Some sci-fi writers, and a lot of fantasy writers load the reader with massive info-dumps to wade through before they get to the guts of the story. Catrina Taylor doesn't do that in Below The Surface. That alone made me really, really like this short story.
There's little to no preamble cluttering up Taylor's writing which makes her a must for the experienced sci-fi reader. She takes you straight into the middle of a war-zone, on an unnamed planet, and bam! You're in the story.
The protagonist is a young Resistance fighter called Merx who, with his two mothers and other family members and comrades, is fighting the Ven. He's also gifted; a telepath. When he helps rescue a girl around his age, also a telepath, from a crashed Ven transport, the intrigue only just begins.
The bulk of the story takes place in the caves in which the Resistance is hiding from the Ven - hence the title, and it leads up to an ending which left me just itching to get more. I'll be sure to bug her on her Facebook page:[...] for more.
Another nice touch Taylor works in is how in the society she's created, there are a few very different social and biological norms. Extra sensory perception, while not common, is recognised as real, and bi-sexuality (and, we can assume all other kinds of non-traditional, non-heterosexual relationships) is no big deal whatsoever. For fans of the likes of Herbert, MacCaffrey and Heinlein, Taylor takes us into more wonderful unknown territory, yet armed with the familiar feel of being in a good sci-fi setting, the way it should be.
For the dedicated sci-fi reader (especially Heinlein fans), Catrina Taylor is a writer to watch.