by Sara Rustan, futuristic (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-890-9
Let's see, we're in this place called Dragnath. Our heroine Janeth Dewellin knows that she shouldn't be on this rather seedy colony, but she's looking for twin brother who is MIA. At the same time, she realizes that she has somehow entered her people's mating phase way ahead of schedule so she also needs a mate fast. Our hero, Tommelin K'Restan, pretty much stumbles upon her telepathic mating signal and before he knows it, he's tagging along with her as she tries to locate her brother.
The above is just the bare skeleton of the story. I've deliberately left out the jargons and the fancy phrases the author used to describe what is an otherwise clichéd "Oh no, I need a mate, like, now!" scenario. After all, this is a short story and if I tell everything, there's nothing else for the reader to discover on her own, eh?
Perhaps as you can already predict, the length of Call And Response works considerably against it. This is actually a well-written, well-paced, and interesting story. Despite the bombardment of jargons and phrases from page one, the story makes it surprisingly easy for me to deduce what these fancy words mean, so I can understand the story fine. The romance happens way too fast to be convincing, but under the circumstances, what Janeth and Tom have is interesting, especially as our two very different people try to get used to each other.
The resolution to the missing brother case is pretty anticlimatic though.
Call And Response is a pretty interesting and pleasantly readable story, but it's a bite-sized story that barely whets my appetite. The setting is interesting, the empaths with their telepathic sing-song thing makes an unusual twist to the usual mate-mate-mate premise, and the characters are likable. But because this is a short story, it's over before I know it.
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