Castaway by Colin Barrett

Author's Description:
Second-rate opera singer Nick Volker is having a bad day, until he finds a stray cat. Almost immediately his life begins to change, dramatically. And then even more dramatically. Suddenly he's no longer a second-rater, he's now in line for lead roles and a beautiful soprano is on his doorstep. But the Federal Department of Homeland Security is also interested in him, and not for reasons he likes. What is there about this cat that's made such a differe
Size: 469 KB ( ~ 88,936 words)
Genre: Science Fiction
Sex Contents: Minimal Sex
Tags: Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Science Fiction, Extra Sensory Perception, Aliens, Slow

Review by Jim S   [other reviews by Jim S]

Reviewed: 2017-08-31 - (Review Updated: 2017-08-31)

The author was good enough to provide a good synopsis along with proper story codes, permitting a reviewer such as myself to give a little more detail of the story without giving away anything. Thank you, Mr. Barrett.

This story is well written and at the time of this review underrated by at least a half point. It's not quite a 9 but damn close. It passes my personal test of a good story, i.e., that I read it multiple times. In fact, getting set to read it AGAIN when it popped up in the Random Scan feature is what prompts me to write this review. I believe good stories like this should be advertised.

What makes this story so good in my mind is the fact that it could have been bad so easily. And isn't. It really is a hackneyed concept here – an alien ending up on Earth and imparting something extra to the human that finds him. Then the authorities, those big, bad Federal officers, find out about said alien's arrival and set about wreaking havoc until they're finally vanquished.

Okay. Hackneyed for sure. But what makes this story so good is, yea that's what happens but not quite. The author is very creative in handling the path of the story even while using such a transparent theme. The pace of the story, the character development, the surprising twists throughout, all combine to make this an excellent read. And the author never took the easy way out when resolving issues, something that destroys most science fiction stories here.

In addition, good science fiction contains large elements of truth and that is largely present throughout. Also, technically, the story is great. Spelling and grammar, both something I consider highly important, are excellent. No homophonic nor homonymic errors that I can remember either. Editors/proofreaders, if used, did an excellent job. It really is a joy to read a story this technically tight.

Plot: 8 | Technical Quality: 10 | Appeal to Reviewer: 9