About Panic! Horror In Space


Panic! Horror In Space” is a series of science-fiction-horror stories in the same setting featuring mostly the same regular characters, with the occasional introduction of new characters or settings. The premise of the concept was to create a horror-sci-fi story in a series of connected short fiction installments.

The series came about by complete chance, as Christina was in the process of finishing some unrelated incomplete short stories which were intended to go into a sequel for “Space Sucks!” called “Space Really Sucks!“. Some of the short stories she was working on at the time were originally essays and compositions from high school nearly 30 years earlier, including “Code Red” and another called “The Curse” from 1987, which at the close of 2016 she reworked into masterful suspense slash horror story and renamed it “Mercury Rising” for inclusion into that second volume of “Space Sucks!”.

What sort of scenarios or horror plot devices can readers expect to see in this series? Things like zombies, ghosts, haunted or cursed objects as well as assorted kinds of paranormal activity are likely to feature in a variety of settings such as deserted colonies or outposts, and derelict space ships or stations. Christina is known for her strong character writing and suspense, and is quickly making a name for herself in the horror genre as well!

Christina – who generally considered herself a sci-fi/fantasy writer until the ‘Panic!’ series – despite also occasionally writing numerous horror plot-devices and characters into many of her stories previously – and was somewhat hesitant to identify herself as a horror writer proper, regarding the writing of “Mercury Rising” as something of an experiment.

South African sci-fi author Anike Kirsten reviewed that first story very positively in early 2017, and bolstered by by that review and encouragement from several other readers she sent that story to, she made the choice to write a sequel and turn the story into a series on its own! Christina has frequently given the credit for encouraging the author to write a sequel (“Mercury Resurgent“) and turn it into a standalone sci-fi horror series to her fiance’e, Wendy K. Gloss.

Each volume that would be released would contain two distinctly separate stories of around 13,000 words each, and these stories would not necessarily be of a ‘part 1 & part 2’ nature as in the first volume (April 2017). This means that while both stories in each volume would feature the same core group of characters, they would typically encounter a different scenario in each story, as in the second volume (due August 2017).

The series was launched (April 06, 2017) with “Mercury Rising” and “Mercury Resurgent” appearing in the first volume (#1), where the reader is introduced to main characters Stuart Flane and Vic Chapman, and some of the crew of the ill-fated starship Mercury. 

The story continues in volume #2, which features “Dead Center” where the (new) crew of the Mercury has to ‘babysit’ a TV crew on a purportedly haunted abandoned mining facility with disastrous consequences, and “Through A Dark Glassy” in which the Mercury is sent to assist a cargo ship in trouble, only to discover that the cause for the loderunner Marconi’s distress – and now theirs – is a box load of haunted items! The second volume is scheduled for release at the end of July 2017.

Work is already underway on volume #3 which is set to feature “The Big Rain” and another as yet untitled story.

More stories are to follow in subsequent installments.

Characters:

These are some of the more prominent or regular characters that appear in the series, others that are more incidental and transient are not listed.

  • Chapman, Vic – Commander, Executive Officer of the Terran starship I.S.S. Mercury. Vic is the long-time friend of Captain Flane, and a secondary main character in his own right. Despite coming forward more as man of action than thought, Vic is also drawn to matters of historical interest, arts and academics and philosophies.
  • Flane, Stuart – Captain of the Terran starship I.S.S. Mercury. Stu Flane is the heroic leader of the crew – who has the unhappy distinction of having his reports ridiculed at Fleet H.Q. level by flag officers who find his reports featuring paranormal events suspicious at best! He fears his chances of being promoted are outweighed by his chances of his being fired. Out of a torpedo launcher.
  • Franklin, Paul – Lieutenant, nurse aboard the Terran starship I.S.S. Mercury.
  • Killian, Fred – Doctor, chief medical officer of the Terran starship I.S.S. Mercury. A genteel, reserved man, Fred Killian has a lengthy career with the Pioneer Fleet and is known for his bedside manner and for not swearing. Except in unusually stressful circumstances, in which he may also use the word “dude”.
  • Mahoney, Samuel – junior pilot & assistant of the loderunner Marconi.
  • Severance, Abel Dyke – Senior pilot of the loderunner Marconi.
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