Review of “Sinister Universe” by R. Michael

Image by ChadoNihi from Pixabay


The first to study the vastness of space with the new-christened interstellar engine finds “life” harder to define than previously believed. Their mission is to “explore, seek new life, and assess any threat” if they found sentient extraterrestrials. In doing so, they overturn some accepted science. For example, string theory will have to be modified. Its multiple universes don’t exist. There’s only one besides our own. Only one other universe exists. It bumps into ours occasionally, events which might be behind claims of the supernatural.

They discover a nebula on the edge of the galaxy and watch stars come into existence. The nebula goes dark.


I read in wonder at the many things going on in this story. The good stuff winks out, and the bad stuff hits the fan. This is cosmic horror of in the vein of H. P. Lovecraft. The people have done little, if anything, to provoke the tragedy. Their only trespass is curiosity. Even then, the offending curiosity is not their own; it’s their job. Unlike Lovecraft, the story doesn’t build horror on horror but begins with the wonders of space travel and discovery. The crew sees stars being born! They start uncovering mysteries about dark energy and string theory.

Unfortunately, the ending was not a surprise. The rest of the story has me hooked.


According to his blurb, author R. Michael lives in rural Minnesota and is happily married.  He has one son and a border collie foot warmer.  He has four books published on Amazon and has works published in 365 Tomorrows, Altered Reality Magazine, and Ink & Fairydust Magazine.

He also has at least one other story in Theme of Absence, reviewed here.

“Sinister Universe” can be read here.

Title: “Sinister Universe”
Author: R. Michael
First published: Theme of Absence, August 28, 2020

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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