Alan DeNiro. The Flowering Ape. (Asimovs Science Fiction, June 2012).

As I’ve mentioned before, now that it’s only a few months away from 40 years since I entered my teens, I’m not the hugest fan of stories featuring young adults and their coming of age woes. Call me a miserable old git if you like. My wife does.

DeNiro sets up deep space travel through a human/alien symbiosis, with young human pilots linking telepathically with alien ‘shepherds’ to fly through hyperspace. The story revolves around teenage concerns and relationships – exacerbated by some gender issues that make it a bit more complicated. There’s a bitter pang of failure and loss at the end, which helps, as opposed to an upbeat ending.

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