Title: Halcyon Hush
Author: Indra Vaughn
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Science fiction, m/m romance
Length: 22 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Guest review by Orion
Review summary: A dark but hopeful story
Halcyon Hush is a harsh town in an even harsher world. The apocalypse left behind a scattering of tough survivors who are finally starting to rebuild their lost civilization.
There is no room for men loving men, not when the population needs to grow. So Doctor Ira Ellis does his duty, lives his life if not quite content, then at least quietly. He has his work, he has his small home. What he doesn’t have is the strength to resist temptation when it comes, in the shape of Doctor Richard McLean.
Halcyon Hush is another short story in Torquere Press’s 2013 Charity Sip Blitz Complete Package. The stories all revolve around, and I again quote from the publisher’s website, “all about all of those who proudly serve and protect all of us!” Indra Vaughn’s tale uses the trope of the post-apocalyptic world as a background to the affection that grows between its two protagonists, Ira Ellis and Richard McLean. I have to admit that I am not a fan of this trope, and it takes a strongly plotted and exceptionally well written story to keep me engaged. I found the writing here to be a bit choppy overall, but the strong characterizations and the plotting certainly pulled me in.
Post-apocalyptic stories, at least for me, tend to be dreary and unexciting, dragging the reader through bleak landscapes full of hopeless, suffering people. That doesn’t exactly make for fun reading. Ira and Richard do indeed inhabit a harsh, dreary world. The living conditions in the town of Halcyon Hush are primitive, with water, electricity and other resources scarce. Poison winds blow. Humanity teeters on the edge of extinction. Under these circumstances, men are expected to father children to repopulate our species, and therefore homosexuality is not something this society can tolerate. It is no wonder that Ira comes across as little more than a zombie in the beginning.
But there is wonderful chemistry between Ira and Richard, and they share some very erotic and touching sex scenes. This story is ultimately uplifting, as it shows how—even under the most desperate and seemingly hopeless situations—there is always the possibility of happiness. There is a lot of hope for these two men at the end, and I found myself wishing for more pages to this little tale. Definitely recommended.