The two stories are very different in setting and subject matter; but both are short, exhibit all of Aristotle's classic unities, and have only a few significant characters (here, two).Our setting here is a far-future, human-colonized planet, now under the boot of a vicious and brutal conquering alien race, the Gan.Pyke is a "pragmatist," a human turncoat who captures humans who are still fighting and turns them over to the Gan (after getting his jollies by brutalizing and abusing them).Teenaged Nina is his current prey.
Both stories have other commonalities, one being that they're both competently written, in a way that's crafted to serve the intended effect.Another is that the adjectives "dark" and "grisly" apply to both.This isn't a rosy, feel-good tale by any stretch of the imagination (although going into much more detail about the plot, as in the other case, would quickly involve major spoilers).But the moral and psychological quality of its darkness is significantly different from the other story, and that's reflected in the different way I handled the rating.Of course, unlike Goodreads' three and four-star ratings, a five-star rating doesn't necessarily mean that I "liked" this one; it's the type of work you experience rather than like.Literally, five stars indicates that I found it "amazing;" it amazes in its unflinching exploration of the dark side of human nature, the originality of its plotting, and the powerful way in which it achieves its effect.And it's a story with something constructive to say.
If I have a serious criticism, it's that although this is apparently a stand-alone story, there are significant elements of the plot and world-building that cry out for more development and explanation.This could easily be a teaser for a full-length novel (and that novel would be one I could see myself reading).Readers who want to avoid bad language should be warned that there's some of that here, including three or four f-words.(I rated it the way I did despite that.)
This story can be read for free at this link: www.goodreads.com/reader/10572-hunter .