Black Site by Michael Patrick Hicks

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: 2016 in CLONES: The Anthology

Genre: science fiction, with a touch of Chthulu

Length: 34 pages

Setting: an asteroid mining base, near future

Summary: Alpha and his siblings are near-clones of Poppa, marooned on the mining base and making various changes to their DNA in the hopes of recreating the progenitor of modern humans. Their latest creation, Victor, is very different from their other attempts. Alpha slowly realizes that Victor is an incarnation of an ancient god from a different dimension of space. Victor is able to manipulate the clone even while just a fetus, and Alpha questions reality as he sets about reactivating the mining drones to destroy Victor and the mining base.

Final thoughts: This one didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t too impressed with the set-up or the characters, and then it got pretty gory at the end as Alpha is trying to destroy Victor. It was hard to tell what was reality and what was Victor messing with Alpha’s mind, which was the whole point. Did Alpha prevent Victor from being tanked and the other clones try to stop him, or did Echo and Alpha tried to stop her? Was his brain really leaking from his nose, or was it just a hallucination? Victor did feel like a reincarnation of Chthulu and Alpha’s mind just couldn’t handle the reality of Victor’s memories and it snapped. Even so, he managed to tear apart the station to make sure Victor wasn’t allowed amongst humanity.

Title comes from: It was mentioned in the story that the mining base was a dark site, set up as a hidden research station by the mythical Poppa.

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