definition anyway); it is not a space opera, and if I were trying hard to imagine the problems some readers may have, at most I would say that I can see that some (not me!) may find it a little boring. There is of course a sense of everyday hardship and very realistic potential danger during their everyday living and during the main character’s journey on the space ship, but they do not have actions scenes in this story, even when closer to the end I thought there would be such possibility and I guess if you stretch it, you could call it an action scene of the sort. I especially can see the “boring” potential in the first 30% or so of the story, but to me it established who Rogan was very well and showed what he was giving up to start chasing his dream and hopefully finding his love.
Please note that one of the axioms of Rogan’s culture is that “sexing does not necessarily and does not always equal love”. In his world from what I understood having sex is basically same as needing a hug and is done without any formalities whatsoever. To me that made perfect sense even just because of the fact that he grew up in such cold and those people just may need the warmth of physical contact very often, but if it bothers you, stay away. There are no explicit sex scenes in the story and nothing of the casual “sexing” is shown at all. Actually one time was debatable (how casual it was), but as far as I remember, I only saw two not very explicit sex scenes there and one was at the very end of the book. Actually, if I could nit pick about the language, to constantly hear main character saying “we sexed with him” instead of “having sex” was kind of wierd, even though I understand that the author may have wanted to make it one of the signs of how their customs and use of language differs from ours.
I really loved that this book has several strong women characters. I know this should be the norm, but since I do not get this too often in the mm genre, I feel this deserves a special nod when it happens, even if this book does not belong to the mm genre.
I loved this book. I really wish more and more books like this would appear, where the main character is attracted to men, but his struggles over his sexuality is not the focus of the book. The characters in this book never ever care as to who falls in love with whom, who sleeps with whom, of course they have that business of saving their world looming over their heads, but I would thought that if the discrimination was present, it would have been shown somehow.
I want more 🙂