BEYOND THE GREAT, BLOODY, BRUISED, SILENT VEIL OF THIS WORLD | A book review by weird speculative fiction author Ted Fauster

by Jordan Krall

A book review by weird speculative fiction author Ted Fauster

This was my first Jordan Krall, and it definitely will not be my last. More of an epic cosmic poem than a novella, this short read very quickly grabs your attention in the most improbable way–in the form of a swelling, disjointed narrative.

Told not only through an unreliable narrator, but almost entirely void of any guideposts whatsoever, the reader is cast into the emptiness of space (somewhere between Mars and Earth) and fed bits and pieces of a sprawling saga told via numerous viewpoints by characters who are all very likely suffering from what is revealed to be Barrington’s Syndrome (go ahead and google it; there’s nothing out there), an affliction similar to Asperger’s that is affiliated with interstellar travel .

The short version: If Syd Barrett and Stanislaw Lem were stirred together in a Petri dish, the result would be this novel.

There’s much more at work here than can be adequately vocalized, including the channeling of Vonnegut and Burroughs. It stands to reason I simply have to read this book again. And again. I very enthusiastically plan to.

The narrative is so overwhelmingly powerful and addictive. I literally absorbed the entire story in less than two hours. Upon finishing, I felt the same sensation I did after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time. In a weird way, I also felt like I had somehow just sold my soul to the devil.

[…We are losing our sight, anyway. We are losing nearly everything. Generation after generation, the information becomes watered down and distorted and then watered down again and again and again until nothing remains but a ghost behind a veil….]

Krall bends time and reality. His wordcraft is nothing short of stellar, and his timing is impeccable. This is a writer who wields words and cadence like weaponry, punching you in the face along the way, grabbing hold of you like an angry vagrant with a wild but very important, pretzeled story to tell.

The tumbling narrative pulls you relentlessly forward in a truly splendorous almost gravitational way that compounds and confounds the further it is allowed to go, which is to the very end.

It’s a short read. One I promise you will not soon forget.

CLAIMING T-MO | A book review by weird fantasy & speculative fiction author Ted Fauster

by Eugen Bacon

A book review by weird fantasy & speculative fiction author Ted Fauster

To borrow a phrase from the novel, CLAIMING T-MO is told through the masterfully interwoven “color of language.”

From the dust jacket, you might expect a paranormal sci-fi type of read–elements of which this book certainly contains–but it soon becomes clear this is far more than any typical genre romp.

The eponymous character is the son of a mystical priest and his child bride, and the story orbits around his life. But there is so much more here than meets the eye.

It would have been easy to place the point of view on T-Mo, but he’s not what this book is about. From the very beginning, the character of T-Mo is split, a soul divided by arrogance and love, into two halves: one belonging to his mother, who chose his true name at birth; and the other corrupted by his tyrannical father, who broke with convention by demanding his son be called Odysseus.

Therein lies the true roots of the story. CLAIMING T-MO is really about how evil can seduce the innocent, about how raw power and hubris can damage the psyche, causing that pain to echo and brand generations of women, how foolish choices and unconditional love mix like oil and water. Through it all, numerous lives are damaged. That said, the book sums up very satisfyingly in the only way it can.

Reading this book is like swimming through a dream. The language and conventions used carry the very savory tang of the paranormal, although this is truly a literary novel. At times, I felt like I was floating along like a balloon, enraptured by the tone and choice of words. Bacon is a poet of the highest order.

If this is Bacon’s first novel, I eagerly look forward to her next.