In an elite school on a colonized Mars, students Hal Leon and Akio Sato struggle against their institution to create a groundbreaking invention, a camera that images dark matter. After risking their academic careers to run it’s first successful test, the pair’s exhilaration shifts to horror once the camera unveils something sinister in the dark matter web.
Eric Malikyte’s Echoes of Olympus Mons is told through the point of view of Hal, a sarcastic loner who deals with his religious trauma by self medicating with alcohol, and by keeping everyone around him at a cool distance (with the sometimes exception of his roommate Akio). Hal is headstrong and volatile, and pursues his theories on dark matter with a fervor that is reminiscent of Victor Frankenstein’s obsession with reanimation. Like Frankenstein, he is not dissuaded when scoffed at by peers and superiors alike, and he hurdles forward with his work with reckless ambition, only stopping in horror once it’s too late to turn back.
The fast-paced narrative builds suspense, and Malikyte skillfully draws readers in to life on Mars, where inhabitants feel both isolated and a suffocating sense of panopticism. There is enough blending of science fiction and horror that the danger is plausible and frightening. The character’s surreal interpretation of what happens to him and his peers is eerily disorienting, and at times macabre.
Echoes of Olympus Mons is Eric Malikyte’s debut novel, released on April 11th 2019. It is available through Amazon in print and as an e-book on the Kindle app. Fans of cosmic horror and gothic science fiction will want to add this story to their collection.