Deep Black Beyond

Rated 4.25/5 based on 5 reviews
This collection of both new and previously published science fiction contains four short stories and a novella. Included are "Pele's Bee-keeper", "The Memory of Bone", "No Spaceships Go", "Beneath the Ice and Still", and "The Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus". More

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Published by Doomed Muse Press
Words: 29,450
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465827883
About Annie Bellet

Annie Bellet is a full-time speculative fiction writer. She holds a BA in English and a BA in Medieval Studies and thus can speak a smattering of useful languages such as Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Welsh.

She has sold fiction to AlienSkin Magazine, Contrary Magazine, and Daily Science Fiction Magazine. She's also collected a healthy stack of Honorable Mentions and placed as Semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a very demanding Bengal cat.

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Reviews

Review by: Rebecca S on Feb. 20, 2012 :
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the stories. If you like short science fiction (think Asimov's or Analog), you'll very likely enjoy these stories.

As to the stories themselves:

I found "Pele's Beekeeper" to be the best of the lot. Though it certainly wasn't the longest (and thus, in my opinion, proves the worth of the author), I connected most with the female lead of this story, and I found the motivations of the characters were palpable. "A Memory of Bone" was a bit too open-ended for me, but the imagery contained therein is vivid and unique. "No Spaceships Go" was poignant, if somewhat forced; "Beneath the Ice and Still" was far too short for me to connect with the protagonist and so I just didn't care (and it reminded me of "The Thing"); and "The Light of Earth as Seen from Tartarus" was somewhat ham-fisted with it's running non-subtexual Icarus metaphor.

The other thing of note is that the author clearly has taken pains to make this short story collection inclusive (something that used to be quite rare, especially in science fiction). I'm love to read stories representing the voice of the Other, but it did seem like Bellet went out of her way to make sure that we knew that she was writing so diversely - the issues are important to be sure, but it can be depressing to read futuristic scifi where the gay character is still worried about coming out of the closet, especially when the skin color of another protagonist, (explicitly - if not pointedly - mentioned by the author) has no bearing on the abilities or the survival of said main character. I like that her futures aren't utopian, but I also would like to see more hope for that future.

I liked this collection, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre. The writing is solid, and the collection is entertaining. It was a great way for me to waste a lazy Sunday with a giant mug of tea."
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Randy Stafford on Feb. 19, 2012 :
Bellet is a writer who has published in traditional venues, though only “No Spaceships Go” seems to be a reprint, so this set of five stories is free from amateurish mistakes.

Unfortunately, for me, most of these stories never rose above the generic and two, honestly, puzzled me.

Despite a concluding revelation of interstellar intrigue and revenge, which should be more interesting than it is, “Pele’s Bee-Keeper”, with its space shuttle crash, possibly by sabotage, and the rescue of its protagonist by a mysterious woman, never grabbed me.

“The Memory of Bone” has a central idea, which if, taken seriously, has a goofiness which reminds me of a bad pulp story from the 1930s. I suspect its narrator, a spaceship captain in the brig and on her way to a court martial, is of the unreliable sort. Another peculiar story was “Beneath the Ice and Still”. Involving a frozen maiden found by a man in the ice of an alien world, it’s more like a setup for a story that never comes. I suspect another crazy protagonist.

“No Spaceships Go”, with its young lovers watching rocket ship launches in a dusty New Mexico, reminded me a bit of Ray Bradbury without the lyricism. But the complications of their story were mostly of the usual sort in these stories – class and the plans of parents, and the one somewhat unique complication, that they are gay teenage boys, didn’t do anything to elevate the story into memorable territory.

However, with “The Light of the Earth as Seen from Tartarus”, Bellet escapes the gravity well of the generic or vague. This story of a dying billionaire paying for the resurrection of two brothers’ spaceship design and a trip, dead or alive, to Pluto was emotional and moving and realistic in not only its technical details but the human details of remorse and redemption and perseverance.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzie Gallagher on Feb. 18, 2012 :
Deep Black Beyond is a collection of four stories and one novella in the genre of science fiction. 'In memory of bone' a sole survivor of an horrific attack is on the way to be tried for indefensible crime and discovers a witness in the unlikeliest of places. A sweet tale with some imaginative imagery and a great twist at the end. 'Pele's beekeeper' where no one is exactly as they seem is set against the background of a dramatic planet. It was well written and flowed beautifully however the plot was predictable with the reader working out "what happens next" easily.
This cannot be said for my favourite tale, "No spaceships go" a love story set in a divided world. Will the divide be crossed? You'll have to read it yourself.
I will leave you to find out for yourself about the ice maiden in "Beneath the ice and still"
This collection of short stories shows the author's versatility, dealing with love, war and revenge, with visionary imagery. Some of the characters, "the bit players" are a little two dimensional but well worth the read.
The novella, 'the light of the earth...' is a quest,well rounded characters and a gentle plot that weaves around the main players, little twists, nothing unexpected. A well written tale.

The only disappointing aspect, meeting a Jake that got injured but isn't referenced anywhere else, possibly should read Jack?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzie Gallagher on Feb. 18, 2012 : (no rating)
Deep Black Beyond is a collection of four stories and one novella in the genre of science fiction. 'In memory of bone' a sole survivor of an horrific attack is on the way to be tried for indefensible crime and discovers a witness in the unlikeliest of places. A sweet tale with some imaginative imagery and a great twist at the end. 'Pele's beekeeper' where no one is exactly as they seem is set against the background of a dramatic planet. It was well written and flowed beautifully however the plot was predictable with the reader working out "what happens next" easily.
This cannot be said for my favourite tale, "No spaceships go" a love story set in a divided world. Will the divide be crossed? You'll have to read it yourself.
I will leave you to find out for yourself about the ice maiden in "Beneath the ice and still"
This collection of short stories shows the author's versatility, dealing with love, war and revenge, with visionary imagery. Some of the characters, "the bit players" are a little two dimensional but well worth the read.
The novella, 'the light of the earth...' is a quest,well rounded characters and a gentle plot that weaves around the main players, little twists, nothing unexpected. A well written tale.

The only disappointing aspect, meeting a Jake that got injured but isn't referenced anywhere else, possibly should read Jack?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzie Gallagher on Feb. 18, 2012 :
Deep Black Beyond is a collection of four stories and one novella in the genre of science fiction. 'In memory of bone' a sole survivor of an horrific attack is on the way to be tried for indefensible crime and discovers a witness in the unlikeliest of places. A sweet tale with some imaginative imagery and a great twist at the end. 'Pele's beekeeper' where no one is exactly as they seem is set against the background of a dramatic planet. It was well written and flowed beautifully however the plot was predictable with the reader working out "what happens next" easily.
This cannot be said for my favourite tale, "No spaceships go" a love story set in a divided world. Will the divide be crossed? You'll have to read it yourself.
I will leave you to find out for yourself about the ice maiden in "Beneath the ice and still"
This collection of short stories shows the author's versatility, dealing with love, war and revenge, with visionary imagery. Some of the characters, "the bit players" are a little two dimensional but well worth the read.
The novella, 'the light of the earth...' is a quest,well rounded characters and a gentle plot that weaves around the main players, little twists, nothing unexpected. A well written tale.

The only disappointing aspect, meeting a Jake that got injured but isn't referenced anywhere else, possibly should read Jack?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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