Author: A.L. Bates
Genre: Science Fiction, Gay Romance, Gay SciFi
Length: Long Novella
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.
Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.
But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.
With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?
Mia came to collect David and show him to one of the empty sleeping quarters. If she suspected anything was going on, she didn’t show it. Sean exhaled loudly once he was alone. He needed to get some air, which wasn’t going to happen this deep. Of all the people they could have dug up from his past, David was the worst. He knew everything about Sean, every sordid detail. What would the crew think? What would the captain think?
“Hey, Doc.” Think of the devil.
Sean tried to compose himself. “Captain, is everything okay?” He gulped, and he was sure the captain noticed.
“Just wondering if there is anything I should know about our guest.”
“Eh, no, he’s perfectly well. No disease, no signs of any contamination. He has a clean bill of health.”
Joel folded his arms, his body filling the doorway. There was no escape. “Anything else you want to tell me?”
Sean swallowed. He knows. “I, eh….”
“You know him.” Joel stated it matter-of-factly, which meant he wanted more.
“Yes,” Sean confessed. That bit was easy; explaining how was harder. “From Earth. He’s an old friend. I’m very surprised to see him here. This isn’t the type of place a man like him would find himself.”
“Could say the same about you.” Joel stepped forward. He’d recently showered, and his hair was still wet.
Sean found himself distracted by the droplets of water running down Joel’s neck.
I have to say I enjoyed this story, but as a Sci-Fi aficionado, I do have a few issues with the core of the world building. Firstly, Titan is the sixth moon of Saturn, not Jupiter. It does have free forming liquid on the surface, but on Titan, the liquid is methane not H2O, which would complicate things in terms of mining. The author might have been better off inventing another planet in a different solar system.
I also had a little issue with the author’s using the term shark. It might have been shark-like, but I doubt anything akin to a shark could survive in liquid methane. I would have been more comfortable if she used the term shark-like and named it something else.
Okay, before anyone starts accusing me of trashing the story, let’s get onto the more important part. This is a romance after all.
If we disregard the issues for a moment, I must say that I found the character building and the actual story itself to be quite entertaining and believable. The class differences between the Earthers and the Titanites were interesting. I enjoyed the dynamic between, Sean, the doctor, and Joel, the captain of the ship.
The scenes between Sean and David, the ruthless antagonist were also fascinating.
The best part for me was comparing the dynamics. Sean’s past caught up with him with he met David again. David took advantage of Sean, by using, dominating and degraded him. The relationship between Sean and Joel could be seen as dominant/submissive as well, but the authors proved she got it.
The culminating love scene between Sean and Joel starts off with a discussion as to who would bottom, and Joel stating that he didn’t want Sean to submit to him. Sean’s response was brilliant. “I won’t be submitting at all.”
This sentence alone proves to me that the author gets it. The positions two men take in bed does not determine who submits and who doesn’t. The person being penetrated can, and often is, the one is control. Not many authors clue into that. It was very refreshing.
All in all a good read. I look forward to reading many more stories by A.I. Bates.
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About the author
A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.
A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates