“”Darkness Upon the Deep” is a hard sci-fi story with psychological horror elements. It takes place in the 24th century, against the backdrop of a war between mankind and an alien species. After barely escaping an enemy ambush, a human battleship gets stranded outside of regular space, and her crew struggles to find a way back while trying to preserve their sanity.” (Source: Hristo Goshev)
When it comes to short stories, it’s hard to pull off something that feels complete. In Hristo Goshev’s short story, “Darkness Upon the Deep”, Goshev accomplishes telling a tale that is both eerie and brimming with emotion from beginning to end. A rare feat, really.
Lieutenant Phillip Carter fights valiantly against a war with alien creatures. Like most people, he’s got skeletons in his closet. Recent ones, at that. Character depth can be a difficult thing to achieve in a short story. Because “Darkness Upon the Deep” is in first person point-of-view, readers see a more realistic and relatable side of him. Goshev manages to, in a short amount of time, instill a genuine connection to his main character. In fact, I felt sorrow, pain, and anger over the corse of this short tale.
I’m a picky reader. My readers know this and I have a way of being a bit harsh in my criticisms from time to time. After seeing the word “Lovecraftian” used to describe the story, I set some pretty high expectatons. Obviously, I love anything Lovecraft related, so this made me wary. In that regard, Goshev also does not disappoint. Whatever exists in the void where the Bastion ends up stranded is terrifyingly maddening and Goshev executes that feel with haunting accuracy.
At the conclusion of this story, I found myself wanting more. That’s always a good thing. I do wish that the more minor characters were a bit more fleshed out, though. I also feel that it the atmosphere could have been a little darker. Give it a bit more of a creepy feeling to it, and it would be right up there with Dead Space on my list of favorite wayward spaceships. Hristo Goshev is definitely an author to keep an eye on in the future.
“Darkness Upon the Deep” is available to read where it is published in the Aurora Wolf, a science-fiction and fantasy literary journal.