Short Story Review: “The Knot” by Dennis Detwiller

2 of 5 stars.

A half-century of nuclear rocket science is rewritten, or seen through a new lens in this speculative history tale. The first person narrator, a nuclear scientist emerging from school right as Oppenheimer’s project is getting underway, has been involved in one capacity or another in the A-bomb, the first lunar landing, and even in the Cold War nuclear plans.

But he is not alone in this–the narrator has witnessed the mysterious “pale” man with white-to-translucent skin at each of these crucial junctures either confirming or correcting the mathematical equations . . .

The pale man acts as a Lovecraftian Dr. Who making sure that timelines unspool correctly and that the narrator has the proper information each time. Then the pale man comes for scientist, whisking him away from humanity and his point in history . . .

This tale, like so many inspired by Lovecraft, veer at the end into new territory. Which would be fine if any continuity was maintained, or possibly even an explanation or a “next chapter.” In this case, the narrator ceases to be the narrator and his new role in another time and place is ignored. Nor does it end with an open ending implying new adventures or experiences to be had. No, it just changes everything without explanation to a dead-end timeline, the Cretaceous Period[?!], and walks away.

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.]


4 responses to “Short Story Review: “The Knot” by Dennis Detwiller

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