Static


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Of all the starships in the Terran Space Fleet, the I.S.S. Mercury is probably the unluckiest ship in history. Not once, not twice, but many times over, the same hapless crew – give or take a few dozen casualties – on a supposed voyage of deep space exploration, stumble into the weird, wake the creepy and trip over the downright terrifying and possibly even supernatural…

While on a routine deep-space mission to chart the frontier of unknown space, they stumble across an apparent shipwreck that poses quite a mystery. How had the Kilgary – a cargo carrier last seen light years away forty years before – reached that part of space before the Mercury? Why couldn’t the cause of death of its crew be determined? What was in the deleted log entry of the Kilgary – and why had it been deleted?

The last thing Captain Stuart Flane expected while working to discover the answer to the enigma of the Kilgary, was a day-long running battle with the undead! Their troubles didn’t end there though, because the Mercury – their only ride home – was also in trouble!

And, as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the Mercury still had to contend with a crew of paranormal investigators from the most popular TV show, and a ship-load of cursed items!

Static” is the first title in the Panic! Horror In Space series by Christina Engela.

“Christina Engela delivers a fun but chilling book that contains many of the familiar horror story tropes only now they are in space and on distant planets of the haunted/abandoned persuasion. 4 stars.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer.

“I loved the suspense and thrill of it; I felt like any moment was going to break into horror. Zombies in space on a small, dead ship in the middle of nowhere is an utterly terrifying thought. I felt claustrophobic, like I was in that derelict with them… It’s refreshing to read some old-school action sci-fi that works more on the story than the plausibility of the sciences in it.” – Anike Kirsten, author of “Of Beasts And Men”.

Details:

  • Published: June 06, 2019
  • Words: 60,443
  • Pages: 252 pages (6×9 format paperback)
  • Duration: (to be announced) min (eBook narrated by)


Synopsis: [Spoiler Alert]

Static” is the first title in the series, and the story is divided into four parts: “Mercury Rising”, “Mercury Resurgent”, “Dead Center” and “Through A Dark Glassy”.

Mercury Rising

Captain Flane and his away team from the starship Mercury become trapped on the mystery ship they encountered in deep space. The Kilgary is a long-lost loderunner – last seen about 40 years previously, which the Mercury just happened to encounter by chance. Flane decided to stop and investigate, and a small away team boarded the Kilgary with him – and that’s just where their troubles began.

The Kilgary’s a dead hulk with only low power left. The crew’s dead, although no cause of death can be found. Strange log entries are discovered in the ship’s computer, and getting stranger as they go along… and then there’s the small matter of the one that was deleted. Why was it deleted, and by who? But that isn’t the worst of it, because there are worse, more terrifying secrets aboard the dead hulk of the Kilgary than deleted log entries.

Aboard the Kilgary, Captain Stuart Flane and his trusty Exo and best friend, Commander Vic Chapman find themselves hip-deep in zombies… and the lurching, drooling undead appear to have the upper hand! While fighting for their lives, the away team discover they have been cut off from communicating with the Mercury, and as their numbers dwindle in a cruel, bloody fashion, the last survivors – Flane and Chapman – realize the true horror of their situation!

Stranded on the Kilgary, cornered in an airlock with the undead beating on the inner door – and no escape other than to leap into space, they try to attract the attention of their crewmates visually. It is there that Flane and Vic are faced with the ugly, frightening truth: the Mercury – whose lights they see go off just then – is also in trouble!

Mercury Resurgent

Commander Vic Chapman and his best friend, Captain Stuart Flane are in a real tight spot. They’re stuck on the outside hull of a long-dead ship, the Kilgary. All the air they have is inside their viro-suits – and on the other side of the airlock door, a mass of the undead trying to get at them! Their troubles don’t end there though, because the Mercury – their only ride home – is also in trouble!

They take the massive risk of jumping across the empty space between the two ships – and succeed. Once they get back inside, they find a scene eerily like the one they just left – dead bodies everywhere, without an apparent cause. Wisely, Vic and Stu keep their suits on and their helmets closed to prevent infection.

Vic and Stu take refuge in the sickbay – where the pair also find the only other survivors of the crew of the Mercury. They hole up for a little while and try to figure things out. Fortunately the sickbay is an isolated environment and it’s quite safe for the survivors to move about in, free of their viro-suits. It also has access to ship-wide sensors and instruments, and they use these to examine the source and origin of the zombie infestation.

Now that they’ve done that much, they need to figure out how to get the ship back from the zombies who were their former shipmates… who for some weird reason, seem to be gathering in the ship’s engine room…

Dead Center

Some people enjoy watching paranormal TV shows – but not Stuart Flane, captain of the Terran starship Mercury.

Having just narrowly missed being a ghost – or worse, himself – after a weird incident involving reanimated corpses and alien nanobots, Flane wanted nothing to do with playing host to a bunch of paranormal investigators for a popular TV show called ‘Specter Adventures’.

Neither did he fancy a 12 hour jaunt on Floridia-7, which was described by some as ‘the most haunted abandoned Terran outpost in the galaxy’ – but since he owes Commodore Peters for covering his ass after he lost nearly his entire crew to the zoms, he reluctantly agrees. And that, pretty much, is where things start going off the rails.

