Review: J. Alan Veerkamp – Salvaging Claus Day

Author: J. Alan Veerkamp
Reviewer: Ashley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Holiday

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:

For three years, Filo has reveled in silence and solitude as the sole occupant of a space station, where he maintains the communication satellite.

Everything changes with the appearance of Luz Espina’s lifepod. Filo shares many interests with the flirtatious Luz, though Filo’s isolation has strained his communication skills. Still, Luz pushes all his buttons… and reminds him of the last man he was attracted to—an attraction that ended in disaster because the man was straight. When Luz learns Filo has never celebrated a holiday, he vows to cobble together a Claus Day celebration for them to share. But is it merely a friendly gesture… or something more?

Review: This was a sweet short story that followed Filo, a maintenance worker on an isolated space station who rescues a man straight from his dreams. Luz makes himself at home on the station where the only other person is Filo, waiting for the next ship to bring him home, when he discovers that Filo has never celebrated Claus Day. Luz sets out to make Filo’s first Claus Day something to remember, but what Filo wants most is something his past has taught him is out of his reach. But he doesn’t know what Luz has in store for him.

On the whole this was a good holiday short, though an isolated and minimalist space station does make an unusual setting for a holiday book. I enjoyed both characters and I loved Filo’s back story. The two had great chemistry and it was fun to watch the taciturn Filo interact with outgoing Luz. I really do like a good scifi and this book really did a great job of creating an otherworldly atmosphere that was believable and interesting, which again is a feat since it’s set in one place in the middle of literally nowhere. The atmosphere really was the best part of this book for me.

I had one big problem, and it’s that I don’t know how I feel about the ending. I don’t know how to say this without spoiling things, but I feel like the end really cements this book as a science fiction novel more than a romance novel. Which has me conflicted. On one hand, it makes you think and ask questions about what it would be like to live such an isolated life. Which is what scifi is supposed to do and I feel like this was well executed in this story. On the other hand, in order to execute this well it had to kill a little of the “happy ending” aspect you expect in a romance and holiday story. This conundrum has made it very difficult for me to write this review, so I’ll just say that this is more a science fiction story with romance aspects than it is a romance story with science fiction aspects.

In the end, I did enjoy this story and it was a fun short read. I definitely recommend this to scifi lovers.

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