Molly Janson is busy planning the winter party on Honora Station, but when she meets Tav, a sexy Detyen ship captain, sparks fly and all of her plans are thrown off balance. They'll have to work together to make winter on Honora Station a reality, even as someone on the ship seems determined to ruin the new holiday.
4.5 stars. A cute midwinter’s tale out in the vastness of space.
4.5 stars. A cute midwinter's tale out in the vastness of space.
This longish short story (no, not quite a novella but close) is a good read when you need something different yet short and spry. It's about a female Earther who finds herself the party planner of the spaceways when you want something with a Humanish bent to it. Molly accepts a contract for a winter party on the Honora space station's inaugural winter party, one she plans to be a show stopper if it weren't for a thief stealing much needed bits and pieces. And when her staff is extremely temporary, she finds herself constantly looking for more helpers and constantly worrying that her reputation is on the line for biting off more than she could chew.
Enter Tav of Detya, a member of a dying race as its males die at the age of thirty years if they go without finding their mates. The chemistry between Molly and Tav explodes, leaving neither not cognizant that there's something special between the two. Oh, Tav knows the significance of their recognition though he knows it'll take Molly a bit to process this primal connection as Humans don't react well to the physical signs of a true and proper Detyen mating. But by the end of the book (and the end of the First Annual Honora Winter Party), Molly (and Tav) come to terms with this unique connection.
This is a lovely little piece based on the instalove story template. I'm pleased we're not seeing the usual angst that usually perpetuates this particular story line because it is way overdone. At least Molly realizes and acts on her emotional connection with Tav even before she truly understands the entire nature of the Detyen mate bond. That's fine with me. There's a lot of more explore than just agonize over the usual usual which bores me to tears.
For a short story, there's a surprisingly serious amount of world-building without sounding like you're back in school. Character development is quite good as I have a decent picture in my head who Molly and Tav are. But what impressed me the most that almost brought me to tears is that for once, I found a writer who knew how to deal with the third person of unknown sex singular. In the English language, we don't have anything like that. This is the sentence that got me: “A person had to learn to be adventurous if she wanted to live away from her own planet.” Yay!!!! None of this "they". Since the person in particular is female, then the use the female pronoun was acceptable. That so totally blew me away. I've been arguing that you can't use a plural third person pronoun when we're dealing with third person singular of unknown sex. We really need to fix this and create a better word, but I am convinced we can use what we have and make it work.
Enough of my little platform statement.
I found this book to be quite entertaining, especially when I had only just enough time for something short and sweet but also satisfactory. I wasn't in the mood for something with a cliffhanger or something that wasn't fully developed. For once, i found a great short story that was well-composed. (There were still a few errors that could had been banged out. It should had had at least two read-throughs.) I think The Alien's Winter Gift will go on my yearly Winter Solstice reading list, very much like watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a requirement to make the Yuletide official.