Today is a special blog post, as is tomorrows, because I am taking part in Apex Publication‘s Back Catalog Blog Tour this month! I took some time and reviewed two books from authors I’ve been waiting to read for a while and I’m happy to say I was disappointed by neither of them!
Anyway, I want to dig into Kirk Jones’ AETHERCHRIST and do I have a gospel to drop on all of you!
AETHERCHRIST begins in the desolate and impoverished back country of rural Vermont. We follow Reymond (also called Rey) as he attempts to sell cutlery in a one stoplight town. When broadcasts begin to forecast deaths of their residents, Rey is suddenly in the center of each homicide. Are there cameras? Are the locals trying to set him up? When more insanity, driven by analog begins to pick up, Rey starts to realize that maybe there is something out there in the aether that has it out for him.
Jones takes you for a dark and twisted ride as he explores not only the terrain of radio waves, but the interplay of paranoia. Rey’s gut reactions are fueled by it and it only becomes worse as things go on, especially when he realizes he can do certain “things” with broadcasts. And just when readers may have figured out where the story is going, it blasts downward to a new horrific level.
Both parts dark sci fi and straight up horror, Jones cannot resist, but throw in some truly bizzaro moments that will either make the reader take a step back, only dive back in with reckless abandon. Rey is a fun character to root for, even when he seems to be a slave to his impulses and drives, yet this begs the question, aren’t we all?
The setting of this story follows a theme, of desolate, forgotten places, much like analog itself. Its a relic and the homes Rey visits reflects this, but with almost eldritch tendencies, the aether reaches in and corrupts.
This novella is not a “feel good” story by any stretch and it remains with you even after finishing. It is as if the cloud of paranoia refuses to dissipate. This is not a story for the faint at heart nor is it for the squemish, but if you are willing to read a genre-blended story that takes risks, this is the exact ticket.