Neal James was heartbroken when his boyfriend, Dylan Teague, left him for a new mission. Neal volunteered to wait until Dylan returned from his two-year mission, but Dylan said that he didn't want to be tied down and who knew what would happen while he was gone? It had been months when Neal heard Dylan's familiar voice across the comm-link while on duty on the navigation deck of the space station. Neal tried to resist getting personal, but Dylan made it very hard. Fortunately, the gravity of Dylan's call made it necessary to involve others so Neal didn't have to talk to him very much. Dylan was calling to report a mayday signal in the north sector where he was exploring, a sector that was thought uninhabited. He speculated that it was an old Starseed ship, launched and lost long years ago. Before Neal knew it, he was navigating on a ship to meet Dylan's crew and investigate the source of the signal...and see Dylan again.
Neal wasn't sure if he could bear to be so close to Dylan and not resume their relationship and was stunned when he discovered that Dylan felt the same way. Both were overjoyed to be together again and wanted nothing more than to spend time in the other's company, but they had a job to do. When the small crew landed on the colonized planet, they were met with surprising hostility by the colonists. The colonists feared that the crew would bring back the deadly, highly contagious disease that killed off most of the adults when the ship landed and made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the survivors to have children. In the highly regimented society, including appointments for mating and separate living quarters for men and women, there was no room for homosexual people. Viewed with increasing suspicion, Neal and Dylan find that they must fight their way away from the colonists to try and survive...
Operation Starseed is J.M. Snyder's first novel and it shows in some ways. The story is pretty simplistic and the characters are two-dimensional, but it is a nice, fun read nonetheless. The plot was not particularly original, but it was executed with grace and clearly written. I liked the main characters, but I thought that they were pretty stereotyped as gay men who can't keep their hands off of each other, even in dangerous situations. Some of the colonists were more complex, however, and they made the story more intriguing. Scarred, the author's collection of short stories, is better, but this is a fast read for those looking for a quick, easy read with gay heroes.
This report prepared by Debbie