I must've first read this around the time it was published, which would've made me a fifteen-year-old kid. I don't remember much of those early impressions, only that I think I then read one and a half of the then-to-come four follow up novels that Donaldson wrote. I do remember losing interest, as though the pursuit of completing the full read hadn't lived up to my expectations.
Reading it again now, some three decades later, I'm surprised how rape-y this opening novella is. It's kind of disgusting, and surprising to me that I'd once managed to digest it with the blasé disinterest of a teenager. It's possible that Donaldson's grimy sci-fi vision influenced my own work with my Solarus Cycle, but if so I'm glad that some of the more visceral treatment of women never translated into my own work.
There's something of value in this book, though, and it was something that I likely never would have read as a kid: the afterword. In it, Donaldson goes into detail about how this book came about and offers some insight into his own creative process. I always enjoy reading about how successful writers spent years futzing and sweating over producing their work. It makes me feel marginally better about my own sweaty struggles.