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The Huntress

by Barbara Karmazin

(Liquid Silver Books, 2004.)

Review by Elizabeth Barrette

cover scanThree stars.

Little known to its inhabitants, Earth is plagued by chupacabras -- critters out of cryptozoology, to most people, but actually escaped alien pets called Shrennan. They are wreaking havoc on the local ecology. Thus, our hero Rulagh (a charming fellow, even if he does look like a humanoid lizard) goes to Earth as part of a team assigned to wipe out the Shrennan before they do any more damage. The team is, of course, supposed to accomplish this without alerting the humans to their presence.

That plan doesn't last very long, though. Soon the human woman Sonia stumbles across a pack of Shrennan while out jogging. Rulagh rushes to her rescue -- though she has already dampened the beasts' attack with a can of pepper spray. So Sonia, skilled with assorted weapons and not about to sit on the sidelines, insists on joining the Shrennan hunting project.

A little thing like belonging to different species does not stop Sonia and Rulagh from falling in love with each other. They make an excellent team. The Shrennan don't stand a chance against them. Unfortunately, their respective peers are not so pleased with the situation in general or their relationship in particular ...

The Huntress tells an interesting story, science fiction blended with very steamy romantic erotica. Barbara Karmazin does an especially good job of developing the Shrennan theme, which parallels the many cases in human history where careless introduction of exotic species has damaged local habitat. It's intriguing to see the alien technology come into play.

Furthermore, the story is supported with tidbits of Spanish and from the alien language. Particularly fascinating is the exploration of urros, a kind of status among Rulagh's people, and the shauggur or pack-family. The aliens tend to be polyamorous, with a variety of different ranks for primary or secondary mates. Karmazin develops the culture quite thoroughly.

If you enjoy speculative erotica, you'll love this book. The storytelling is a tad rough in places, but it outshines most small press titles -- and is considerably more original than most of what the majors are publishing these days. Fans of sociological SF will enjoy reading this, although there's enough hunting and other adventure to intrigue action fans too. It's a must for xenolinguists. Recommended.


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