Floridia-7 is quite a place – an abandoned, decaying mining complex that sprawls for miles – where strange things happen on a minute-by-minute basis – including one of the TV show’s team members vanishing mysteriously inside the body-drawer cabinet in the old mortuary – and another being chased down a corridor by a possessed wheelchair! It’s all Flane can do to escape!

Through A Dark Glassy

Haunted paintings. Possessed dolls. Nightmarish accursed items that leave messy trails of misery, horror and death behind them through the pages of history.

Regular folk would run a mile if someone offered them such a terrifying object, so what sort of person would want to actually collect them?

More importantly, why would anyone think it was safe to transport these items via a courier service with only a poorly printed paper sign reading “WARNING: ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN” stuck on the box?

What if someone did?

Even more of interest to Captain Flane of the intrepid starship Mercury, why did it always have to be his ship that drew the short straw?

The History of “Static”

Static” is the direct descendant of “Panic! Horror In Space” volumes #1 and #2 (and the then unpublished volume #3) originally published in 2017.

Panic! Horror In Space” is a science fiction-horror series. As Christina tells it, “If I have to be completely honest, the whole series started off as an accident. I know how that sounds, but it’s quite true! I don’t mean though, that I sat down behind this keyboard one day and just wrote the whole thing as some kind of accident!” The origins of what became “Panic! Horror In Space” began as a short essay for English class at high school in 1987. “The result was a pretty terrible (by my current standards) – a three page handwritten thing I called ‘The Curse’!”

Fast-forward to 2017, and one day she was going through her old writing archives (stored neatly, though dust-covered, in lever-arch files) and read it over… She decided to use it as the basis of a new short story.

The end-result was a short story called “Mercury Rising” – and it was a sci-fi horror story with a real cliff-hanger ending that didn’t bode well for the characters! In fact, the outcome looked quite dire! She loved it – and so did her then fiancée’ Wendy, and about three different readers, including a South African sci-fi author named Anike Kirsten – who wrote back to her, demanding to know what was going to happen next!

“Next?” She thought? “There is no next! That’s it! It’s supposed to end that way!”

“You know, you should really write more like this!” Wendy told her. “Perhaps make it into a series? A series of sci-fi horror stories!”

“I groaned,” Christina recounts, “because suddenly my head was filled with rushing, churning prophetic images of the future… science fiction… but filled with horror, dread… and zombies!”

Thus it was that Christina sat down at my keyboard again in 2017, and wrote “Mercury Resurgent”, the sequel – in which she pulled a rabbit out of a hat in perhaps the same way as one might unscrew the inscrutable. The result was “Panic! Horror In Space” – the series.

 Panic! Horror In Space #2 Front

She completed the first two volumes the same year (2017) and released them. The covers were rather nice and the stories were excellent… but the titles didn’t work out the way she wanted to, being simply “Panic! Horror In Space volume 1, 2, etc.” so finally in 2019, after disappointing sales, she took them back down and went back to the drawing board.

Instead of “vol #1, 2 etc.” she decided to give the volumes titles instead, and also doubled up their content. Where the original volumes only contained two stories each, the new volumes would contain 3 or 4, depending on length.

The result was “Static“, which contained all four parts that had originally been in vol 1 and 2. Christina published the first version of “Static” in 2019 on Lulu and Smashwords.

In 2019, Christina revised all the Panic!, Galaxii and Quantum Series books and redesigned all the covers so they all looked like part of their respective series – and unique from each other!

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Other

Reviews:

Page turning space sci-fi full of chills and fun from beginning to end…

“Christina Engela delivers a fun but chilling book that contains many of the familiar horror story tropes only now they are in space and on distant planets of the haunted/abandoned persuasion.

For what reads and feels like an anthology of shorter stories they are all linked by their events and of course ‘Captain Stuart Flane’ who by the end of it all has probably seen it all. From space ‘zoms’ to possessed dolls and ‘toys’ all the way to an abandoned formerly colonized planet that’s now inundated with ghost types playing havoc with furniture; our hero ‘Flane’ can only explain this stuff to the higher ups in the least absurd ways possible.

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy. There’s mystery, suspense, a lot of fun and of course that element of the unexpected which will keep readers turning the pages. Many of the sub genres of horror are represented with hauntings, zombies, possessions and urban exploration all of which are set in the science fiction universe of the ‘Panic! Horror in Space series’.

4 Stars – Thank you to the author for providing an e copy. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, February 13, 2020.

Awesome Indie Book Rec’s

…/ My next rec’ comes in the form of sci-fi by South African author Christina Engela with ‘Static’ which is a fusing of chilling horror and so much more. Those who have been tuning in for a while here at the Hall of Information will know that I’ve read and reviewed her stuff before; last year I took on the wonderful ‘Quantum’ series. (Book 1 review here.)

‘Static’ is a part the ‘Panic! Horror Space’ series and combines elements of horror with comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can expect a review for the next story in the series soon!

Recent review:

‘Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy.’ /…” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, March 02, 2020.

Reader’s Comments: 


If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2020.

 

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