It is often said that the perfect form for science fiction is the novella. I sometimes wish they’d say this about fantasy – it might help cut down on the number of doorstop trilogies that leave dents below the Albedo One letterbox. But I digress. The other day the postman delivered an unexpected but, ultimately, very welcome package. I was expecting a DVD, but when I impatiently ripped open the package it revealed a book – a novella in fact, written by Australian author, David Conyers. I am familiar with some of David’s short fiction so I was fascinated to see what he had come up with this time. The Eye of Infinity (Perilous Press, 2011) is, as I discovered by checking the back cover, part of a series that began with The Spiralling Worm and is published as part of an on-going project called New Millennium Mythos – which features stories concerning, informed by or paying homage to H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.
This is the story of Harrison Peel, an Australian special forces veteran, who has been previously thrust into an intergalactic (trans-universal?) struggle with nameless horrors from the depths of space (to put it in terms you might recognise). Peel is transported through a series of wormholes that convey him to a place on the far side of time and space from which the US government (his current employer) is observing the heart of the universe – The Eye of Infinity. Unlike most journeys through wormholes this one takes weeks rather than seconds as Peel and his guide follow a trail leading across and through alien planets to a series of gates that finally bring them to their destination. I loved the journey and the dangers faced. Then back to Earth for another perilous journey into the heart of the Atacama desert, where he must compromise a secret facility and… well that would be giving away too much.
The Eye of Infinity is a splendid mix of SF and cosmic horror. The action is unceasing and the pace relentless. It is almost a relief when Peel pauses to consider the dilemma presented by the relationship he has with his girlfriend and considers the one that she wishes. Peel is a hero in the true sense and one you can enjoy spending an all-too-short 84 pages with. The novella itself, though part of a series, is comfortably self-contained, although the ending points towards a continuing story. Having read this much I would love to see Harrison Peel’s adventures at novel length.
I have only two complaints – and anyone who knows me will understand how few that is – and both of them are aimed at the publisher and specifically the cover design. The artwork for the cover is aggressively small press – and I say that as a long-time small press person. The second complaint is that if I hadn’t known what the author’s name was supposed to be I really would have had trouble telling it from the ridiculous font used. Sorry, Perilous Press, you kind of dropped the ball on this one. But thanks and congratulation for all your hard work in bringing David Conyers to his audience. He’s a terrific writer and I hope you both keep at it. Publishing needs you both right now.