Jason Wayne Allen - Ichthyic in the Afterglow 5/5
JWA was gracious enough to give me a copy of Afterglow in exchange for an honest review. This is a surreal novella that blends in a variety of influences while staying original and bizarre. Allen has a knack for creating a world that you would only see in nightmares, and while you would expect the story itself to ramble incoherently it makes a great of deal of sense. This is where Allen thrives. He looks beyond the normal themes that lie scattered around the bizarro genre and creates something that you would only see while you're tripping on acid It's a nod to Lovecraft and while it has elements of violence it isn't over done and fits in with the theme of the novella.
There isn't a lot mentioned in Afterglow about the cults or their origin. That doesn't matter though and while at times I felt as if I were only getting pieces of the story as they unfolded it made for an interesting read. I think there could be a prequel here that goes into the importance of Cassie and even Clem's role as the sacrifice that allows her to go to Carcosa. Carcosa is essentially paradise and the novella itself is about the destruction of one world to usher in another. At least that's what it felt like to me. This is one of those novellas that is open to interpretation and there really are no wrong answers. You don't just read Ichthyic in the Afterglow you're thrust into it and that's what a good book does.
Allen has created a jarring vision that distorts all rules of fiction and writes something original. There's a lot of potential here for another book and I hope that at some point we get that. For what we have now it's a book that talks about the end of the world. The two cults are opposing religions and the end result is paradise. In order to achieve that there has to be sacrifice and war. That is how organized religion tells it and so does Ichthyic In The Afterglow. It's a novella that I've waited a long time to read and now that I have I can't wait to see what JWA comes up with next.