Escaping Midnight: What Goes on in the Walls at Night #3 by Andrew Schrader is a collection of short stories based around a collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Some of the stories are short and sweet, whereas others allow the characters to develop and mature. The tales are as told to the narrator by a faceless, nameless beast he comes across “between the walls”. One story focuses on a woman who decides the best way to punish her uncaring and thoughtless, wealthy husband is to extract his consciousness before he dies and keep it in a hard drive where he can see and feel everything that is going on around him but can do nothing to change it or communicate. In another, reminiscent of “big brother” watching, a scientist has developed a scanning machine which can detect future criminal tendencies in advance of them appearing in the subject. Society can then, it seems, take proactive action to protect its citizens by locking them up before the crimes occur. All children will be scanned at age sixteen and those who fail will be dealt with accordingly. All goes well until the powers that be determine that the best way to get the public onside with this measure will be to perform the scan on the scientist’s own son in front of a world-wide television audience.
This collection of short stories offers a glimpse into a world that some would describe as madness. Escaping Midnight: What Goes on in the Walls at Night #3 is a chilling journey into what might be, especially with the continued advent of technology and AI. Author Andrew Schrader has plumbed the depths of his imagination to bring these stories to life. Not normally a fan of the short-story format, preferring the character development that full novels permit, I was nonetheless dragged into his weird and wonderful world. As always, with any collection of work, there are some that stir the consciousness and resonate with me, more than others. A couple of the stories I found particularly compelling in this collection were: The Cosmos of Meaning and See You in Theaters. The Cosmos of meaning particularly struck me, as a reader, because much of the philosophy on life, espoused by the character aligned with my own thoughts on the subject. See You in Theaters was great for another reason – simply because it was so weird. It was also long enough to allow some character development and I appreciated that. This is a wonderful, easily read, collection of the weird and wonderful. I can definitely recommend it and am inspired to check out Volumes 1 & 2 of the series. That’s a compliment, for sure, to this author.