In this early series of stories by Hogarth (aka haikujaguar
), we explore the universe through the eyes of the Pelted, genetically engineered "furry" slaves who eventually fled their human creators and spread throughout the stars, forming a thriving federation and leaving Earth to fall behind them.
"A Distant Sun"Summary:
Kellen Grove is the new Pelted teacher at Silvergate Academy, a private school where he teaches both Pelted and humans the harsh history of the Pelted's myriad of races. Unfortunately that history becomes personal when he's confronted by the collapse of a student and has to face the fact that some pieces of history cannot
be gotten over.Review:
A nice moody piece that points out the problems inherent in genetically "improving" on Humanity, which is that a lot of your work is going to be flawed in ways that won't be understood several generations down the line, and that your creations are going to have ot live with your mistakes, both physically and emotionally.
Commander Taylitha Basil, seen earlier as a newly minted ensign in Hogarth's Second
, is now a ship's commander delivering supplies to a distant monitor outpost, where she meets the human station commander and an enjoys with him a mutual love of good food and very esoteric fencing styles. Unfortunately she finds herself confronted by her own prejudices as they express their mutual interest in the latter.Review:
A short, sad read, as Taylitha tries to work past her own assumptions, and proves that prejudice isn't always a one way street.
Isidore Wyatt is a human ship commander on loan to the Pelted Federation, who finds himself bonding tightly to his crew when they go after a pirate ship marauding innocent freighters.Review:
A short, relatively light read, but nicely heavy on the action. I'd like to read more about this fellow.
And we move on to a couple of non-Pelted stories, before coming up to the last in the bunch.
"Living the Moment"Summary:
Simon Voar is an art (read: one step above porn) photographer who specializes in photographing The Moment, when the act of sex turns into an act of transcendence. But finding himself bored with human subjects he goes offworld to the home of the Tsipia-aliens, whose unique three sexed biology should provide new Moments to capture, assuming he can let his own walls of defense down.Review:
Despite the subject matter this isn't really a porn story. It's really about intimacy, and letting oneself become open to experience, rather than standing a distance and being merely a unaffected observer. Like any good story examining an alien culture it's not an automatically easy read either, but I recommend it.
"The Blade to Your Hand"Summary:
Zalen is a young lady pirate living with her adoptive "father" a cruel pirate captain who would likely cut off her head (or worse) if he discovered her true gender, who takes a chance at freedom when her pirate ship raids the wrong town.Review:
A nifty furry pirate tale, which turns out to be intensely frustrating
because Hogarth stuffs at least a novel's worth of plot into less than 10k words. We meet Zalen, her crewmates and cruel father, and the lady cheetah who might be her savoir, and then rush along to the ending before the story has barely begun. This story begs to be expanded into a proper novel, because frankly as just short tale it's too over too quickly to really appreciate it.
And now for the real problem child of the bunch, Hogarth's early Pelted novel, Alysha's Fall( Cut for spoilers, language and rape triggers )