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Darkness Beyond the Stars - Edited by P. L. McMillan (Nina Garrido)

Updated: Apr 2

The Darkness Beyond the Stars space horror anthology cover, featuring someone approaching what appears to be a space colony with strange growths on it.

Published by Salt Heart Press

4 out of 5 Stars

My first contact with this anthology was at the online launch event hosted by the editor P.L.McMillan. There were live readings by a handful of the authors and just by the short excerpt of their stories presented at this event, I knew there would be gems in this book. I’m familiar with (and a huge fan of) P.L.’s work both as an author and illustrator and now she has proven herself to be a phenomenal editor as well. There were more names that I recognized, the authors Carson Winter and Bridget D. Brave, both of which are phenomenal and, as I expected, their stories were two of my favorites.

I’m usually not a huge fan of science fiction so I was surprised by how much I adored so many of these stories. I feel confident in recommending you pick this up even if, like me, the genre isn’t your cup of tea. I did skip over some of the more technical descriptions of the spaceships and how most of the technology works. That being said, it was 100% an issue with me and not the author’s writings/descriptions, the scientific aspects tend to go over my head. Before we continue to the story highlights, I want to mention the great illustrations, one for each of the tales featured.

The Weight of Faith by Carson Winter -

I know it’s a clichê thing to say but this is the kind of story that makes you think about what we take for granted. The concept of space anthropologists is one of the most interesting I’ve seen and I would love to read a whole collection from Winter about the duo in this story. Finally, without giving too much away, this was such a genius title to top off an amazing story.

Last Transmission from the FedComm Sargasso by Bridget D. Brave - I’m already a huge fan of Bridget, every single thing of hers I’ve read was amazing and this story was no exception. It’s written in the second-person point of view, which is my favorite POV, so I was hooked from the beginning. It’s tough to write an amnesiac main character without making the story too confusing, but Bridget pulled it off perfectly. I cannot comprehend how anyone could not love this story.

Son of Demeter by Bryan Young - This was my favorite of all these amazing stories. It caused me a ridiculous amount of second-hand anxiety and I found it to be a top-notch body-horror tale. What this protagonist endures makes the torture described in Dante’s Inferno seem tame and pleasant. This one is short, sweet, and painful, it’s sure to leave you paranoid and the ending will likely break your heart. Though, if you’re squeamish when it comes to descriptions of torture, I’d skip this one.

The Trocophore by Rachel Searcey - I’m a sucker for a good mercenary story and Searcey knocked this one out of the park. It has everything you could want: unsavory characters with intriguing backgrounds, a cool tentacle monster, gore galore, and a surprising twist. I mean, it’s a story about SPACE MERCENARIES, do I really need to say anything else?

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