There is a sickness - and it is eating away all that is good and pure in people. It has been since the dawn of time. We can't afford to dwell on it as we go about our daily lives, it's just too much, too much to take in, too much responsibility. There have always been people who've wanted the world consumed Charles - and century after century, for thousands of years, the Trust has existed to systematically identify and eliminate them. But they keep coming. Because of the sickness.
- from the Chapter V (Reality Sucks)
Glen Neuman, the CEO of Endymion Armaments, is preparing for the day filled with glorious prospects. In a matter of hours he will either climb up a step or two in the food chain, or be teared apart and consumed, if he is found wanting. In a day like this it's all about perfect appearance, it's all about making perfect first impression; choosing the wrong tie for a meeting like this 'would be like presenting Baby Jesus with a scented hand-grenade; a real naivety scene' (p. 3).
Unbeknownst to Neuman, all his despairing with the attire will be in vain and he might as well dress up as Jesus. After several hours his meticulous appearance will become entirely meaningless, and his sense of reality will commit a suicide. And what is worst of all - all this is just a passing prelude for yet greater horrors.
Holochrist is Ryan Anschauung's, who is better known as an essayist of the Sinister, first novel-length stab at writing fiction. He has always been a man of surprise and change - to the annoyance of his critics and to the pleasure of his supporters - and Holochrist doesn't constitute an exception to the rule.
If the genre known as 'sinister fiction' usually leans towards occult horror, with demons, witches and wizards playing their schemes and ploys in a (mostly) rural setting, Anschauung's novel comes out as a long-awaited update of the genre. By placing the story in today's USA and by weaving together a rich tapestry of conspiracy theory, fringe science and alternative history, Anschauung leads sinister fiction to a new and uncharted territory.
For those who have read the author's previous works - especially The Theory of the Beast - the theoretical undercurrent of the story will open quite easily, but there are parts which would have needed a more thorough treatment. A good example of this is the Black Time / White Time distinction (p. 65 -71), of which especially the latter remained rather vague. Hopefully the author will give a more thorough treatment of it in some other context.
In terms of language and style, there is very little to comment on; there is a good flow in the text, and you can easily absorb the whole book in one or two sittings. Most of the imagery used by the author works just fine. Some of it is, in fact, quite witty, especially those used in the first chapter (p. 2 - 19).
To wrap all this up, if you are looking for the story that will provide a good shaking to your brains, and are not awfully allergic to the dystopian sides and shades of science fiction, please do check Holochrist out. You will not be disappointed.
Order the book: here.
Read a sample chapter: here.