THE BURNING DARK by Adam Christopher


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Space-horror yarn from Christopher (The Age Atomic, 2013, etc.).

With Earth desperately trying to defend its colonies from attack by alien machines gigantic enough to chomp entire planets, Capt. Abraham Idaho “Ida” Cleveland scored a notable success by heroically destroying one of these “Spiders.” As a result, he acquired a robotic knee and was pensioned off, his last assignment to oversee the decommissioning and deconstruction of a superannuated space station in orbit around a “toxic” purple star in the remote depths of space. But Ida finds strange occurrences plaguing the U-Star Coast City. The station’s Commandant Elbridge has unaccountably vanished. Computer and communications problems are rife, thanks to interference from the nearby star. Worse, the station’s complement of marines (but what are they doing there?) believes he’s lying about his exploits—of which there seems to be no record in the official Fleet databases. And the empty corridors echo with odd noises and baffling shadows. Ida’s only friend is Izanami, a mysterious blue-eyed Japanese woman who seems to be some sort of medic. So Ida builds himself a space radio and proceeds to probe the forbidden wavelengths of subspace—where he picks up a transmission seemingly from a female Russian cosmonaut who lived a thousand years ago. So far so…not good, but OK. But in a situation where either everybody is in denial or uninterested in asking pertinent questions, or even in pursuing a rational course of action, readers are entitled to a sense of frustration. And the anticipated flood of gory action fails to materialize. Instead, things drone on, becoming ever murkier and less absorbing.

We are reminded of Doc Ostrow’s dying gasp in the classic movie Forbidden Planet (1956): “Monsters, John. Monsters from the Id.”

Pub Date: March 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3508-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2014


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