Series:Escape From The Holidays collection
Genre:FF romance, sci fi
LGBTQ+ Category:lesbian, non-binary
Publisher:Mischief Corner Books
Pages/Word Count:152 Pages
Reviewer:J. Scott Coatsworth
It’s December, so it must be time for another Angel Martinez winter holiday tale. And what a tale she delivers in “Yule Planet.”
Sofia Cancino wants to get away from her boring life in middle management, and her crazy family entanglements. When she runs across a brochure for a cheery holiday resort on a frozen planet, it sounds perfect. She books her stay, and is really excited until things go awry. Which they do almost immediately. To tell you much more would ruin the plot.
I’ve been a Martinez fan for a long time, and loved her quirky 2017 Christmas tale “Safety Protools for Human Holidays.” “Yule Planet” proves once again that she has her writer shit down, as she spins a tightly knit fish-out-of-water tale that grabs you bu the collar and drags you along for the ride.
Sofia starts as a bit of an entitled snot, and is given lots of room to grow during this novella-length tale. She takes full advantage. But then again, so does her love interest, who starts as the grunty-silent type but has a whole backstory of her own. I loved watching their relationship grow, often in fits and starts. When it’s finally consummated, it’s sweet and funny in the way only Martinez can manage.
But the ones who steal the show are the chionisaurs – which I can only aptly describe as fuzzy snow dinosaurs. They provide a lot of the comic relief in the story, but also much of its heart, and put me immediately in mind of Anne McCaffrey’s dragons.
In fact, the whole story reminds me of some of my favorite Anne McCaffrey tales, particularly Dinosaur Planet and the Freedom series. It’s like McCaffrey if McCaffrey had written lesbian couples, and believe me, coming from me that’s the highest praise.
Like those books, “Yule Planet” features worldbuilding of both kinds – by the author to paint the scene, and by the characters building the actual world themselves. And Martinez does both really well.
I loved the way the plot moved too, from purposeful misdirection – there’s danger over there! and then danger pops up here instead – to the seeming ending in the middle, which offers a chance for Sofia’s character to change and grow in the crucible of a very difficult decision.
I absolutely loved this story – it hit all the right notes for me for a sci fi tale – and I can’t wait for the next entry in Martinez’s sci fi holiday tales.