QUICK REVIEW: Fearful Symmetries – Rob Sanders

Available either within the Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters anthology or as a standalone e-short, Rob Sanders’ Fearful Symmetries takes a rare look back in time at a young Inquisitor Kryptmann in the early days of the Imperium’s interactions with the tyranid menace. Deep within an Adeptus Mechanicus forge world, Kryptmann oversees the dangerous process of gaining first-hand experience of captured tyranid specimens within a controlled environment. The risks involved pale into insignificance against the urgent need for information to aid in combating and halting this growing threat…

While far from your usual tyranid-featuring story – this takes place in a lab, behind toughened glass and thorough safety measures – there’s still something powerful, chilling even, about how Sanders depicts the tyranids here. Long before the Imperium fully understood the threat they posed, Kryptmann’s matter of fact, scientific observations are at once impressively accurate and painfully naive. The overriding sense is of distaste, not the fear that usually characterises interactions with the tyranids, and Sanders does an excellent job of portraying that sense of scientific sterility about the whole exercise as well as a nagging feeling of tension. The battlefield may be absent, but this is an intriguing depiction of one of the early stages of this particular war.

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