Review: Strange Horizons, December 9, 2019

Review: Strange Horizons, December 9, 2019

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, December 11, 2019

“Into the Eye” by SL Harris

“Into the Eye” by SL Harris is a stunning depiction of our reality after the Old Gods rise. Set in the far future, Earth is now flooded and filled with chattering madmen and ruled over by these horrific beings. The only ones to escape this fate are those who were either off-world or maintained the psychological fortitude in the face of Cthulhu and its brethren to keep going. The main character, Sal, is the latter. A pilot during humanity’s last stand against madness, Sal watched the world die, but managed to steer away, the only surviving ship in the human fleet.

The story revolves around a man, Captain Moore, who has been to the center of the universe and found Azathoth—Lovecraft’s creator god—sleeping. Waiting. Like Sal, Moore is the only survivor of his failed mission and comes back, having spent ten years alone, working through a plan to get away from the madness. With that in mind, Moore assembles a crew and together they head to Azathoth to escape this damned universe for another seen only in fevered images during Moore’s time near the sleeping god.

Overall, the story is incredibly well written, the integration of the Lovecraftian mythos with a far future setting works seamlessly, and Harris develops very interesting, empathetic characters that you root for by the end.

My only real gripe with the story is the end. It sort of stops and leaves us wondering at the conclusion, a nagging feeling of hope warring with the blatant horrors of this universe. In another story, without the weight of the Cthulhu mythos driving it forward, I think this would’ve worked quite well, but I can’t help but feel like it reads as the end of a chapter in a book than the end of a short story.

That said, it’s a pleasure to read and I’d recommend folks give it a shot, especially if you like new takes on Lovecraft’s madness.

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