All Around the Watchtower – a short story by Ben Haskett

Creepy and enthralling like any
good sci-fi thriller!

A spaceship crew of 4 are jolted out of a long hibernation on their way back home by a collision warning from the vessel’s computer. What is presumed to be a “watchtower” looms before them, potentially “eyeballing” planets. The tower, though obviously created by someone or something, seems to have a life and character of its own. What follows is a clash of personalities and dire consequences as the more inquisitive risk unknown dangers to investigate despite the warnings of the more cautious. For this thing seems to be telling them something they can’t ignore. Something that alters the course of their journey, leaving us with the message “I hoped I’d made the right choice.”

I found the story gripping. Both creepy and enthralling, like any good sci-fi thriller, it almost reminded me of Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” If it had continued, it might have turned into something like that. The author’s detailed descriptions paint vivid images, placing us alongside the crew, and their different reactions make us feel the fear, the curiosity, the panic and anxiety. Surprisingly, for such a short story, I found the characters well developed in their distinct personalities and relationships to one another.

My only complaint was I wanted to read more and was disappointed when it ended. But like a riveting episode of a good series, it left me eagerly hoping there will be a next one!

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