Author: Albert Nothlit
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 150 Pages
Category: Sci-Fi, Action/Thriller
At a Glance: Nothlit is the master of suspense in this science fiction thriller where a young man finds himself on a strange world, in the middle of intrigue and danger.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: In the aftermath of a nasty fight after being jumped by four youths, faced with a mother desperate to get rid of the son she’s ashamed of, Kyle is forced to leave home to take up an apprenticeship he doesn’t want and can’t wait to be finished with.
On another planet.
Upon arrival, though, a nasty surprise awaits. The position he was hired for no longer exists and he’s going to be left standing around until Dr. O’Brien, the man he was to work for, can find him a new job. Following a strange compulsion, Kyle leaves the compound, only to nearly get himself killed out in the alien atmosphere. Kyle is told he’s too reckless to stay and fit only for the mining colonies, where he’ll be little more than a slave.
Distraught but helpless, Kyle counts down the days until his departure. He’s distracted from his misery, however, by the same compulsion that first drove him from the compound, a presence in his mind that seems to be coming from the local lifeform being kept in Dr. O’Brien’s lab….
Review: Technically this is young adult fiction, because Kyle, our protagonist, is eighteen years old, and though it could be considered a Romance by some, if it is, it isn’t an explicit Romance. It’s also queer YA because the main character is gay and dealing with issues about being gay in his culture; albeit, his culture is in the future, with spaceships and aliens. I’d say modern gay issues are explored.
What I liked about this story was that it wasn’t too heavy on the Romance. It had great pacing which created a tantalizing level of suspense, and it had enough romance that I got to play dirty images in my head while I wasn’t reading.
Dr. O’Brien was probably my favorite character. Firstly, he’s dead sexy (or, at least in my head he is). He’s got a bit of the daddy and straight-acting vibe, which is fine, but that’s not what makes him irresistible. He’s not only a complete nerd, but he’s into athletics. He probably never skips leg day. I can’t even tell you how many D&D groups I go to where I’m the only one who does anything even remotely athletic, so when I see an athletic nerd, my heart throbs. I also liked how his character was shrouded in mystery. We see him from Kyle’s point of view, so everything he does and says is a bit baffling at first, and that really turned me on too—I mean, it was really great for character development. Yeah, character development. *clears throat* And when the mysteries of his character are revealed, you are still left with sexy athletic doctor. Hoo boy!
The pacing had me turning the pages, and it didn’t hang onto any mysterious elements for too long that I lost interest. There were layers and depth: suspense over the world, over the sexy doctor (does he like Kyle or not? Are they going to do it?), and then we had the antagonists of the story, of which there are plenty. Pretty much everyone on the planet wants to kill Kyle from the start, which gives him a needy and lonely edge our dear doctor can exploit for his own nefarious reasons. To put it simply, these are exactly the kinds of stories I love to read.
You can buy Tantalus here: