This Long Vigil by Rhett C. Bruno (short story review)

June 12, 2015 | By | 2 Replies More

‘This Long Vigil’ is the perfect short story. While the voyage of the ark ship Hermes does raise questions I’d love to see answered in a longer tale, the glimpse we have is succinct.

Perihelion Magazine, June 2015.

Perihelion Magazine, June 2015.

Orion is nearing the end of his twenty-five year vigil as the only human attendant aboard the ark ship Hermes. With only hours of remaining before he returns to his hibernation chamber, Orion begins to identify the restlessness that has plagued his last days. He knows his duty as it is all he’s known. He was born to serve the ship and when he returns to his tank, he will live out his usefulness until he is recycled and replaced.

His existence is so narrow and yet he begins to ask the most human of questions: Is this all there is? He wants more. However, ‘more’ entails putting aside all he has been taught and betraying the only friend and companion he has, Dan, the artificial intelligence designed to operate the ship.

‘This Long Vigil’ is a poignant story. From the very beginning, Orion’s voice feels personal. He’s thoughtful and engaging and he asks the questions I would if I were in the same position. His desire to see more, do more, is tangible without being angst-ridden or overly dramatic.

The riddles posed by Dan throughout have been carefully chosen to both prick and drive the narrative forward. Each one touches on Orion’s restlessness and search for meaning. I loved this aspect of the story. Then we have the world-building, which is a tricky proposition in a short story. You want to convey enough to set the scene and tone, but not so much it overbalances a simple tale. I particularly like stories with a setting that would have me reaching for another story if available. ‘The Long Vigil’ manages to accomplish all this.

I’m familiar with Rhett C. Bruno’s talent from ‘The Circuit’ trilogy. This story only makes me eager to read more of his work. ‘This Long Vigil is one of the short stories included in the June issue of Perihelion Magazine. Links below.

Kelly Jensen

June 2015

(pub: Perihelion Magazine, June 2015. Full issue is available online. Story link:

check out websites: and

Tags: , , ,

Category: Magazines, Scifi

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/40/d502808907/htdocs/clickandbuilds/sfcrowsnest/wp-content/themes/wp-davinciV4.7/single.php on line 65

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Eamonn Murphy says:

    Nice to see stories in the little mags getting noted, Kelly but I wonder why you didn’t review the whole issue. Anyway, any attention is good.

    • Kelly Jensen says:

      Hi Eamonn! I agree, short fic needs more attention. In this instance, I was contacted by the author, specifically. I have reviewed entire magazines before, though, and might make the time to go back and read the rest of this magazine.

Leave a Reply