Short Story Review: “You Will Never Be the Same” by Erica Satifka

5 of 5 stars.

Science fiction like no other, this tale dismisses light speed and warp speed as child’s play and bypasses hibernation sleep. The final frontier is cutting through dimensions, skirting the vast open spaces, making the galaxy-skipping travel in a matter of hours like one would take a ferry from England to mainland Europe. But make no mistake, this is horror sci-fi.

A woman wearing nothing but a bathing suit jogged up to the Stop-captain. “Captain, is something wrong?”

He thought of the crew, toiling away in a room fifty yards and one layer of reality away. “Just a bit of interference, my dear. Don’t be alarmed.”

While passengers lounge on holodecks of oceanic beach scenes, a Go-captain maneuvers the ship through the madness between dimensions, the gnawing insanity filling the empty spaces. These mavericks burn brightly and quickly, many going insane. Surrounding the Go-captain are the pinlights, the telepaths that keep the insanity out and the passengers blissfully happy. Finally, the unassuming Stop-captain takes over to land the ship after the true renegade work has been done.

The 20-year veteran Stop-captain of the Wong-Danforth narrates this tale as he finds pinlights and the Go-captain going mentally astray and veering the ship off-chart and speaking of ancient horrors. Even the passengers can tell something is going wrong as their idyllic scene breaks down.

The Stop-captain had no telepathy, no talents of any kind. Maybe that was the key. maybe a mundane person could guide the Wong-Danforth through this patch of “interference.”

. . . “Go,” he said, then screamed as the room melted–

From the depths of the cosmos, Lovecraftian horrors speak directly to the mind of the Stop-captain just trying to get the ship back on course before it’s irretrievably lost. He awakens to reality in a hospital, much of what he’s experienced is blocked out:

He remembered the grinding of an inhuman voice below a sheet of ice, beckoning him to come closer, whispering in his ear, with a voice that seemed to encircle his brain like a thick webbing …

This tale appears in Whispers from the Abyss edited by Kat Rocha, the author of this tale. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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