Escaping Midnight

What Goes On in the Walls at Night #3

Fiction - Science Fiction
218 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Escaping Midnight by Andrew Schrader is another weird and wonderful collection of compelling short stories in the What Goes On in the Walls series. A wealthy heiress with a sinister plan to destroy her cold-hearted husband's business and his sanity seems to be going to plan. From his virtual prison, the husband plots his escape and revenge. Alfred Texeira is about to release a great invention, a scanner which detects future criminal behavior in all humans when they reach their sixteenth birthday. This will combat future crime for sure. The launch of the scanner is set to be revealed to the world with his son, Shane, as the guinea pig, but when Shane's results reveal he will develop killer tendencies, there is only one thing to do to keep Shane from a life in prison. When the clock strikes at midnight in 2026, the population's behaviors and thoughts will be controlled and monitored; their only chance of escape is to stay away from the internet, but is this practical? Finally, a house with a secret doorway leads to a horrific discovery that draws a young girl and her family into a world where they must make a choice that could change their lives for the better, but there is a sinister price to pay.

Each story is based around a fascinating hypothesis in the future which will draw you in and take you on a spine-chilling ride every time. The author has a clear talent for descriptive narrative which grips your imagination immediately. The characters were also truly memorable; some I definitely would not want to meet in person as they were quite disturbed. Many of the stories would make fantastic novels in their own right. Some of the stories will shock and surprise you with their uncanny twists while others contain serious messages about human behavior and morality. I would certainly suggest that if you have a vivid imagination, you definitely need to read this brilliant book with the lights on.

Lit Amri

Escaping Midnight (What Goes On in the Walls at Night, Vol. 3) by Andrew Schrader creatively molds the contemporary issues of society today into a collection of bizarre and twisted short stories. As a newcomer to this series, I found the prologue a pleasant welcome and introduction to the concept of this fascinating anthology. Featuring 13 tales, Schrader's Escaping Midnight combines a number of themes. In "The Half-Printed Man", a widow’s torturous revenge against her late’s husband consciousness spins out of control. It's a sci-fi horror that has a classic element of fear that readers will love. "With Withered Hands" is an addition to the disturbing tales of nuns. "Scan Them All, Every Last One" is a thought-provoking story on safety and prevention: "On their sixteenth birthday, every boy and girl will be scanned in a nationwide sweep. Those found guilty will be confined according to Council Laws." Deep facial profiling as a way to predict and prevent crimes? In its essence, it's about the old generation destroying the young before they could reach their potential.

Schrader's writing style complements each of the stories' core subject matters. Some are straightforward such as "Triggered", which relates to how scarily ingrained the internet is-particularly social media-in our lives today and how it can be used to control the masses. Others are a bit more metaphorical. "Still You Hear the Soldier Scream" relates to the men and women who are fighting for their country, only for the majority of them or, if I may be so bold, all of them to be neglected in return. "Wreckoning" is about how young people have to live in a degrading society and system once they transition to adulthood. Overall, this third installment of What Goes On in the Walls at Night series is an entertaining and intriguing read for its long-time fans and new readers, with an exclusive special bonus at the end.

Grant Leishman

Escaping Midnight: What Goes on in the Walls at Night #3 by Andrew Schrader is a collection of short stories based around 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 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 story, 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 on board with this measure will be to perform the scan on the scientist’s own son in front of a worldwide television audience.

This collection of short stories offers a glimpse into a world that some would describe as madness. Escaping Midnight 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 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 struck me 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.