I’m puzzled. I’ve read a couple of really good Tim Sullivan stories of late. But I’ve also read this story, and it’s predecessor, (Planetesimal Dawn, back in Oct/Nov 2008).
It may be that this pair of stories are excellent pastiches of scientist fiction, with its clunky writing styles, and the slightly awkward description of human relationships that you generally get from the slightly awkward clunky scientists who often write this kind of stuff.
Or is Tim Sullivan identical twins, one of whom writes really good SF, and one of whom doesn’t?
The story starts of at breakneck speed, putting Wolverton, the ginger, lovestruck scientist with the overbite, into a very alien environment, with some very alien aliens (as in having heads in the stomach, which was the kind of thing you got centuries ago before it was realised that heads pretty much -have- to be atop the shoulders to be effective).
It’s a pell-mell, headlong adventure story, but maybe I was in a a po-faced mood when I read this story (and its predecessor). But I read this story at lunchtime over a fine half pint of real ale in a lovely Oxfordshire village pub on one of the nicest spring days of the year so far.
Wolverton finally ends up with one of the girls of his dreams, as, fortunately for him, although gratingly for me, the girl falls for his charms.