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review 2017-04-02 01:22
Agents of Dreamland Review
Agents of Dreamland - Caitlín R. Kiernan

“And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.” – When I read this line, I didn’t immediately think about Slaughterhouse Five. If I had made the Slaughterhouse Five/Billy Pilgrim connection, I would probably have ran screaming in the other direction. A Vonnegut fan I am most decidedly not, and Slaughterhouse Five in particular is one of those books that makes my lip curl in disgust when I think about it. But I didn’t make the connection in the synopsis of Agents of Dreamland, so I committed to reading the book.

I can acknowledge that my issues with this book fall under personal taste rather than just bad writing. First off is the prose. I don’t know if this is a trademark of Kiernan’s writing (and if it is she’ll be an author I avoid in the future), but Sweet Baby Cthulhu, Agents of Dreamland is overflowing with metaphors and similes. I don’t mind the occasional one here and there, but there’s definitely a line I draw in the sand. Upon further reflection, it was probably deliberately done to add to the sense of unreality given to you from the plot itself, but it was just outright boring after about four pages in.

There were elements of the novel that I did like. The idea behind the novel itself – of spores of an alien civilization seeding itself upon the earth – was a fun one. I’d like to see a fleshed out version of this plot written with a bit of a blunter pen and more fitted into the sci-fi horror or sci-fi thriller categories. Obviously, the Lovecraftian references delighted me. (The ones that I caught, at least. I’m sure there were some I didn’t get.) There was a snippet of a poem from Lovecraft that she shares near the end of the book that was truly beautiful. I have the full poem marked for reading later. And I did like the connections she made across the ages to add a bit of depth to the story.

However, Kiernan has an interesting mind. That cannot be denied. And there were portions of Agents of Dreamland that did make me think. She also makes some interesting (and apt) observations about humanity. And there was one element in the story that I’ve never seen appear in another science fiction novel, so the uniqueness was appreciated. I just need a little more oomph than ooh la la when it comes to my stories, please.

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text 2017-03-22 01:49
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Call of Cthulhu - H.P. Lovecraft

I've never been so happy to finish a story before. Finally, Cthulhu appears, Thurston laments that he's now tortured by the thoughts of the monster, and I actually don't care.

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text 2017-03-21 00:03
Reading progress update: I've read 80%.
The Call of Cthulhu - H.P. Lovecraft

Thurston takes a trip to New Orleans to investigate more and finds a newspaper from Sydney, Australia that details an account where a man finds another Cthulhu figure. Thurston pieces together everything that has been going from prior to his uncle's death to the article from the newspaper. In the next issue, all of this will be resolved, and I can finally clear this story from my reading list.

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text 2017-03-20 23:30
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
The Call of Cthulhu - H.P. Lovecraft

I don't know who creates these reading time estimations, but it takes way longer than 9 minutes to read anything written by Lovecraft. Just looking up words takes like a minute alone.

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text 2017-03-19 19:51
Reading progress update: I've read 40%.
The Call of Cthulhu - H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft continues to build his tale through the narrator Thurston, who in turn explains why Angell had recognized the young sculptor's statue. In this section, Thurston explains that his uncle had first come across mention of Cthulhu during a meeting of the American Archaeological Society twenty years prior. Inspector John Raymond Legrasse hails from New Orleans and has brought with him a relief of Cthulhu that his men had found after they'd broken up a cult meeting. Only one of the members gathered recognizes it. This is followed by Thurston recounting Legrasse's tale of how he came about it.

 

Lovecraft really loves portraying non-whites as animalistic and non-Christian practices as devil worship. 

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