I received this short work from the author and did not see a blurb, nor is there one in the story, so by the time I started reading, I had only the opening text to go by. This story opens as a science fiction space opera with a decorated, always successful officer struggling with his latest charge. His mutant fugitive succeeds in escaping him at the last moment every time and so seems to be teasing him. The explicit sexual content after her capture surprised me because of that, but it makes sense in the story and is written well.
The story is a blend of complexity and simple needs, both physical and emotional. We learn the greater context through the first-person narrator, Ian, who is also the police officer and the one who undergoes the most change…while not changing at all in his core.
Ipsia, the mutant, first comes across as manipulative and so everything he’s been told about her. The strength of the story is not so much in Ian’s changing perceptions but in how the reader is carried along with that change.
The end is a bit rushed to my mind, and a little illogical, but not in a way to break the suspension of disbelief. I can absolutely see Ian making those choices and behaving in that manner. It’s more that his choices are not the best ones in the circumstances.
I know I’m being rather obscure, but the details are what drive the story and I don’t want to set anyone up with advanced knowledge. Forms of Love is an enjoyable tale with both an intimate and larger context that caught my interest, enough so that I plan to read more by Luca Rossi.
Note: This story is available as part of a short story collection called Galactic Energies as well as on its own.