Station 16

Station 16
Station 16 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse/SAF - 978-1-61655-481-1
  • Release date: 2014
  • UPC: 9781616554811
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Horror, Period drama

In 1997 life is bleak and dull for the Russian soldiers stationed in Nova Zemlya, so bleak and dull in fact that their diversions extend to risking the lives of rookie soldiers by having them provoke the polar bears. However, the situation is about to become a lot more interesting and dangerous as they receive a radio transmission from Station 16, supposedly closed down during Stalin’s lifetime. A few soldiers are sent out to investigate.

The mood is set well from the start, and when the soldiers arrive at the long deserted camp the expectation is going to be of something grim awaiting them. Station 16 is a foreboding place in the winter darkness and artist Hermann supplies a beautifully created atmosphere as the soldiers stumble around not knowing what’s happening other than time isn’t behaving as it should.

As supplied by Yves H the plot ensures they’re mice running around a maze with the lights blinking on and off. It’s a circular plot with aspects seeming mysterious at the start explained by the end, and it’s meticulously constructed down to the placement of objects. It’s also utterly impossible, adding to the fear and confusion, and plays well with historical possibility. During Soviet times state control was absolute, and among the elite the lives of ordinary people were entirely dispensable. An afterword explains the mystery surrounding Nova Zemlya prompting the story.

Everything is effectively built around a fearful mood and anyone who enjoys wondering what’s behind the creaky moving door in the empty building will relish the shocks of Station 16.