Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan is an intensely fascinating, dark thrill ride. It’s like Men In Black on steroids, only with a much more pessimistic outlook.
I loved it. Kiernan’s command of the craft is nothing short of amazing. She spins her poetic prose and draws you in until you’re captured by her spell. She’s simply a masterful storyteller.
The book kicks off with a meeting in an out of the way diner in Winslow, Arizona, between the liaisons of two rival government agencies. They’re there because something has gone horribly wrong, something that might mean the end of the world as we know it.
One of these agents is a sort of noir character, a hard-drinking cynic of moral ambiguity, known only as the Signalman. The other is a time-hopping female of vague and suspicious origins, named Immacolata Sexton.
There’s also a third character, a charismatic cult leader who gathers as his flock the dregs of society to help him usher in the “Next Level.” His name is Drew Standish, and he’s one of the reasons for the clandestine meeting.
This story is a wonderful mix of science fiction, cosmic horror, conspiracy theories, and compelling and juicy historical tidbits. At times it’s not an easy read, and I found myself having to look up certain references the author made, but it was well worth the effort and I learned a few new (to me, anyway) fascinating facts that added to my enjoyment of the story.
Bottom line, this is a marvelous book and a must-read for any lover of the fantastic and macabre.