The Last of Us meets Bird Box in Your Shadow Half Remains, a post-apocalyptic tale where eye contact causes people to spiral into a deadly, violent rage. Coming from Nightfire in February 2024!
Riley has not seen a single human face in longer than she can reckon. No faces, no eyes. Not if you want to survive.
But when a new neighbor moves in down the road, Riley’s overwhelming need for human contact makes her throw caution to the wind. Somehow, in this world where other people can mean a gruesome, bloody death, Ellis makes her feel safe. As they grow closer, Riley’s grip on reality begins to slip and she can no longer fight her deepest desires.
All Riley wants to do is look.
Here’s what author Sunny Moraine has to say:
“When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I remember—in the midst of the anxiety and distress—being interested to see what it might do to the sorts of fiction people produced, and in particular what it might do to my fiction. I imagine some people would prefer their fiction to be a place of escapism, where things like a devastating global pandemic don’t follow you, but then there are people like me, who make their fiction a place to work through nightmares and confront demons.
So when Tor Nightfire invited me to write a story for volume two of Come Join Us by the
Fire, it didn’t surprise me to discover that I was writing what was in many ways a pandemic
story. That shorter story contained elements that whispered to me of something potentially
much longer and deeper, and it became Your Shadow Half Remains.
As I’ve implied, one might read it and encounter anxieties which have been acutely
common to many if not most of us over the past three years—the torment of isolation, the self-
protective tendency to normalize what would once have been bizarre and horrifying, the panicky
confusion of not understanding the full nature of what threatens you, and the fear of the danger
that too-close contact with others might contain. But I think it’s also important to note that
everything on that list has represented anxiety for many of us all along. For me, that was one of
the most disturbing things about the pandemic as it unfolded: how so much of what we were up
against felt to me simultaneously extraordinary and mundane—so essentially familiar. The
potential danger and existential horror of intimacy is, in particular, a theme I’ve been working
with for a long time, as is the scenario of two people who really should not be getting intensely
emotionally involved with each other doing precisely that in spite of all the warning signs. And
obsessive-compulsive violent intrusive thoughts are something I’ve dealt with for most of my life.
In that sense, I think that this is also just a fundamentally human story about
fundamental human fears. The monster that might be lurking inside us. The possibility that we
can never entirely trust our own memory or perception of reality. The potential to lose control at
the worst moment and say or do something we can never take back. The way love and desire
are so often interwoven with dread, and the dark mirror that weaving can create.
And, in the end, what happens when everything else melts away and all that remains is
us facing the other, what that reckoning might mean, and the terrifying prospect that it might be
ultimately incomprehensible—or that it might mean nothing at all.”
From Kristin Temple, associate editor at Nightfire:
“This book is absolutely gut-wrenching. Sunny has perfectly captured the isolation, confusion,
and panic of a world-changing event that really resonates in these COVID times and will for
years to come.
There are so many lines and passages from this book that I wanted to highlight and hold close.
The writing is beautiful, but it’s more than that. It felt like Sunny reached right into my brain, and
witnessed every anxious thought and every coping mechanism I had. Then they put all of those
fears into words and crafted a story that’s terrifying yet also painfully authentic and relatable. I
saw so much of myself in Riley, who is messy, unreliable, and so very painfully human. I think
readers will too.
Your Shadow Half Remains is a brilliant meditation on madness, isolation, and humanity. I can’t
wait for readers to experience it.”
SUNNY MORAINE is a writer of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and generally weird stuff, with stories published in outlets like Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, and Uncanny Magazine. A refugee from academia and the possessor of a PhD in sociology, Sunny also writes, narrates, and produces a serial horror drama podcast called Gone, and served as a writer on the Realm fiction podcast series The Shadow Files of Morgan Knox. They live near Washington, D.C in a house that may or may not be haunted with their husband and two cats.
Your Shadow Half Remains will hit shelves February 2024!
Listen to Moraine’s Short Story in Come Join Us By the Fire:
If Living is Seeing, I’m Holding My Breath