Trade Paperback, 107 pgs, 2007, $9.95
Reviewed by Steve Vernon
The birth of a new genre magazine is always an exciting moment. It’s great fun to sample an intriguing new mix of stories, characters and get an idea of the publisher’s personal taste. Each publisher brings their own unique vision to a new publication. Each magazine has its own flavour and bouquet.
It’s just as exciting to witness the birth of a new character and in Temple: Incarnations we are given a sample of both. The four stories that make up this compact collection originally appeared in the first four issues of Apex Magazine, and this is the first book in a series put out by this publisher. So we have the birth of a new magazine, a new line of books, a new universe and a brand new intriguing character.
His name is Temple or at least that’s what he calls himself. There is a wonderfully dark ambiguity in this character’s personal make-up. He is a truly unreliable narrator acting out within a dark murky fictional landscape.
Temple: Incarnations is not a book for the simple minded reader in search of a straight forward linear plot. Rather, it is a grim and murky chronicle, somewhat reminiscent of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station with a little Mad Max and a touch of King’s Dark Tower saga. A strong rich puzzling brew, indeed.
The protagonist, Temple, is forced to grope fumblingly through a universe of uncertain darkness. Temple is an unabashed anti-hero journeying through a post-apocalyptic bedlam, blending science and mysticism.
This is strong stuff. I predict you will either love it or hate it. There is very little room for impartial neutrality in this monochromatic hellscape where the prevailing spectrum runs from dark, darker and darkest.
I recommend it.