Dark Lighthouse

1 star1 star1 star0.75 star
After ferrying supplies to thirty-nine space stations, First Commander Taylitha Basil of the UAV Stardancer is ready to move on to something less dull... but it turns out the station commander at their final stop is a great sword-fighter, funny, handsome, interesting...

...and also human, one of the species that engineered her own race long ago. What do you feel about the people who played God?

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Published: Sep. 30, 2010
Words: 4,980
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452315690
About M.C.A. Hogarth

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.

Also by This Author


Review by: Sia Kay on Nov. 05, 2010 : star star star
Unfortunately, this is probably the weakest of Hogarth's fiction that I've read thus far. I understand that it features at least one recurring character from other stories, but I have yet to read them, and Dark Lighthouse can't quite stand on its own. It's quite possible that the conclusion of this piece lies somewhere in 'Second' or 'Alysha's Fall,' but it's definitely not in here.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Eric Johnson on Oct. 27, 2010 : star star star star star
It actually wasn't pretty bad for mil sci-fi. A good short romance story that didn't go too the extreme, and well written. I honestly dont' have many critiques about this story, so I'll just end it there.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Eric Hinkle on Oct. 10, 2010 : star star star star
Another great story by Micah Hogarth in the Stardancer series, this has the feel of a shorter episode in a larger tale, which is the closest thing to a flaw that I can see in it.

Yet this is a minor complaint at most -- this story does a great job of revealing some of the setting background in the form of a conversation between the (gengineered feline) ship's commander Taylitha and the (human) base commander. The ship stops off for repairs, the two officers meet and discover a mutual love of swordsmanship (including an incredibly-well described match between the two!), which, to Taylitha's confusion, threatens to lead to something more...

Really a wonderful short romance, showing both the alienness of Micah's Pelted races and the things they share in common with their human makers, and I hope that one day it will become part of a longer story.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth McCoy on Oct. 03, 2010 : star star star
This book is a useful addition to the Stardancer stories -- another snapshot in the universe whose overarching theme is humanity, as seen through the lens of humanity's bioengineered creations. In this one, the focus is another aspect of how the Pelted and their creators relate to one another.

The setting is, obviously, detailed beyond what we see in the story. Likewise the characters -- especially Taylitha, the viewpoint character -- are also far more detailed than the story can show. The theme, the attraction between human and Pelted, is a powerful one.

Unfortunately, the story is too darn short. More unfortunately, I don't only mean that in the "I don't want to stop reading!" way (though I also mean that...). The shortness of the story is a significant flaw, because the characters don't have enough space to unfold their complexities and nuances, that are only hinted at. I'm sure that there are fully-formed characters there, but I don't get to see enough to know them. The pace is too fast; does what happens happen because of hasty choices, or are the choices driven by deep-seated character motivations? Even the set-up suffers because there's not enough narrative time to discern if the attraction is for an evening, a longer pair-bonding, or if those involved aren't even sure which.

I reiterate, Dark Lighthouse is a useful addition to the universe; the background-building of the past-that-created-the-present, as well as hints about the society, are fascinating. And the price is a bargain! But the powerful theme is weakened by the brevity, turning what could have been an excellent or great story into a merely good one -- a supportive work more than a standalone. If you liked In the Line of Duty, then this short story is definitely worthwhile.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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