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"Becoming One with the Ghosts" / Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Asimov's Science Fiction / Oct-Nov 2010
Reviewed by: Daniel R. Robichaud

Though Asimov's Science Fiction seems an unlikely place to find fiction with a dark bent, the October/November issue contains quite a few eerie pieces, including Kristine Kathryn Rusch's novella "Becoming One with the Ghosts."

The story set-up is this: When damages force the interstellar spacecraft Ivoire to dock with Sector Base V, its captain expects a brief delay before rejoining the remainder of The Fleet. However, Sector Base V is no longer populated by Fleet personnel. Evidence suggests it has been long abandoned. This is a strange development as the station was active a month before. Now the station's inhabits include visible clusters of floating particles and a small group of explorers in unfamiliar environment suits. Captain Cooper and the Ivoire's 500 crew members are caught in a mystery. Soon they discover an unknown accident has caused the Ivoire's travel time to far exceed the month they believed. Investigation soon becomes two-fold: How much time has been lost, and what has happened in the meantime? The answers are not reassuring.

Though this story is not a bloody tale of alien horror, a Lovecraftian excursion into other dimensional madness, nor a slasher-in-space exercise, "Becoming One with the Ghosts" is no stranger to dread. Here, the dark dealings are of a philosophical bent.

The prose is engaging, and the questions raised are intriguing. Motifs of abandonment, decay, and death populate this narrative. Though no spectral figures surface, the tale reads like an understated ghost story.

Accounting for lost time has provided the genesis for quite a few excellent terror tales, such as L. Ron Hubbard's Fear. Here we find a fresh take on the same theme. Rusch's effort is an engaging tale of a most unconventional haunting.

Purchase Asimov’s Science Fiction (October/November 2010), which includes “Becoming One with the Ghosts” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

An excerpt of the story is also available at the ASF website here.

Posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 09:39AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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