Reviewed by Mandi
We rarely review short stories at Smexy Books. In general, I’m not a big fan of short stories, but Ana from The Book Smugglers emailed me last week to let me know their next published story, Luminous, might be of interest to the Smexy readers. The premise of the book sounded so unique (the hero is a fallen star!) I had to try it. It’s a gorgeous and very well done short story.
The heroine is named Jyothi and she is a scientist. She volunteered to go to a distant planet to do research along with others – but then a war broke out back on Earth. Too old to fight (or so she thinks) she and another volunteer to stay at this planet and continue to research until the others finish fighting and come back. But her volunteer partner stows away with the others, leaving Jyothi alone and no one ever returns. Alone on this planet for the past nine years, she continues to do her daily chores, research and experiments.
One day Jyothi gets this overwhelming sense to head west and sees a bright, exploding light in the sky. She is no longer alone. She finds a man (she ends up naming him West) who is born from a fallen star. His presence has been alive for a very long time but this is his first time in a human body.
He blinked. He had eyes to blink, and the eyes communicated sights to this differently corporeal mind. He was a tiny speck of a thing.
Heat seeped from inside of him. Cold buffeted him from outside of his body. Wind – atmosphere, heavy and dull.
His body was new. And broken.
He’d fallen. Sent to die, as all of his kind did, to know for a moment what the infinitely tiny, yearning creatures knew as they wandered over orbiting rock, basking in the heat and life of nearby suns.
How cool is that? Glowing and golden, he quickly assimilates to this new world. Jyothi is no longer alone, but all of her woes are not fixed.
Jyothi is in her sixties, and her age weighs on her. It weighs on her before West lands on her planet, but she falls in love with him, but feels as though someone her age should not love this younger looking man and convinces herself that he would love her back. West, a star, is so very old. As he notes, older than the rock he lay on. The wrinkles in her skin or the silver in her hair means nothing to him. He also comes to understand her and her loneliness.
She did not have other-humans as he had other lights.
And now, him.
Something in him ached. A shock of new pain, a pain that was in no one place or other. A pain that was more a knowing that a physical touch.
Sadness, he understood.
It’s a gorgeous story. I wish the end had not been quite so abrupt, but I knew it was a short story going in, so I knew the end would come quick. This author does a great job of giving her readers a new world, a very strong heroine and an alien hero all within 50 pages. I fell completely in love with Jyothi and her journey. A very compelling read.
Today we are giving away three copies of Luminous to three random commenters. To enter, just leave a comment. Open to all. I’ll pick winners tomorrow.