Bafflegab’s new series of Hammer Chillers kicks off with this spooky short from Stephen Gallagher, who has been responsible, for those of us with long memories, for some excellent audio SF previously (I still listen to The Last Rose of Summer from time to time) and a series of engrossing novels.
The Box is based on an award-winning short story Gallagher wrote a few years back which translates very well to this format. There’s a steadily rising air of threat throughout the story, as the narrator can’t understand why someone has refused to return to the training exercise. But when it happens again, he has to ask – is it haunted?
Scenes set underwater are both a gift and a curse for audio: the soundscape is very distinct, but the natural muffling has to be compensated for. There’s a very neat explanation for how this is sorted out in this tale…
Verdict: A neat tale whose last line will haunt you long after it’s finished. 8/10