pages in this section

Black Static

New Horror Fiction BLACK STATIC 82/83 OUT NOW

The Late Review: Dreams of Destruction

24th Jan, 2023

Author: Peter Tennant

Web Exclusive icon

Published in 2014 and winner of a 2015 Australian Shadows Award, Dreams of Destruction is the second book in the "Ravenous Gods" cycle. It contains the further adventures of Captain Max Calder, an ex-WWI fighter ace who has been resurrected in the present day (for details of how and possibly why I assume you should refer to the previous book, Requiem for the Burning God). Max is described as 'a man whose life had been altered by true evil, and his self-appointed mission was to stop it at any cost'. In Dreams true evil takes the form of the prophet Kane and his cult, the Reign of Terror, who intend to use the power of a demonic entity to wreak havoc, but clues are laid to suggest they are only pawns in the hands of a far greater evil. The book starts in the Australian outback with a ritual to raise demonic entities and ends at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth with a plot to wipe out the leaders of the Commonwealth.

There is very much the feel of a second book to this work, with Calder introduced and finely characterised, but as I've already noted not enough back detail to explain his existence in the present day. In many ways he is perhaps the least interesting character, almost clichéd in his virtues and easily outshone by other characters in the dramatis personae. There's the monstrous mechanical man Doctor Dieter, the shadowy Mr. Razor, and sword wielding yakuza offspring Musume, who all seem to offer more in the way of the right stuff for intriguing readers. Front man Kane and his cult are similarly clichéd, token bad guys to serve as cat's paws for the real evil, though to be fair Cummings does an excellent job of depicting their infernal ceremony to raise Kurpannga, and the subsequent the race back through the desert. The final showdown however is a bit of a let down, almost gratingly abrupt, with the introduction of Razor the main component of this end game.

Pure pulp adventure with a soupçon of HPL's oeuvre to add flavour, Dreams is a book that's never less than entertaining, like Indiana Jones with the supernatural elements cranked up to eleven, even if I have my suspicions about the feasibility of pitting a man with a trusty Webley pistol against the modern world itself, and never mind the horrors of the outré. The latter element, personified by the other worldly figure of dingo god Kurpannga, provides the main novelty of the book, and I would have been interested in seeing Cummings expand on this and develop an 'outback' mythos to rival that of HPL, with deities as strange and original as those found here.

Overall then, Dreams of Destruction is entertaining in a pass the time sort of way and left me wanting to know more, but checking on Amazon the author doesn't appear to have taken the story any further.




Section items by date:

Pages in this section: