Title: Collateral Damage
Author: KS Augustin
Genre: science fiction romance
Publisher: Sandal Press
Available: Amazon $0.00 (Kindle)
Rating: 4 stars
No good deed ever goes unpunished.
Meyal Lit has been alone on an orbital for the past six months, analysing the remote planet of Falcin V. It’s a lonely job but, if it means financial security for herself and her family, Meyal is happy to grit her teeth and do it. That is, until a rival exo-geologist on a station on the opposite side of the planet contacts her.
Even though they work for competing companies, loneliness drives Meyal and Waryd together. In between work shifts, they indulge in small talk and chat-sex, knowing nothing can come from their liaison. Then Meyal gets confidential news that could change the entire way she and Waryd operate. If she does nothing, Waryd dies; on the other hand, if she saves her rival, she can kiss her dreams of financial independence goodbye.
What’s a smart, introverted geologist to do?
What I liked.
Good characters, though perhaps Waryd wasn't as rounded out as Meyal - probably down to the length of the story and being told mostly from her POV rather than half and half. Good tension, with some action/adventure, which I didn't expect from the blurb and setting. I thought this would be more psychological than action (and that aspect of it, the whole dealing with long term isolation in space was well done), so that really added to it and kept it interesting. Nice world building. I'd love to see more set in this universe, and with these characters.
What I didn't like.
After some nice tension throughout the story, I felt this really dropped off at the end. I'd really like to see this as the opening of a novella/novel - as a short it felt somewhat unfinished. Or perhaps as the first of a series/serial. The opening *no spoilers* made me wonder if the whole story would be nothing but the sexual fantasies of a solitary woman in space - very pleased that wasn't the whole of it.
Enjoyable and interesting short with good tension, but somewhat let down by the ending. A quick read for those with limited reading time with a decent blend of tech, characters, action, and a thought-provoking setting.