Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Across The Event Horizon

by Mercurio D. Rivera

cover  

 
There's something quite classic about this collection of mostly science fiction stories. They read as though they could have been written 50 years ago, or 50 years in the future. This timelessness comes from their focus on an exploration of human nature, rather than the latest realistic advances in science and technology.

I'm a little reluctant to sum up these stories individually, because it's so easy to spoil the surprise. And there are a lot of surprises, as the author imagines strange new planets and curious aliens who are generally very far removed from ourselves. Mercurio D. Rivera's imagination is colourful and prodigious, whether he's dealing with aliens who communicate by scent, cross-dimensional theft, or a world where anyone who doesn't have a double is considered a second-class citizen.

A lot of the stories look to shiny, star-faring futures full of technological wonders and freaky creatures. It's not always an optimistic view, but it's certainly exuberant: after the first few stories I felt that I had no idea what was coming next, except that it would be unexpected. Misunderstanding between species is a common theme, and this makes for some clever twists. In fact all the stories were well-constructed, but the tone varies. Longing For Langalana is poignant, Dear Annabehls is amusing and absurd, The Scent Of Their Arrival is sinister, and Bargonns Can Swizzle is quite sweet. But the tales are all unified by a certain humanity, even when there are no humans in them.

However there's one story that seems out of place in the collection: Tu Sufrimiento Shall Protect Us. This is supernatural horror rather than science fiction, and it's hardcore. It starts with some kinky sex, and quickly gets very, very dark. It's extremely effective as horror, not just in terms of how frightening it is, but also due to the sick feeling of unease it left me with. This was one surprise I wasn't prepared for, and the tone of the story is unlike anything else in the book.

Overall I was impressed by Across The Event Horizon. It's fresh, inventive, and sometimes disturbing, because the author is always questioning things. If you're after quirky science fiction that goes beyond the usual tropes and features interesting characters, I highly recommend this.

3rd April 2013

Book Details

Year: 2013

Categories: Books

  Science fiction
 
  Not For The Squeamish  

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