Sweterlitsch’s latest (Tomorrow and Tomorrow, 2014, etc.) is a mind-blowing fusion of science fiction, thriller, existential horror, and apocalyptic fiction.
Initially set in 1997, the story revolves around Shannon Moss, a federal agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service who is assigned to track down a missing girl whose family has been brutally murdered in their home in southwestern Pennsylvania. When Moss realizes the potential killers are missing astronauts whose spaceship vanished while on a black ops mission called Deep Waters, involving time travel, she must figure out how members of a lost crew are now suddenly living clandestinely as domestic terrorists in America. An undercover time traveler herself for the Naval Space Command—she even lost part of her leg exploring a far-future Earth—Moss must track down the killers as the looming darkness of the Terminus, the death of humankind that is at the end of almost every Deep Waters journey, moves ever closer. The power of this novel is twofold: Sweterlitsch’s intricately plotted storyline will keep readers on the edges of their seats until the very last pages, and his extended use of bleak imagery coupled with his lyrical writing style make for an intense and unforgettable read. When Moss leaves Earth on another time-traveling mission, for example, the author describes it like this: “[I] watch the lights of cities as they recede below, turning into skeins of light as delicate as illuminated webs, as they disappear from my view, replaced by the vast blackness of the ocean at night.” Additionally, the subtle use of the Black Sun mythology adds an occultlike undertone to the story.
This darkly poetic and profoundly disturbing glimpse into the potential last days of humankind will surely haunt readers’ dreams long after the book is finished.