Review - "Grown Men (HardCell)" by Damon Suede
Interesting New World, Fascinating Characters
Runnan (Runt) is a terraformer - sharecropper/indentured servant/corporate slave to a galactic mega-corporation that transforms uninhabitable planets into new frontiers. In exchange for his 7+ year commitment, Runt will spend his life hammering out an existence while assisting the newly formed planet into growth. At his side, his cloned mate...only she didn't make it to the planet alive, and the corporation has left him alone to struggle.
When Runt's supply shipment lands unexpectedly, he is surprised to find loads of food, crops, and...Ox.
Ox if a giant - muscle bound, mute, and obviously a force to be reckoned with. Is he a silent killer, sent to downsize Runt, or is he running from something? The genetic manipulation of his masculine pheromones may drive Runt crazy. Alone and lonely, will they turn to each other as more than friends?
Mr. Suede has crafted the beginnings of something very intriguing here. His universe in making has a lot of potential. However, this brief tale leaves too much unanswered to be fully satisfying. It is obvious that Ox ha a huge backstory, but very little of it is touched on in more than passing. And to fit into the m/m genre, the intimacy that the two characters share is sweet, but the sex, honestly, left me high and dry. The physical differences aside, the over-the-top description of Ox and the obvious limitations that the two will have left me struggling.
I like this tale as a start, but I think it should have been fleshed out more fully. It seems almost more a novella than a well thought out stand alone piece, and while I liked it a lot - Mr. Suede has a real ear for dialogue (one-sided as it may be) and a gift for tone and subtlety - there just wasn't enough meat on the bones of this tale.
Read it, and let's keep our eyes open and hopes up for more from this strange new world.