Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 234
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Joe Chase and Ned Bowden are damaged men. They each bear scars from surviving the world they were born in. Deep scars, both physical and emotional.
When fate offers its first kind act by bringing the two together, suddenly their scars don’t seem so bad, and their lives don’t feel so empty.
Yet that kindness comes at a price.
Just as Joe and Ned begin to experience true happiness for the very first time, the world turns on them again.
But this time it turns on everyone.
“Nightfall” is the name of the classic Isaac Asimov short story about the coming of darkness to a world lit by sunlight at all times. In John Inman’s “Nightfall” a catastrophic solar storm brings darkness to the world, and we see the resulting events through the eyes of two San Diego men – Joe and Ned.
Joe and Ned live next door to each other in a San Diego apartment building; Joe works at the famed San Diego zoo and Ned works at a deli. They have been friends for a while, with each man hoping for something more than mere friendship. When a solar storm occurs, first turning the suns blood red and eventually cloaking the world in darkness, the two men cling together to survive and quickly fall in love.
I like the premise of this story, but its implementation just does not work for me. This is like watching a suspense movie with the two MCs on the run from the unknown terror … and then they stop in the alley to talk about their relationship. In this case, Joe and Ned know little about what is happening in the world (no media, no phones) and while there are fires, gunshots and helicopters circling in the skies, they stop everything to explore their relationship … time and time again. There is little in-depth character development of the two MCs (nor any secondary characters) and I do not feel a strong chemistry between the two so it ia difficult to suspend disbelief and fully buy into their actions and decisions.
Also, the pace and flow of the story are very uneven. Joe and Ned seem to go from one plan to another …
- First, Joe insists on going to work, then they are going to leave the city, but first they go to the zoo to feed the animals, end up at the deli where Ned works only to run into a mob, encounter several people who try to kill them while hurling gay slurs, decide to go into the downtown area (which is on fire with police barricades and bullets flying) so they can learn what is happening, then they end up trying to get a lost child into some hotel …
I cannot recommend “Nightfall” and give it 2.5 stars. As always, I am aware that other readers may not share my reservations about the story.