Verdict: Niche queer fetish escapades collide with clandestine cowboy missions from the moon in BAJA CLAVIUS. While this oftentimes violent and sprawling sci-fi thriller is not for everyone, it offers compelling imagery and curious insights into a boundless universe.
BAJA CLAVIUS is more than out of this world – it evades comparison. Our protagonist Ted Avila is a former military man commissioned to become a top-secret time travel agent on a lunar base nicknamed “Moon Men Deep Inside” located beneath the crater Clavius. His mission is to repair timelines in the past to save humanity by employing his insatiable carnal appetite and penchant for domination.
Along the way, the incredibly virile Ted becomes sexually involved with many buff, muscle-bound men on Earth, all in conflicting timelines. Vincent Wauneka – Ted’s oft-partner in both vocation and lust – is typically along for the very bumpy and murderous ride. But it’s not all as easy for Ted as simply following his lascivious instincts. He can remember multiple timelines even after changing them, creating a psychic cacophony peppered with perceived memory loss, flashbacks, experiential repetition, and a colorful array of cognitive dissonance.
And there’s a lot more going on: Wild West execution-style hangings, kinky voyeurism, international drug trafficking, telepathic erotic mind control, alien meddling in DNA and more. This can make for sometimes confusing leaps in plot, time, and sequences of action, perhaps as a nod to the protagonist’s bouts of amnesia. However, for the reader it can make for a baffling, groundless context.
Author Madeira Desouza created the most recent edition of BAJA CLAVIUS thanks to robust reader feedback and crowdsourcing. This seems to lead to a bit of stylistic and formatting disorientation in the story. It might also account for the series of copyediting errors throughout.
Where BAJA CLAVIUS shines is in its description of the natural world, invoking the Southwest postcard nostalgia of jagged rocks, the neon lights of garish casinos, lonely highways, and the bleak, unforgiving desert. Desouza also offers esoteric and compelling scenes of action. Indeed, the story insists that, like the characters, the reader reluctantly disrupt any expectations of space and time. This makes for a worthwhile examination of action and consequence.
It’s important to note BAJA CLAVIUS espouses the bara genre, a Japanese underground art form known for sex among adult men. Still, even outside of this community, the rugged, rough-hewn intensity of Desouza’s work bears merit. Niche queer fetish escapades collide with clandestine cowboy missions from the moon in BAJA CLAVIUS. While this oftentimes violent and sprawling sci-fi thriller is not for everyone, it offers compelling imagery and curious insights into a boundless universe.
~Nicki Yowell for IndieReader