Title: "In the Stillness Between the Stars"
Author: Rivera, Mercurio
Published: Asimov's Science Fiction 2019-09-00
Length: novellette
Keywords: cityship, hibernation, horror, sublight
Review by: Don Kuenz

Mercurio Rivera


When the wolf’s in town, it gobbles you down, down, down. . . .

As the Seed cityship transitions between Neptune and Pluto, en route to Proxima b, psychotherapist Dr Emilio Garcia prematurely awakes from hibernation. The cityship's Artificial Intelligence, LEE3, explains how it also awakened another passenger, Angie Velasquez, after Angie's nightmares intensified.

The alien tech REMpods used for hibernation suppress all oneiric neurological activity. You're not supposed to dream, let alone suffer nightmares. Angie's in Aft District 7, some distance away from Emilio's present position. So, Emilio plunges into skyweb catwalk darkness above a vast cityship in power-save mode.

Title, cover, & characters

In the Stillness Between the Stars

Character list:
Dr Emilio Garcia–Psychotherapist on the cityship Seed.
LEE3–The cityship's Artifical Intelligence.
Angie Velasquez–Library Tech engineer.
Aulani Kahanahuni–Pluto's Head Librarian.


Rivera's story truly grabbed me, and apparently a lot of others, given how it made the short list of Asimov's Readers' Award Finalists [1]. It also earned a place of prominence on the cover of Asimov's. The shadowy entity shown on Dominic Harman's cover bears a striking resemblance to a plague doctor [2].



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