A guest review by Jenre
In space, no one will hear them moan.
A Men in Space story.
The job was supposed to be an easy one for Captain Kar and his two-man crew: land the Danaus on the deserted moon, appropriate a few boxes of precious chromore, and jump out of the system before the Guardians could get to them. Even Will and Jay’s inability to keep their hands off each other for any length of time should not have been too much of a problem.
They discover too late it’s the laineards’ mating season. The resulting sexual pheromones begin to affect them as soon as they step off the ship. With Will and Jay losing their minds to lust, and Kar himself blinded by visions of the two men he has wanted for months, things suddenly get much harder than expected.
Their only hope for not ending up in jail is to get out of there before the Guardians find them. Except an open loading dock contaminated the air inside the Danaus. And Kar will have to resort to drastic measures to keep Jay and Will apart long enough to escape…
This is the second book that I have read in the new ‘Men in Space’ series at Samhain. Each novella is an individual story, written by different authors, with the only connection between them being that the story has to be set in space, or on another planet. Whilst I enjoyed this book possibly just as much as Beyond Meridian, which I reviewed here yesterday, as a science fiction story Moonlust wasn’t as detailed or involved as that book, hence the slightly lower mark.
If you read the blurb then you’ve pretty much read the whole plot. Tag on several pages of m/m and m/m/m sex and that’s the rest of the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but be prepared for a little bit of plot and a lot of smexing. If you are looking for a science fiction story with new ideas, exciting landscapes and intricate world building, then this story isn’t for you. If you are looking for a fun, sexy read where the science fiction is just a convenient wallpaper background then this book should be right up your street.
The story begins with trader and space ship captain, Kar, meeting up with a buyer for some merchandise. The buyer tells Kar that there’s some highly sought after chromore which has been left unattended on a mining planet whilst the workers take some time off. On a side note, I never really did work out what exactly chromore is, but that didn’t seem to matter – all you need to know is that it’s expensive. Even though Kar is usually a legitimate trader, he can’t resist the lure of the free chromore and so sets off with his small crew to bag some for himself.
The main three characters in this story all seem to fit into a type that is very familiar. The upright Kar is generally bad-tempered and forthright. His bad temper seems to stem from the fact that he has been lusting after his pilot/navigator Jay for a long time, but Jay is happily involved with the other member of the crew, Will. This leads to many scenes where Kar ‘accidentally’ overhears or watches Will and Jay as they kiss and caress each other, or where Will gives Jay a blow job, making Kar even more bad tempered and horny as he hasn’t had sex in a long while. He’s also very annoyed at the lack of respect shown to him by his crew, made worse by his sexual attraction to them. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s going to happen when the men land on the mining planet and discover that the whole planet, and also their ship, is flooded with strong pheromones, leading to a series of very hot sex scenes.
Out of the three men, Jay is the only one who seemed to have anything interesting about his character. He was once a member of ‘The Lodge’, the ruling classes and now spends his time running away from that past. I found it a bit of a shame that this aspect wasn’t developed more fully and it also made me wonder whether there is a sequel planned, as much seemed to be set up about this character which was then left unresolved. The character of Will was undeveloped almost to the point of blandness. His main function in the story seems to be as a sex object for the other two men and even the brief mentions of his old home life and the fact that he lies about his age, didn’t make him any more fleshed out. I couldn’t even work out what his role was on the ship, except perhaps as general grunt to shift stock.
There wasn’t anything unique about the setting or the sci-fi aspects of the book. In fact, apart from a couple of scenes where Jay flies the space ship and the section involving the pheromones, this book could have been set anywhere at any time. It would be easy to substitute the space ship for a boat, the choromore for diamonds or other precious metals, the space captain for a merchant. Even the mining planet looked a lot like Earth and the pheromone producing creatures a bit like bison or buffalo. I was a bit disappointed at the missed opportunities to create something new and interesting, but also recognised that the main focus of the story is the sexual tension and the relationship between the three men, not the world building.
Overall this was a light, fun read and I would recommend it to those readers who are looking for a book with lots of sex, but also a great deal of cheeky humour. Moonlust will also be a good book for those who claim not to like sci-fi as the setting is very familiar and accessible. Those of you who are looking for a serious sci-fi romance with intricate world-building may be a little disappointed.