Whisper in the Night

Stand Still, Stay Silent — Minna Sundberg

Stand Still Stay Silent

Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent is an on-going fantasy webcomic.

Ninety years ago, a mysterious contagion known as the Rash swept across the Earth, infecting almost every mammalian species. Those not lucky enough to die were transformed into hideous monsters. Inside the Known World — Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden — a quarter of a million humans survive. The rest of the planet is deemed the Silent World and sensible humans, particularly those without inborn immunity to the Rash, avoid it.

The Nordic Council of History and Rediscovery approves a bold proposal to explore some of the nearer regions of the Silent World. (A mistake, really; at least one of the Council members didn’t understand what they were approving.)

The Council-provided budget is smaller than the backers of the proposal had hoped. The backers set out to recruit affordably priced volunteers from the ranks of the foolish, the desperate, the poorly informed, and the expendable.

Enter Tuuri Hotakainen (driver/mechanic), Lalli Hotakainen (scout/mage), Emil Västerström (cleanser/pyromaniac), Sigrun Eide (commander), and Mikkel Madsen (medic/cook/voice of reason).


While their equipment is second-rate and their commander may well be an enthusiastic death-seeker, at least the team has been selected from the ranks of the immune. (Well, except for Tuuri, who values adventure above caution.) Each team member has some useful skills, as well as some personal shortcomings. One of which is they don’t share a common language, which might lead to a wee bit of difficulty in communication.

Their ranks rise to six when Reynir Árnason joins them. He signed on as a ship’s hand. When he discovered he would not be allowed to leave the ship at its last stop, Bornholm, he smuggled himself off the ship in a crate of supplies. Only two problems:

  • The ship hadn’t docked at Bornholm, but at a desolate outpost where the expedition was waiting needed supplies.

  • Reynir has no obviously useful skills to offer the expedition. He’s just an extra mouth, eating supplies that are already meagre.

Wait, make that three problems: like Tuuri, Reynir is vulnerable to the Rash.

The expedition’s organizers withheld one small bit of information from the Council. Scientific mapping is only a small part of the expedition’s purpose. In fact, the team have been ordered to seek out and recover books, which the organizers will sell for lots of money. It’s a get-rich-quick scheme that more than justifies sending a collection of misfits out into a demon-haunted world.

Despite their differences, it does not take long for Tuuri and the rest to form bonds, to become friends. It’s a pity not all of them will be coming home.

 ~oOo~

Readers are led to believe that only a handful of people in the Nordic countries survived the epidemic. Later it becomes clear that there may other pockets of survivors. They’re probably outside the areas easily reached by Nordic ships. They too would be chary of the Silent World (like the Nordics) so exploration and contact would be unlikely. However, it is a bit odd that no radio transmissions have been picked up.

The author has posted close to one thousand pages in this webcomic; the effort has taken five years. Don’t be daunted; you can start off slow. You’ll find the art impressive and the story engrossing. You’ll probably be tempted to read on … and then on …

It would have been easy for the author to set her naive, ill-prepared crew as a collection of idiots whose potential deaths would be at most the subject of black comedy. That is not the direction the webcomic takes. Despite their various flaws, they are all likeable people [1] and even the least prepared of them does their best to keep their allies and friends alive (and to provide the reader with reasons to care whether or not they live.).

Stand Still, Stay Silent is available here.

1: Even the expedition backers, morally deficient self-serving reprobates, can be charming. But then, if they weren’t charming, it would be harder to recruit patsies.


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