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Authors: Brett J. Talley

The Void

BOOK: The Void
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Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Epilogue

 

 

 

 

The

Void

 

 

 

 

By

Brett J. Talley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JournalStone

San Francisco

 

 

 

Copyright ©2012 by Brett J. Talley

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

JournalStone books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

 

JournalStone

199 State Street

San Mateo, CA 94401

www.journalstone.com

 

The views expressed in this work are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

 

ISBN:  978-1-936564-43-9 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-936564-44-6 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-936564-45-3 (ebook)

Library of Congress Control Number:  2012935828

 

Printed in the United States of America

JournalStone rev. date: July 13, 2012

 

Cover Design: Denise Daniel

Cover Art: Philip Renne

Edited By: Elizabeth Reuter

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

“What Dreams May Come”: An Introduction to Brett Talley’s
The Void.

 

By

Dr. Michael R. Collings,

Author of
The Slab, The House Beyond the Hill,
and other tales of wonder and fear.

 

When I was first approached to write an introduction to Brett Talley’s new novel,
The Void,
I had two reactions.

First, I felt an immediate sense of… well, of
inevitability.
After all, a little over two years ago, I had published
In the Void: Poems of Science Fiction, Myth and Fantasy, & Horror
(Wildside, 2009), and here was a new opportunity to explore the mysteries of that fascinating, that frightening place. Since my expedition had been by way of poetry, surely Talley’s prose would introduce new possibilities… and perhaps new terrors.

Second, I had already met Talley’s work through the mediation of his first novel, the Bram Stoker Award-nominated
That Which Should Not Be
(JournalStone, 2011), a more-than-creditable H. P. Lovecraft
pastiche
that brought new life to conventions long considered stale and passé. The book had not only captured the essence of the Lovecraftian Chtulhu mythos in its quartet of tales-within-a-tale but did so with sufficient ease to allow loving sidelong glances not only at Lovecraft’s typical people, places, and things but also at suggestions of Bram Stoker, H. G. Wells, and other fantasists. Reading it had been, in fact, a delight.

So, of course, I agreed. Who could pass up an opportunity to enter the unknown with an author who had already demonstrated not only his capacity as a writer but his mastery of his craft?

Then I read the first line of
The Void
: June 18, 2159.

What’s this? The
future
? Where is the darkness, the mystery, the horror?

This sounds like
Science-fiction,
which, though I enjoy and appreciate it, is not what I anticipated from Talley.

But I had agreed, so I continued reading.

Wise choice.

The Void
is
science-fictional. It takes place in the near-future, in a universe in which star travel has become possible through the invention of a warp drive that, triggered near the outer reaches of the Solar System, enables ships to move almost instantly to distant stars, systems, and quadrants. Earth’s entire economy—and, of course, the economies of all of the colony worlds—has become dependent upon the new technology. As a result, star flight has become so commonplace as to become almost mundane.

 

Almost….

 

Because there is one, small—infinitesimally small, actually—problem. To pass through the warp and remain sane, passengers and crew must all submit to a stasis-sleep… and in that sleep, come the Dreams.

Everyone has them, without exception. For each individual the Dream is always the same, no matter how often the dreamer enters stasis. More than that, the Dream remains with the dreamer, upon waking, haunting, pervasive, foreshadowing images that must inevitably recur the next time, on the next flight.

Even more than that, the Dreams
terrify.
And occasionally, they drive certain dreamers to madness. Or to death.

Ahhh, here it comes, the
horror.
Talley plays his cards close to the chest, so the reader is well immersed in an ostensible science-fictional narrative before—word by word, phrase by phrase, image by image—he reveals the darkness beneath the technology, the threat that presents itself first through the Dreams and then by its determination to intrude into
this
world.

His language occasionally feels Lovecraftian, but his version of the Great Old Ones, Lovecraft’s survivors from a previous, highly advanced stage of the universe, is not; his terrors are his own. There are no
eldritch
horrors in
The Void;
no monolithic buildings employing skewed, crazed architecture; no tentacled fungoid monstrosities waiting for some misled magician to chant arcane passages from the
Necronomicon
and invite them again into our world.

The shadows in the Dreams are far worse, because in part, they reside within each of the Dreamers.

Talley reveals the truth with masterful pacing and precision. At times he rivets us in this reality through his use of hard-edged, solid, scientifically-oriented prose. At other times, he urges us to see beyond this reality by lengthy passages that are poetic in their fluidity, their movement, their ability to conjure images of time and space and possibility. Yet throughout the book, he continually returns to the Dreams, the Dreams and their impact upon the dreamers.

I’m tempted to go further, to disclose more of the secrets that the small crew of the
Chronos
must uncover for themselves as they struggle with their Dreams… and with their life-threatening encounters with Black Holes, with nameless shadows and whisperings, with treachery and betrayal, with the enigmas contained within the derelict ship
Singularity…
and within their own imaginations.

I’m tempted… I will, however, restrain myself, and conclude with these few words.

 

Read on. Enjoy. But be afraid to Dream.

 

 

 

 

Check out these titles from JournalStone:

 

That Which Should Not Be

Brett J. Talley

 

Contrition

Robert E. Hirsch

 

Cemetery Club

JG Faherty

 

Jokers Club

Gregory Bastianelli

 

Women Scorned

Angela Alsaleem

 

Shaman’s Blood

Anne C. Petty

 

The Donors

Jeffrey Wilson

 

Pazuzu’s Girl

Rachel Coles

 

 

 

Available through your local and online bookseller or at

www.journalstone.com

 

 

 

Endorsements

 

 

"With
THE VOID
, Brett J. Talley guides us out to the vastness of space and deep into the landscape of nightmare. Talley gives us elegant prose that whispers unspeakable horrors. Highly recommended."

-Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of
ASSASSIN'S CODE
and
DEAD OF NIGHT.

 

"A cosmically magnificent piece of dark science fiction. Talley is a gifted story teller. Every word is an inevitable piece derived from a past dream, and every sentence, a haunting insinuation of what might come next.”

-Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award winning author of
BLACK & ORANGE
and
BOTTLED ABYSS
.

 

“Talley follows Stoker finalist
That Which Should Not Be
with another tale of cosmic horror. This tale of aliens preying on humanity stands out from the crowd thanks to the strength of Talley’s prose and creative imagination.”

-
Publishers Weekly.

 

“VERDICT This unique and unnerving read is a sure bet for horror and sf fans… the horror elements are very well written and fascinating.”

-Rebecca M. Marrall, Western Washington Univ. Libs., Bellingham -
Library Journal.

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

When I published my first novel, there were so many people to thank that it seemed imprudent to attempt to thank them all by name. While that has not changed, I’m growing reckless in my old age. Or maybe there are just people who need to know exactly how much I appreciate them. So to my parents Mike and Sue who infected me at a young age with a love for books; to Erin who convinced me to start writing in the first place; to Marguerite and Anna who read this book and offered invaluable advice; to Annie whose endless enthusiasm and faith was infectious and kept me going when it seemed like I had hit a wall; to Christopher Payne for believing in me and this book, and to Dusty Parrish and all the soldiers and families who make the ultimate sacrifice so that we all have the freedom to put pen to paper—to you I give my thanks, my love, and my undying gratitude.

 

 

BOOK: The Void
4.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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