Runt is already wondering if he did the right choice when he signed for being a colonist on Andromeda; there is nothing resembling home in this land and the promised cloned wife didn’t survive the landing. So Runt is not only hungry of food he is also starving from isolation and he would welcome everyone in his little piece of lost paradise… other than a more than 2 meters tall giant. Even if Ox, the giant, is more like an oversized teddy bear than an ogre, nevertheless Runt is not comfortable: in the very faraway chance something more than friendship will blossom between them, Runt has no intention at all to play the submissive role, and with Ox there would be no other option. That would be quite true if not for the fact that I had the feeling Ox is not 100% grown… and no, there is no double meaning in my sentence: Ox is more than grown considering the “exterior”, but he is more or less like a baby on the “interior”. It’s like they shaped him with the body of an assassin to then matching the heart, and mind, of a pacifist; actually in some aspect Ox is more like a puppy than a watchdog, and I was almost expecting for him to turn up his belly for a scratch from Runt. Runt himself gave me the idea of a stray dog, all wiry muscle and guarded attitude, in a way, even if he was smaller than Ox, he was way more dangerous.
The setting was more or less simple: even if there is a sci-fi theme, they are stranded in an isolated land, and the environment is “bared”, without much furnishing. There is a bit of world building, even a little of social criticism, see the reference to the “advertisement” that replaced the old fashioned movie: you no more see movies with ad breaks, you see a continuous ad that is the movie itself.
The sex is good but arrives almost at the end, so that the reason why I hope the author is planning the following instalment in the series always with Runt and Ox as main heroes, I don’t feel like they had a closure for their story, above all Ox. There is still more to explain and even more for them to try, both in than out of the bed. And then it would be interesting to know how they will solve the “genetic” issue of not being able to procreate between the two of them.
Amazon Kindle: Grown Men
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (October 27, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
Cover Art by Roberto Quintero