Saturday, April 12, 2008

Justin Stanchfield's "Beyond the Wall" (novelette, science fiction): Description of an enigmatic alien structure on Titan

This story is a variant of the magical palace in "Mahabharata" - where Dropadi laughed at Duryodhan's discomfiture, & added fuel to his hatred. There must be other variants of it in folklore of both India & elsewhere.

Full text of this story is available for download.

Story summary.

A group of human explorers land on Titan near the "wall" - a very old & massive structure of obviously alien origin. The wall has many randomly spread out portals you can squeeze through. Little is known of what is on the other side of the wall, in spite of some old robotic explorations.

If you are coming down from sky, you should be able to land on either side of wall. Yet the story completely ignores the issue of what is visible about the interior side of wall from the sky.

Anyway, the crew find another spacecraft near where they land (they had probably chased it - thinking it was a booty hunters' ship), with current ship's captain dead inside the other ship!!

During their subsequent explorations by entering the portal, they will experience things that cannot even be sanely described - time sometimes moves much faster inside than outside the structure, your wishes are fulfilled inside the monument, ... I found these experiences rather incomprehensible.

Collected in.

  1. Gardner Dozois (Ed)'s "The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Collection" (2008).

Fact sheet.

First published: Eric T Reynolds (Ed)'s "Ruins: Extraterrestrial" (anthology), 2007.
Rating: B