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Friday, January 14, 2011

Marooned by Sharon Maria Bidwell

Marooned by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (89 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When he's marooned on a strange planet, cosmonaut Vernon Attwater thinks his only problem is one of possibly ending up as reptile poo -- especially when the reptile chasing him looks like something out of an old science fiction movie. Little does he know that the alien who saves his life is about to complicate matters in ways he never imagined… ways that make him sigh, pant, groan and gasp with pleasure. Even so, surely he can control his own yearnings, especially when he's never previously felt such desires, being that the alien may look androgynous but is decidedly male in every way that matters.

Cresszna seems to have other ideas and is rather persistent. It doesn't help that Vern knows he's sending out mixed messages. He keeps saying no even as his body is saying yes, and feels rather shocked by the overwhelming sense of loss when it seems Cresszna is prepared to accept his rejection.

There's no way home and Cresszna is the only intelligent humanoid life-form he's run into. Would life, and sex, with the alien truly be so bad, especially when Vern's experiencing sensations he didn't know he was capable of feeling. Trouble is, there appears to be a price to pay if he wants to be Cresszna's mate -- one that's even more amazing than the strange things he's so far encountered on the planet.

How can a crash landing lead to love in a place where no one can hear you scream, whether from loneliness or fear, and huge reptilian creatures want to eat you? It’s a rocky road fraught with frustration and an amazing exploration into the resiliency of the human condition.

From the sounds of it, Vern, the hero, is a pretty average guy. He comes from a family of achievers and is the only one who sort of fumbles through life. His one big step into proving himself and making his family proud proves to be his last. He discovers a worm hole in space and his life as he knew it is over. Although it does takes awhile for it to finally sink in. Vern has to come to terms with a whole new outlook on life and that internal journey is one of the main conflicts in the story. And it’s huge.

Cresszna is the alien that befriends Vern on the strange planet. Both males are stranded there and as they are the only humanoids around, they end up relying on each other for survival. Staying alive isn’t just about the body however, and the author did a great job of exploring this conundrum; it’s about keeping one’s mind, heart and soul healthy and vibrant as well. Cressna’s quick acceptance of Vern was refuted and rebuffed by Vern for most of the story and I can’t blame Vern. Society and mores on Earth are very clear but what about on other planets and cultures. How might they differ and how might they be expressed? Ms. Bidwell wrote a wonderful story and she did it all from Vern’s point of view. I could only discern Cresszna’s feelings and wants by what Vern himself told me as he discovered every fascinating, scary and confusingly sensual aspect of living with Cresszna.

The gradual seduction was quite hot and yet tender. At times I felt very sad for Cresszna because he really was a sweet character yet he wasn’t a pushover. He knew what he wanted and practically laid siege to Vern’s heart but it took awhile for Vern to figure that out. There is quite a bit of internal angst on Vern’s part because he wants these feelings that he’s starting to have but he feels guilty too. And guilt is a great motivator for all kinds of drama and it is no less so here in Marooned. My only down note is I think the angst slowed down the tale at one point a little too much, but I never lost interest in the story so that’s a good thing.

Marooned is a fascinating sci-fi fantasy romance between a human man and an alien being that might or might not be male. The visual descriptions of the land and its flora and fauna were intriguing and well done and some of the other inhabitants were fun. The best thing I liked about this story is how love really can occur anywhere and with anyone. One of my favorite movies is Enemy Mine and this book reminded me of that wonderful story, but on a deeper and more sensual level then the movie ever dared go. I was entertained and captivated by this wonderful storyline and I thank Ms. Bidwell for an awesome reading experience.

1 comment:

S.M.Bidwell said...

I wanted to thank you for writing such a wonderful review. When I subbed the idea to my publisher, I thought they'd never go for it. So far it's been so well received, it's gone way beyond my expectations. I have wondered if the story could have been helped if I'd written from both the main characters' points of view, but Changeling allowed me to stretch the word limit as far as they allow as it is. Maybe one day, Cresszna will get his say. :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the read.