Kiernan’s recent Agents of Dreamland novella is a lean but impactful recaad. It mixes the best parts of the X-Files, Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, and Lovecraftian horror with a touch of noir into a disturbing tale of What Is To Come. The story centers around a government agent known as The Signalman who takes part in a case to take down a Manson-variety doomsday cult leader. When he and his team get to the cult’s compound, what they find is vastly more than a New Age collective gone wrong. The Signalman’s discovery heralds the potential end of life as we pleasantly know it, and sets him on a course filled with dread both immediate and impending, help and hindrance from the darker corners of the earth, and the blessing of never knowing how really, really bad it actually is at the moment.
This is a very non-linear story, so be prepared for some jumping around chronologically. However, this quality puts the emphasis on the relevance at the time that the reader is experiencing the particular scene, as opposed to relevance through linear progression. You find out what needs to be known when it is impactful to the story, rather than when it happened in the story’s linear timeline. While it may cause some confusion, some patience with the storyline and the cumulative tension that builds throughout the reading is well rewarded. I finished Agents of Dreamland hoping that Kiernan would write more stories of any length in this world she’s created, assuming…but that would be telling too much.
Agents of Dreamland is available here.