Darkness Upon the Deep by Hristo Goshev

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Darkness Upon the Deep by Hristo Goshev
Publisher: Aurora Wolf Literary Journal
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (22 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Nikolai is gone. I still can’t come to terms with this, even though the honorary list of names on the hangar wall is a constant reminder of the stark reality. My dearest friend, my loyal brother in arms, the most skilled pilot and the noblest person I’ve ever known—dead, sacrificed upon the altar of this unfathomable abyss in which we’ve now been drifting for more than two solar days.

Sometimes the scariest thing in the universe is being surrounded by nothing at all.

Imagine slowing down from warp speed only to discover that your battleship has wandered into a place where no stars or planets can be found, physics as we know it is completely meaningless, and your ship seems to be the only thing that exists there at all. I was hooked on this tale as soon as I realized that all of the assumptions I’d normally make about how the universe works were meaningless in this place. This is the kind of storytelling that first got me interested in the science fiction genre in general, so I couldn’t wait to find out where the characters had ended up and if they’d ever figure out how to get back to our plane of reality.

The opening scene was a little confusing for me because the narrator jumped straight into the action without explaining who anyone was or what was going on. While I did figure it all out quickly, it would have been nice to at least know the main character’s name a little sooner. With that being said, this is a minor criticism of a story that I otherwise loved.

This was some of the most beautiful writing I’ve read in a long time. It definitely isn’t easy to find the terrifying side of a place that doesn’t seem to have any corporeal monsters, but that didn’t make me any less frightened for the characters. The author did an amazing job of both describing what that place felt like and showing why it was so dangerous for the people who accidentally ended up there.

Darkness Upon the Deep was a wild ride. I’d heartily recommend it to anyone who loves hard science fiction.

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