Glenn Rolfe appears to be a busy man with his fingers on more than a half-dozen buttons at once. Out of Range is my first slice from Mr. Rolfe’s creative pie, or rather multiple slivers of pie at once: three shorts. Science fiction dipped in terrified and hopeless human blood. The first of the three stories, Not of This World, jumps right in with a psychological terror that quickly reveals itself to be something more, adding layers. Important for a short story. From there it spirals into chaos and terror before reaching the abrupt and befitting conclusion.
There are horrible human dictators, kings, queens, militants the world over. It wouldn’t take long to find a source influence reading to stand in for the cause terror in The Astronauts. This second short reads like a condensed version of 1984 or the breakdown of the imprisoned Evey scene from the film adaptation of V for Vendetta (I haven’t read the comic. I know, I should probably do that). It’s grim, somewhat scattered and a smidge predictable, though not to the point of ruination.
Saving the best for last, Out of Range. This premise is nothing new, blockbuster films, best-selling books and campfire spook tales have all rubbed the magic lamp that is the alien invasion. It’s an easy idea and an easy idea to like (or hate, but enjoy reading about). It’s fast, with multi-dimensional characters and action unraveling with force and terror.
As for as three short alien invasion stories in an inexpensive bundle, you can do a hell of a lot worse. Can't really go wrong for a buck.