Title: The Klockwerk Kraken
Author: Aidee Ladnier
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 34,000 words
Characters: Teo Houdin and Jimenez
POV: Third Limited
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction Futuristic
When the right space pilot walks into his bar, a desperate bartender uses all his wiles (and tentacles) to talk the man into business and his bed–but the spacer is still enslaved by his past and isn’t sure he can deal with a two-handed lover, much less one with six.
When the supply shipments stop coming, Teo Houdin needs all his tentacles to keep his waystation bar open. Facing a riot by thirsty miners stranded in the backwater of the galaxy, Teo helps a greenie space pilot buy a ship in return for a regular haul of liquor. But he longs for the courage to invite the enigmatic spacer to fill his lonely bed as well.
Still smarting from his newly implanted navigational ports, Jimenez knows owning his own ship will prevent him from ever being bought and sold again. For a former slave, transporting cargo through the emptiness of space sounds like paradise, but after meeting the compassionate and sexy Teo, his heart feels empty, too.
At the edge of the galaxy’s spiral arm, can Teo convince Jimenez that the heart has its own tentacles and theirs should be entwined forever?
From the blurb and cover, I wasn’t sure if “The Klockwerk Kraken” would be just sex or have a plot and good characters. Luckily for me, it was the second.
“The Klockwerk Kraken” has an emphasis on the people rather than the science and shows an interesting spectrum of human nature—from the fact slavery still exists in some systems to Teo’s enormous, close family. Jimenez’s story is sad but also uplifting, and Teo (a descendent of genetically altered humans) is interesting and relatable. Both have earned their way to where they are (for different reasons), and while Teo is relatively happy with his bar (apart from the delivery issues), Jimenez still struggles to free himself from his past and the effects it has on his mind. The ‘verse was well thought out, the geography researched, and the cultures interesting.
For a novella, “The Klockwerk Kraken” actually covers a fair number of events and I enjoyed it enough that it is now permanently on my ereader. I also looked up the author’s other stories. Definitely a good read for any sci-fi/futuristic/fantasy story lovers.
Reviewed By: Alison