by Mima, futuristic (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-60504-225-0
Future Found is proof that the Cataclysm doesn't just happen on Krynn. Sorry, that's a Dragonlance reference - you may not get that if you aren't familiar with that setting.
This one is set in the distant future and feature a bunch of druid-like folks called the Tree Singers. Just imagine the King's Singers going "You are the new day! New da-aaaaay!" to some poor wee saplings struggling to thrive. Our heroine Shay, who is a Tree Singer, can, er, sing to trees and make them grow strong and healthy. With trees being so rare in that time, Shay feels that her abilities come with great responsibilities. Our hero Sandor is a "cybernetic elite" - I'm still not sure what they actually are, having been told rather vaguely that they are some kind of half-men, half-machines. What I really know is that Sand is creepy. It's Shay's fault, in a way, when she signs a contract with him without reading it in her haste to save an oak tree that he claims to have in his compound. The contract states pretty much that he will get to initiate "physical contact" with her for 24 hours and he will only show her the oak tree after he has, er, shown her his other oak tree. And get her to play with some other people too.
In the end it's love so I guess the whole blackmail and deception method is supposed to be okay? Oh, Sand claims that he also has greater motives other than sex to pull that stunt on Shay, but given that they are both on the same side, the whole set-up feels like a tired contrivance to initiate the sexual li-da-di in this story. I can't really get over that forced set-up to enjoy the erotic excesses present in the story, I'm afraid. What makes this story disappointing is that the setting is interesting and the concept of Tree Singers presented here is actually more intriguing than comical. Alas, all that detailed world building is wasted in a story that turns out to be more about the sex and some superficial "Yeah, we're in love - don't you dare accuse us of putting on a smut show for you!" yammering.
Perhaps this story would have been better if love is kept to the background and there is no attempt to present a plot - just drop the pretensions and have everyone go boom and bang in a happy orgy, in other words.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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