A prequel, it appears to previous story/ies in which pheromones are an additional element of interpersonal communication.
This issue of Interzone includes the latest James White Award Winner – an award for a story by a previously unpublished author. To be honest, if I’d have read this as the winner of that award I’d have been somewhat disappointed by the standard of entries for this story to have won.
The story simply reads like the work of a novice writer. Had I the time, and the inclination, I could go through in some detail highlighting the awkward turns of phrase, the fairly unsubtle characterisation, and the lengthy exposition, but I have neither.