I first read Caitlín R. Kiernan via their excellent weird fiction tale THE RED TREE, and recently read praise for their novella AGENTS OF DREAMLAND, the first in a Lovecraftian/SCP Foundation-adjacent trilogy called TINFOIL DOSSIER. Upon finishing it, I was impressed by how stylistically it differs from THE RED TREE, and how ornate it is while being immensely agreeable. The novella consists of multiple point-of-views regarding a mysteriously horrific incident that involves a cultish leader.
While AGENTS OF DREAMLAND intriguingly sets up the crisis and builds out the agency investigating the issue, it’s slightly disappointing that it’s ultimately a prologue, and fizzles well before the end. While I’m excited to read the rest of the trilogy — the last in the series was published in 2020 — DREAMLAND doesn’t quite satisfy as an individual work. I will fully grant that I should not expect it to — while I haven’t read the other two books, I believe it functions exactly as Kiernan intended — however, when I initially tucked into it I didn’t quite realize that was the goal, and felt slightly disappointed with the conclusion.
To riff on the ‘it’s not a season of TV, it’s a 12-hour movie’ sentiment, the TINFOIL DOSSIER series is not so much three novellas, but a three-part novel.