Tag Archives: Cults – Fiction

If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews If This Book Exists, You’re in the Wrong Universe [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Jason Pargin, “A John, Dave, and Amy Novel”, part 4 of the John Dies at the End series.

Pargin If This Book Exists Youre in the Wrong Universe

This book is the fourth in a series with a label that has been expanding in a failed effort to keep pace with its central cast of characters. The original volume was John Dies at the End. Later books/editions were called “John and Dave” books, adding the name of principal narrator David Wong–an in-story pseudonym and also the pen name later abandoned by author Jason Pargin. If This Book Exists… is tagged a “John, Dave and Amy” book, including a character who has been central for previous volumes, but there is a fourth who earns poster placement rights in this installment.

Anyhow, the series consists of supernatural horror with a little science fiction, a lot of lowbrow humor, and a fair amount of unsubtle but essentially humane social commentary. I felt like this book had the most conventional plot arc of the four, despite overt courting of time travel paradoxes and multiple denouements. It didn’t make me laugh out loud as often as the earlier ones, but I experienced more odd synchronicities while reading it, which was a definite point in its favor.

There’s an evil cult to thwart in the course of the novel, and the very end (before the author’s afterword) supplies the key commandments that Dave and his pals add to the cult’s scriptures to keep them from becoming a pernicious world religion. These few pages really could stand the frank consideration of earnest “seekers,” even out of context.

The Gardens of Lucullus

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Gardens of Lucullus [Amazon, Local Library] by Richard L Tierney, Glenn Rahman, and introduction by Robert M Price, part of the Simon of Gitta series.

Tierney Rahman Price The Gardens of Lucullus

This novel is a lively sword and sandal and sorcery story set in the Rome of Claudius and Messalina. It is a “team-up” adventure with Tierney’s Simon of Gitta (i.e. the Samaritan Simon Magus) and Rahman’s Rufus Hibernicus (a.k.a. Dunlaing MacSamthainn), although Simon plays the larger part. It’s a fast-paced adventure story throughout, with some quasi-esoteric details drawn from the Cthulhu mythos. 

The co-authors of this fiction have collaborated to good effect. I enjoyed Tierney’s Simon stories collected in The Scroll of Thoth, and The Gardens of Lucullus measures up to them nicely. I might seek out Rahman’s Rufus novel Heir of Darkness on the strength of this read.

The thing gets no stations out here, no rabbit ears needed. We don’t need networks and programming; we need only noise. We need only snow, electromagnetic noise, man, semut bertengkar as Indonesians say, which translates into something like “war of the ants.” Radio waves, cosmic microwave background radiation.

Caitlin R Kiernan, Agents of Dreamland [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Kiernan Agents of Dreamland no stations no rabbit ears networks programming only noise snow war of the ants radio cosmic microwave background radiation