cover image The Scourge Between Stars

The Scourge Between Stars

Ness Brown. Nightfire, $16.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-250-83468-3

Brown’s eerie debut takes readers aboard a doomed generation ship. The Calypso is part of a struggling fleet trying to return to Earth from the failed colony on Proxima Centauri b. With the ship already badly damaged by mysterious forces, perilously low on stores, cut off from the rest of the fleet, and dealing with persistent unrest on board, the last thing acting captain Jacklyn Albright needs is another problem. While helping with repairs from the latest catastrophe, however, Jacklyn hears scraping and banging noises inside the ship’s bulkheads and soon thereafter, what precious stores the ship has left are going missing and crew members are turning up eviscerated. Fragments of panicked, despairing messages from the rest of the fleet reveal that the Centauri ships have been harbouring something terrible that lives in the walls and is very fast, very clever, and very hungry. Now someone on Jacklyn’s ship has just let it out. The claustrophobic, locked-in environment of a generation ship makes an ideal setting for this tense, gory, and genuinely creepy novella. Brown handles the astronomy and exobiology equally as competently as the interpersonal dynamics and trauma. The result is a sci-fi horror mash-up that holds its own with the classics of the genre. (Apr.)