The Communication Room by Adam Aresty (e-book review).

May 16, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘The Communication Room’ is certainly Science Fiction but it’s also a thriller and a creepy one at that. You can tell it’s going to be an odd story as it starts with a section titled ‘About The Communication Room’. I could be lazy and just cut and paste this section into this review as it sets the scene for the majority of this story. The section is only two paragraphs long so it would easily fit but I’m not going to do that. You see there is actually far more to this novella than just the Communication Room.

TheCommunicationRoom

In this aforementioned room, there are a number of telephone devices covering the historical period starting with the American Civil War and ending about a hundred years into the future. There is also Science Officer Leonard Ackerman who’s not at all happy to be there but given the alternative it’s the best he can hope for. Ackerman is part of a military science team researching ways to overcome a deadly threat to humanity. The research team are housed in a secret and secure complex deep underground. It was secure until his former friend and colleague O’Leary starts killing everyone.

The first part of the story describes Ackerman’s flight from O’Leary and how he manages to get into the Communication Room which is essentially just another research laboratory. It has been equipped for a particular line of research which is beyond Ackerman’s clearance so he doesn’t know anything about it. Just to make things worse, as he locks the door to the room, he’s informed by an automated announcement that the room is now sealed and won’t be opened until the test is completes. All well and good but Ackerman doesn’t know what the test is or what he’s supposed to do.

The majority of the story takes place in the Communication Room. In the centre of the room, suspended from the ceiling, is a glass cell which contains a table. On the table are about a dozen telephones which appear to be from various points in America’s past although there’s a current model and one which may be from the future. Access to the glass cell is via a wire bridge suspended over a jet black floor. This might seem creepy on its own but O’Leary’s still outside the room armed with a knife calling to Ackerman to let him in so he can get the job done. This doesn’t help settle Ackerman’s nerves but things notch up several levels when one of the phones start ringing.

There are lots of things I like about this story. Firstly, it is an alternative history story so the author has a lot of room for manoeuvre. Not everything progresses as we would expect it to with several major events which thankfully didn’t happen in our timeline. Aresty makes full use of the freedom to explore an alternative history to build a fully plausible scenario for one of the most insidious threats to humankind as you are ever likely to find. It is very well thought out and frightening concept.

I’m not sure if it is the writing style or the content but there are sections which just feel sort of creepy. There’s also a sense of unease that develops as Ackerman struggles to cope and understand what is going on. I can’t say too much more about the actual plot without giving away some spoilers. What I can say, though, is that it is very well-written making it very difficult to put down once you start reading it. It hooks you in and your almost compelled to continue reading just to see what happens next. I’m not sure if I should be disappointed that it was only 77 pages in length or relieved that I can now get on with other less important things like eating and sleeping.

‘The Communication Room’ by Adam Aresty is an excellent read and for the e-book version, well worth the asking price.

Andy Whitaker

May 2016

(pub: Strange Fictions Press. 77 page ebook. Price: £ 2.08 (UK). ASIN: B01EUE352G)

check out website: www.vagabondagepress.com/

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Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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About the Author ()

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties. My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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