Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

The Sound of Blue – Short Story Review

Four Science Fiction Stories By Michael Duda
Published on: August 16, 2019

Nice collection of 4 science fiction short stories that while each are unique in their theme, all together they are a cohesive collection. The first one in the book, The Sound of Blue, was awarded Silver Honorable Mention by Writers of the Future, Q2 2019.

Description:

Aliens exist everywhere. They are android. They hide within the mind. They live on other planets. And they can even travel the universe using technology far beyond our understanding.

Markey VI, an android on an orbiting space station, assists an artificial intelligence. David, the A.I., ponders the question of humanity’s fate. The ultimate question is, “Should life be returned to Earth?” The answer is known as the Singular Conclusion. But the answer’s impact reaches far deeper into Markey VI’s electronic components and programmed logic than could be anticipated. And the android’s final moments bring it closer to humanity itself.

David Grayson volunteered for a project called, ‘Threading.’ Unfortunately, Threading slowly alters David’s mind. And it affects the other two subjects. But in what way? After the final test goes wrong, David unleashes a powerful ability capable of distorting time.

Shiran accuses Abian of murdering her husband. She claims that Abian tells lies about the events leading to the death. She also keeps a secret that could reveal the truth. When Abian uncovers Shiran’s secret, Shiran discovers that there is more to her simple village life than she first believed.

It’s a futuristic version of 1930s Chicago. Named Chicago VI, the shielded space city exists somewhere at the far edge of the Oberon Galaxy. And all space cities connect by jump trains, faster-than-light machines. Bobby and his dog, Mister Pleats, barely make ends meet at Chicago VI’s jump train station. But when Bobby meets an alien Xenoarchaeologist, he’ll discover that there’s more possibilities in the galaxy than shining shoes.

The Sound of Blue takes you on four journeys of alien discovery. A journey just out of atmospheric reach. To a mysterious planet and at the far end of a galaxy. And into the mind where superhuman powers wait to be untapped.

Thoughts:

In The Sound of Blue, one of the things I loved was how the author took great care to ensure each story focused on a different aspect within the sci fi genre. No two stories are similar in characters, setting, or theme.

The Sound of Silence – What is humanity? How do you define what it means to be human? These are the questions that are asked to the android, Markey VI, which he struggles to find an answer to. It was a lovely story with quite an emotional ending.

Last of Lasts – How far should we allow the testing of humans? What happens when we push too hard or too far? This story left me a little confused for a while and took a some time to work through. David is the main character in both the Last of Lasts and in The Sound of Silence, however the stories didn’t quite match up or if they did match up in some way it was taking a bit of time to figure out which came first. In the end, I realized these were two different David’s and that the stories were not related. Once I worked through my confusion, I was better able to understand the storyline and what was happening in it and was able to enjoy it for itself.

Waking from an Eternal Sleep – Out of the four stories this is the one that feels like a different type of sci fi. This is mainly due to the setting being an unknown village that feels like it is from a different century. All four stories are enjoyable, but I think I liked the other three a bit better. Waking from an Eternal Sleep is less high-tech and is most likely the reason why my preference is elsewhere.

Jump Trains and Simultaneity – This one has the feeling of a 1930’s Chicago, but instead of being on Earth it is in the distant Oberon galaxy. The main location for the story is in a jump station in Chicago IV. In fact, there are several Chicago’s and several New York’s in the Oberon Galaxy. The story had a Noir feel to it, but without the detective – just a boy and his dog realizing that the galaxy is a lot bigger than they had imagined and contains a lot more possibilities that perhaps should be explored.

At the end is an Afterword from the author who goes into explaining how it all came to be – from his love of fiction to insights into the themes each story addressed. Overall, I enjoyed The Sound of Blue and the Afterward and definitely recommend it to those like me who were looking for a few sci fi short stories to read.

Rating: 4 stars

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