Title: This Long Vigil
Author: Rhett C. Bruno
Publisher/Copyright: Perihelion Magazine, 2015
A while back, I gave a friendly review to Mr. Bruno’s debut novel The Circuit: Executor Rising. As a result, the author asked me to also review This Long Vigil, his first professionally-published short story. I was more than happy to do so, and only regret that life kept getting in the way and delaying this review. As of this writing, if you click on the title of the story up top there you can read it for free on the interwebs. Not sure how long that stays up….
Orion has spent twenty-five years as the lone conscious human inhabitant of the Interstellar Ark Hermes, his only companion the ship’s AI Dan as he monitors the various functions of the ship’s age-long trip to a likely new home for the human race. Now the time is approaching for him to be placed back into hibernation, there to sleep away the rest of his life before being recycled into fertilizer for the ship’s garden. Unless he manages to do something unthinkable…unless he manages to escape….
On the whole, I enjoyed the short story. It managed to get me to care about the main character despite the brevity of our encounter, and I definitely enjoyed the role reversal in the naming structure. Usually the AI/computer characters have the more exotic names, but not here. Here, we have a computer named Dan and a human named Orion. Would the constellation Orion be visible from Alpha Centauri? I kind of doubt it would, but the factual discrepancy didn’t actually occur to me until a moment ago, so I’ll let it slide. Most importantly, I was actually satisfied with the ending to this tale, which is not always the case.
CONTENT: No profanity. No sexual content. Some musing on death, but no real violence.