Near the end of the 22nd century, Galen is the chief surgeon in an Alaskan hospital, one of the few livable places in a world ravaged by climate change. His best friend is Navojan. The two have been very close since Galen discovered Navojan was really an alien. He was sent to Earth essentially as a spy to learn about humans, but his people have long since forgotten about him and his mission. When Galen casually reads a few lines of a story Navojan has written on his tablet, it sets them both on a path to discovery.
“Service to the State” is a short novella that focuses almost exclusively on the two main characters. There’s just enough world-building for us to understand that the Earth is a far different place than the one we know. The “literary seduction” subtitle is quite descriptive of the main plot. It was fairly obvious to me right from the start what Navojan was doing, even if it wasn’t to Galen.
Navojan is a believable alien, although it’s hard to see how you can keep having a tail a secret, in a hospital no less. Even with minimal world-building, it was easy to get into this story, and understand Galen’s attraction as well as his curiosity. While not particularly memorable, this is a compelling quick read.
“Service to the State” is available from Amazon.