Reviews for Lurk
InkWellWisher chapter 1 . 12/28/2015
This was such a great piece, I felt that I had to review it, even though it didn’t win. I felt that it was a really close pick between Lurk and All Knowable Things, as I loved them both. Interesting that you both went with a science fiction vampire theme with the prompt!

To begin with, the story structure is great. You’ve crafted an introduction with a narrator/character who gains our sympathy through their isolated stay in a seemingly empty ship. Someone stuck completing fruitless endeavors and who silently longs for another assignment. Space limbo. We are more suspicious of the invisible powers which control the ship and the crew aboard it (the Commonwealth and highly automatic systems running the ship). Through a series of tasks tended to with habitual boredom, we are given significant details—the stark, sterile environment devoid of any other mentioned crew members, the tarantula in the terrarium, the malfunctioning doors. Looming over it is the information we are given first of all: H. Nosferatum.

On the topic of themes, I’ll go right past subject and get into content. Between the use of the Commonwealth and isolated individuals within the massive ship, this short story has some decidedly political undertones. The commonwealth can refer to communist or socialist ideas used to promote an individual’s responsibility to society around them, as opposed to the needs of the individuals themselves. The inability to see the vampire(s) lurking aboard the ship could refer to the inability to see the enemy, to see the problem unless you acknowledge that it’s there. This heavily relies on the characterization and actions of Lydia.

The ignorance/disinterest instilled by the Nosferatum musk/ toxin speaks to cognitive dissonance of contemporary society; we only seem to really notice a problem until it begins to affect our personal lives. The distractions of a complacent life allow the enemy to grow, undetected, may it be a political/religious ideology or a group of people perpetuating it. But Hamzah’s attempt to get Lydia to do something about the problem is futile, thus feeding the paradox of the situation. If Lydia only remembered/saw the problem aboard the ship, she would be more compelled to finish her research, but exposing herself to the knowledge of the vampire lurking behind her would undoubtedly cripple her.

What I really love about this piece is the way you’ve engineered this story to inspire so much suspicion and fear—even as the reader we cannot directly see what is there, but it kills us that we know more than the character is able to acknowledge.

“On her upper arm, the cuff chimed twice and signaled a neurochemical anomaly.
Pleased that everything was alright, Lydia disconnected it and set it back in its sanitized receptacle.”
It is wonderfully frustrating to see our narrator is unwittingly unreliable and nothing is able to be done.

Excellent world build and story writing here! This is something I’d expect to read in a published anthology, very well done! I look forward to see more work from you in the future.
BradytheJust chapter 1 . 12/11/2015
This story gave me shudders, Will there be a sequel? What happens to Lydia?
Great job and I love the title...a peaceful coexsistence.
Keepp it up :)
TanteLiz chapter 1 . 12/7/2015
Solemn, this is exquisite! What was the prompt for this in the review contest?