This is, chronologically, the first short-story written by Geoffrey Thorne in his Fringe Space series. The latest one, the first one released as a single story first, was FINA SILENTO. This story was first published in the sci-fi anthology SPACE GRUNTS, which also features many other great stories by talented sci-fi authors. I’ve written about this story here, but now that it’s also been made available singularly, I just thought I’d re-post my thoughts on it:
Geoffrey Thorne’s story is called “Truth Metric”. Set in deep space, this is the story of an event that happens on spaceship called APEX, as they come face to face with a truly horrifying alien race called the Mercanti, who are kind of hard for me to describe. They’re almost like a living virus, they infect humans and transform them into mindless multi-tentacled beasts. The story is primarily told from the point of view of a female crewmember (referred to as a “Spaceman”) named Crystin Boylan, but it also breaks several times to reveal a series of messages from the Apex Captain, Tsao Chan, as he composes a message (dubbed a “hypercast”) to the father of a deceased crewmember and explains to him how his child died. What I like most about this story is not only the characterization and the action, but also that Thorne fills it with enough info-dumps that you get the feeling that this all part of a much larger established sci-fi universe, one that I think readers will definitely want to learn more about. Action, drama, suspense, it’s all there (along with a little bit of a love story). I highly recommend it.
I found this quote by Thorne to be interesting: “FRINGE SPACE is not my version of STAR TREK; there is no “Federation” and there are no aliens except the Mercanti who are, sadly, trying to kill us.
But, If you like my STAR TREK stuff you will find yourself very much at home in FRINGE SPACE.” I can vouch for the fact that, so far, none of these stories invoke “Star Trek.” What’s interesting is that many of the concepts from the stories were cannibalized from a rejected pitch for a new Star Trek TV series that Thorne wrote. Many of the details of that pitch can be read HERE, and Thorne’s story of how he got involved can be read HERE.
But, despite that, when I read these 3 stories (#2, “THANKS TO CAPTAIN GO”, is available in the WORDS TO MUSIC anthology, which is for charity, and therefor not available as a single story right now), I don’t feel as if I’m reading a Star Trek knock-off. Yes, the stories that take place on the APEX, is about a military crew on a starship in deep space, but that’s where the similarities end. This is an original concept.
Thorne has told me that he intends to write a new short story every couple of months, and make them available, switching the setting between stories that take place on the APEX, and stories about other charcters that are not on the ship, but within the same universe. And every 5 stories he will then collect into one edition. I’m hoping for a full-length novel someday, but I’ll take this in the meantime. Like Fino Silento, Truth Metric is now available as an ebook via AMAZON and SMASHWORDS, all for the affordable price of $1. So go get it!