Short Take: “Black Noise,” W.E. Mitchell

Pros: Space and Lovecraftian goings on–taste great together!
Cons: A few details that didn’t quite add up right
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

W.E. Mitchell’s Black Noise is a novella about three astronauts sent to find out why Earth has lost touch with the ISS. Mission Specialist Samantha Lanthan is supposed to do whatever fixing needs to be done. Commander Gary Mitchell has a few secrets he isn’t divulging, and Pilot Mike Shevchenko flies the shuttle.

Before long all three astronauts find themselves exposed to a horrible, horrifying noise. Then they smell death on the station, and find a disembodied hand that looks like acid ate it away from the body it came from. They also find evidence of a gun being fired–who the hell would okay the presence of a gun on the ISS? (It comes across as a plot hole, even though I really know nothing of how astronauts have to justify what they take with them or whether anyone checks their luggage before they go. It just seems unlikely that someone could get away with it.)

Since this is a novella–i.e., shorter than a full novel–it’s hard to talk about things without giving too much away. I’ll just say that there’s some scary Lovecraftian stuff going on, and pretty much nothing goes to plan for our hapless astronauts. It’s a fun story, but could be a little bit tighter.

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