Hot Cargo
by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna, futuristic (2009)
Dreamspinner Press, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-935192-49-7


Welcome to the distant future, folks, where it all begins when a space station goes kaboom most spectacularly. Those folks in charge, the Confederation, blame the space pirates like they blame those guys for everything else. This is how our pirate hero Blaise Raisner gets into trouble with Confederation Admiral Peter Keller. Before poor Blaise knows what he has found himself in, he has been captured by Peter's men and is forced to get down on his knees in front of Peter and... you know.

What is this? A rejected script for a movie from Falcon Studios?

Poor Blaise is soon sentenced to be Peter's personal slave for three years, where Blaine will be forced to endure Peter's brand of "rehabilitation". What follows are plenty of sex scenes that I find more like a descriptions of an urogenital check-up than erotic moments, what with all those fingerings of prostates and "creamy fluid spewing" all over one's body and all. And then, in the late quarter of the story, after a screaming match over who is using whom, those two men undergo a drastic personality change, turning into wounded doe emo dudes prone to crying, screaming, and whining. And then they make up, have sex, and everyone is happy again.

I find it hard to reconcile the very different aspects of this story. One moment it is a pretty hilariously inept attempt at erotica, and then it's a melodramatic love story with characters beating their chests in showy angst. How did we get from point A to B again? If the author has managed to create a smoother transition between the two different moods in the story and show me how the two characters manage to fall in love, this one could have been a better story. Then again, with those cringe-inducing love scenes, probably not so much.

Rating: 58


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