THE INVISIBLE | A book review by weird speculative fiction writer Ted Fauster

THE INVISIBLE
by Seb Doubinsky

A book review by weird speculative fiction writer Ted Fauster

Fans of the French poet and writer Sebastien Doubinsky will not be disappointed by his return to New Babylon city. This fast-paced and intriguing dystopian noir novel is the next installment in the city-states series. It follows a familiar and reluctant hero, one Georg Ratner, now city commissioner, who becomes entangled in a murderous plot to sway the next presidential election. To complicate matters, the drug Synth makes another appearance, leading Ratner down a rabbit hole that draws him one step closer to discovering its true source. This time, however, he has some help from a secret society known as the Egregorians .

Doubinsky’s city-states series is ominous and dreary, as any good dystopian noir story should be. This installment builds on the mystique, adding an additional layer of smoky allure. Trust me, you’ll need a cigarette and a stiff whisky by the end.

Impeccably packaged by Meerkat Press, each section of the book is prefaced with beautifully rendered tarot card woodcuts. This thoughtful addition enhances the dark seasoning of the novel, amplifying its otherworldly influence.

What I found especially appealing was the use of the dramatic theme of what exactly the invisible is. Without giving anything away, pay attention. There’s more than one definition, each carrying an equal amount of worth and weight.

In the typical cut-up style Doubinsky has become known for, each scene is short and precise, like stabs from a knife. They puncture and poison, allowing you to rapidly digest the narrative while filling your veins with the stuff your brain requires to be treated to a trip into the weird and mind-bending worlds Doubinsky is so powerfully capable of producing. A very satisfying read with an ending that leaves you salivating for more.

If this book is not on your to-read list, put it there. And maybe bump it up a few notches.

THE INVISIBLE will be available May 19th of 2020 from Meerkat Press

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

CLAIMING T-MO
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.

TF