This Long Vigil by Rhett C. Bruno

This Long Vigil by Rhett C. Bruno
Publisher: Perihelion Science Fiction
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (11 pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

This is the story of a lone spaceman aboard an interstellar Ark and his only companion, the ship-wide artificial intelligence, as together they count the hours until his impending and unending hibernation.

Imagine you only have a short time left before you permanently lose consciousness. How would you spend your final days, hours, and minutes?

The dialogue was really well done. All of the discussions between Dan and Orion flowed smoothly. At times I felt like I was eavesdropping on someone else’s private conversation instead of reading it on a page. It was simply that realistic and compelling. I especially enjoyed seeing how Orion and Dan used conversations to pass the time when there was nothing going on in the ship that required their immediate attention.

It would have been helpful to have a little more information about the backstory. I was able to infer the most probably reasons why Hermes was constructed and how Orion and the other humans ended up on that ship, but I would have loved to know if my guesses were correct. This was a minor criticism of an otherwise excellent story, though.

The ending to this tale was absolutely perfect. I especially enjoyed the foreshadowing of what was to come that occurred early on. It wasn’t something I picked up on the first time i read it, so I was surprised by the final scene even though it made sense given everything I’d learned about the characters early on. This is definitely something I will be reading again soon as the ending gets better every time I encounter it!

This Long Vigil gave me goosebumps. I’d heartily recommend it to anyone who likes hard science fiction as much as I do.

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