Friday, April 7, 2017

The Dream Police

Caitlin R Kiernan “Agents of Dreamland” (, 2017)

Let’s start with the shoggoth in the room.  Dreamland is the (supposed) code name for a top secret US military base that is often discussed in connection with UFOs. Dreamland of course also refers to the land of dreams, like Little Nemo or the Sandman comics.  Dreams and auguries are important in this story, and being an agent of them has very specific meaning.

If what you are looking for is a straight forward Mythos story, don’t even bother. Dreamland jumps around in time and space, and it’s only after you have finished that you are really able to put the pieces together into some sort of narrative. And the characters who you will often know only by code name will remain ciphers of a sort. It’s an elliptical and dreamlike (or nightmare-like) tale.

In the hands of a lesser writer this would be a train wreck. Fortunately, Kiernan is more than up to the task. She manages to convey the core of Lovecraft’s vision, that bleak inescapable doom that it fought against, and pulls it into the modern age of writing.

This is a dark and slippery tale that will likely leave a certain metallic taste in your mouth. Highly recommended for the right reader.

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