Genre: Sci-Fi / Horror
Publisher: Mirror Matter Press
Publication Date: 22nd Jan 2016
A copy of Empty was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Ty Arthur, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Mirror Matter Press.
If you have your own blog or website, then I urge you to have an open call for submissions every now and again. When you do that, you tend to have people you have never heard of before email you and ask you to review their stuff. This is a brilliant way to get to read new talent that you wouldn’t necessarily read otherwise.
This is exactly what happened when Ty Arthur asked if I would have a look at Empty. This is a brand of horror I don’t read enough of. Horror set in space. I don’t even know if there is an exact genre name for it but I do love it when I come across a good one.
How did Empty turn out?
The research vessel, Thorne, is in trouble. It is drifting with no engines and none of its crew appear to be able to do anything about it. Apart from one man seen wandering the decks chanting strange religious type sayings.
Many decades later, the salvage ship, Penrose, is sent into deep space to try and bring the Thorne home. It has a very important cargo on board that seems to be very secret.
Junior Engineer 3rd Class Hansen is a loner, but not by choice. He is sent to work by himself after a prank on his senior officer goes wrong. Little does he know that he is going to play the major part in trying to save the Penrose and ultimately, the universe.
So, characters in this one. You really only have Hansen. I will explain that a bit later but as characters go he is an all-round likeable person that you will warm to. He doesn’t have it easy. A bully for a boss and a job in the very bowels of the ship. He just longs to be on the salvage mission with everyone else. When he gets his chance his true personality shines.
The plot? Well this is a short story so it needs to pack an awful lot into a short space of time. It is a familiar story. Ship goes dead for some reason, salvage sent to bring it home, something lurks on the original ship. A bit same old, same old, but Mr Arthur has a significant difference in this one that makes it stand out for me and made it hugely tense and entertaining and horrific.
A distinct lack of dialogue.
There is very little talking at all in this. Most of the story is in Hansen’s head. You see what he is thinking and how he comes about the decisions he makes. He has a very analytical mind. Always thinking things through in a very logical way, rather than jumping straight in. A lot of stories need dialogue to break up the monotony. Not this one. You know the old saying in space no one can hear you scream? That’s because it is lonely. There isn’t much of an atmosphere (scuse the pun) so it’s quiet and still and eerie.
The way Ty Arthur has written this story, that lonely feeling is at the fore all of the time. It feels almost, well, Empty! Hansen is alone in everything he does. Even when he is called upon to do important work, he is still alone. Even when he is involved with others, he is still alone. When he is in deep despair and panic towards the end of the story, he is alone.
When you read this, you will start to feel alone. You will feel the emptiness. You will feel the constant quiet. No noise. Nothing. It starts to make your skin crawl. It starts to make you look around you to make sure nothing is behind you. When you cough, the sound of your own voice will scare you.
The atmosphere that is portrayed in this story genuinely scared the wee out of me. I felt very alone and very in need of a hug when I finished this story. I was cold and scared.
Bravo Mr Arthur. Bravo.
To summarise: If you like your horror to have that little bit extra that genuinely makes your skin crawl and makes you crave human interaction when you finish it, just so you don’t feel alone, this is for you.
I loved this story. I cannot wait to read more from Mr Arthur.
Sci-Fi / Horror rating:
★★★★★ and again.
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Empty or any other books from Ty. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.
There are terrors still waiting to be discovered in the vast emptiness of space. After millennia of travel through the void, man has convinced himself he is master of the stars.
Down-on-his-luck, stuck performing punishment duty in the lower levels of the Penrose, Junior Engineer 3rd Class Hansen wants nothing more than to see the wreckage of a newly discovered ship dating back to man's earliest deep space explorations.
The engineer is about to get his wish, and in the process come face-to-face with a long-dormant horror waiting patiently for the perfect vessel. What he'll uncover in the darkness will threaten to consume him, body and soul.
Montana native Ty Arthur fell in love with fantasy and horror at an early age, but frequently had to engage in his passions secretly during his youth. Turning to the
written word as a cathartic outlet, Arthur writes to exorcise his demons. He lives in the cold, dark north with this amazing wife Megan.
And for more about Ty, you can find him on social media: