My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Agents of Dreamland, a Lovecraft-fueled novella from Caitlin R. Kiernan, is a trippy, non-linear story that has a bit of an X-Files vibe about it. From a mythos standpoint, Kiernan explores the apocalyptic fate of mankind following first contact with the Fungi from Yuggoth and the investigation of a secret government agency in the years prior.
This is a short, but dense, narrative, and Kiernan hops around from one time period to the next. There are a lot of awesome ideas crammed into this novella, from the mystery of those briefly lost hours when the New Horizon's satellite went dark just before reaching Pluto, to the investigation of a small group of murdered cultists and the strange, fungal infection that has seized their bodies. For the most part, though, the focus is on present-day (well, July 2015 to be exact), but Kiernan plays fast and loose with the timeline, presenting information in non-linear dollops.
At its core, Agents of Dreamland is more concerned with ideas and possibilities than it is in presenting a straightforward narrative with resolution. This is more like a slice of life vignette set against the backdrop of Lovecraft's cosmic horror, and the story itself demands plenty of thought well after the last page turns shut. Kiernan gives us a set of intriguing characters placed in a dynamic world, with several book's worth of possibilities encircling each of them. And I hope to sweet, dear Cthulhu that she'll write those books!
[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]
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