Title: Coming Home Again
Author: Scott Roche
Publisher: Kilt Productions
Release Date: January 22, 2017
Page Count: 51
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Captain Maximillian Blair had always hoped to discover there was life on other planets. His job at one of the government’s most secure research facilities put him in the position to learn the truth, one way or another. When he met a stranger from the stars, he didn’t expect to be charged with discovering the man’s secrets at any cost. Or to fall in love. How deadly would the truth prove to be? And can his love be the world’s salvation or will it be its damnation?
I thought this was a solidly written, middle of the road short story. My issue with short stories is sometimes I don’t know if I should advocate for them to be longer, or enjoy the impact of the simplicity. Which is where I’m at with Coming Home Again – there are aspects I think would have been better expanded upon, and some aspects that benefit from the shortness.
The romance was one that could have been fleshed out – no pun intended and not even referencing a sexual liaison. I was all right with the two men finding mutual attraction: one lonely from years amongst the stars and aliens, one lonely from living to work in a military that still doesn’t accept GLBTQ. What didn’t work for me was the “I love you’s”. It was too soon with not enough emotional ground work established to warrant such declarations.
I did enjoy the alien aspects of Michael Roger’s return – his spaceship, the subtle and not so subtle ways his physiology was altered, and the arm screen, those were kinda cool. However – playing into my longer/shorter conundrum – I would have liked to have seen some sense of wonder, dismay, anger, curiosity from Roger’s about this future Earth he has returned to. Heck, even the room he was in, the choices of beer (would a govt really put beer in a fridge?), the tablet Blair was using should have elicited some kind of reaction that Blair could have commented upon.
The use of the arm computer to facilitate a daring escape also didn’t resonate with me – a bit too clichéd, too easy: “Oh! I’ve got this fantastic technology that can mess with cameras and stun people and we can both escape!”. This part I would have liked expounded upon, the dash to the space ship, Blair’s wonder at the alien technology, a few more shouted words with Blair’s superior before the President shows up.
Which all comes back to, this was a solidly written, middle of the road short story that lightly blended scifi and romance for a pleasant enough read.