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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Without intending to disparage our contemporary writing world, I must observe that Silently in the Night by Clayton Graham harkens back well and fondly to the golden years of speculative short-story fiction collected from great masters like Asimov, Bradbury, and Clarke. In addition to clever and intriguing plots, never gratuitously complicated but always with a satisfying twist, these simple but startling tales unfold with zeal and concisely controlled acceleration. Or, to switch analogies, imbibing them is like popping juicy morsels on impulse rather than methodically pacing oneself at a sumptuous feast. Something to be consumed immediately upon the craving. Something to make one smile. And you will. You will also, at times, find yourself quite amazed.
One of the more amazing tales in Clayton Graham’s short story collection of speculative gems, Silently in the Night, is the one titled Vanguard, about a drilling operator on the dark side of the Moon who finds what he’s been seeking – a cavern big enough to economically house his mining colony’s entire population – only to discover something quite extraordinary and dramatically life-changing hidden within its dark and glassy walls. Something once alive. Maybe still. And, most certainly, not human. Graham handles this immediately enticing and engaging plot with the same brisk pace as all his other stories, lending a subtle sense of urgency to whatever revelation ultimately awaits … perhaps even this perfectly karmic ending. Populated by aliens and robots and plenty of frail humans, Silently in the Night exposes the relationships between them, and what it means to live and die. Morsels to enjoy.