Short Story Review: “Death May Die” by Nathan Wunner

2 of 5 stars.

Unknown phenomenon and truths await as new bounds are bridged and borders crossed. This is especially true for the depths of the oceans and the farther reaches of space. However, sometimes the bigger unknown is whether humankind is ready for the cosmic truths.

This Lovecraftian tale sees an outer frontier grave robber stripping labyrinthine mausoleum spaceships for their assets. It’s an unsavory life beyond the practical reach of human laws. The narrator’s latest quarry proves particularly strange–it’s plastered in warnings and it’s been breached before. A mangled corpse lies in a passageway, and the single coffin aboard the huge ship is empty with door ajar . . .

The detail-rich start to the tale is not matched by its abstract end. This is a common conundrum for Lovecraft inspired tales which attempt to express the inexplicable with abstractions to impress upon the reader the vastness of it all. While horror lies often in the unknown, abstraction muddies the connection.

A few jarring narration issues atop the increasing abstractions derails the reader investment. The first issue disrupting the suspension of disbelief lies in an alien immediately communicating not just in human speech and mannerisms, but in flawless idiomed English. This is a tale of otherworldliness. Aliens should reflect otherness, too, but don’t here. Secondly, a first person narration in the past tense shouldn’t be able to tell the story past the character’s ability to tell the story . . .

This tale appears in Whispers of the Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall Be edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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