Heraclix and Pomp, Aguirre's first full-length novel, explores the ideas of identity and immortality through the eyes of a man-like golem and a time-bending fairy who can barely grasp the idea of now, much less the dangers of what's to come.
Before being sewn-together, Heraclix was deadmerely a pile of mismatched pieces, collected from the corpses of many troubled men. And Pomp was immortalat least, so she thought. That was before her impossible near-murder at the hands of the necromancer, Heraclix's creator. But when playing God, even the smallest error is a gargantuan weakness. When the necromancer makes his, Heraclix and Pomp begin their epic flight.
As they travel from Vienna to Prague to Istanbul and, even, to Hell itself, they struggle to understand who and what they are: who was Heraclix before his death and rebirth? What is mortality, and why does it suddenly concern Pomp? As they journey through an unruly eighteenth century, they discover that the necromancer they thought dead might not be quite so after all. In fact, he may have sealed his immortality at the expense of everyone alive . . .
Heraclix and Pomp is a richly textured and decadent read, filled with Baroque ideology and Byzantine political intrigue. Fans of fantasy and historical fiction alike will revel in Aguirre's layered prose and vivid characterizations. Heraclix and Pomp brings the surreal and the macabre to one of history's most violent eras, and it does so in a voice sure to resonate among this season's best new releases.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.20(d)|
About the Author
Forrest Aguirre's short fiction has appeared in more than 60 venues, including such wide-ranging magazines and anthologies as Asimov's, Gargoyle, Exquisite Corpse, 3rd Bed, American Letters and Commentary, Notre Dame Review, Polyphony, DIAGRAM, Clockwork Phoenix, and Paper Cities. His work has been honorably mentioned in various year's best anthologies, and one of his stories was a StorySouth Million Writer's Award notable. His short fiction has been collected in Fugue XXIX. His editorial work has been recognized with a World Fantasy Award. He has edited or coedited Leviathan 3, Leviathan 4, Nine Muses, and Text: UR The New Book of Masks. Aguirre lives in Madison, WI, with his wife and children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beware the Death’s Head Fez in this is Weird, Mystery Adventure In brief, Heraclix & Pomp is a fun, well-constructed fairy tale that will appeal to fans of historical and speculative fiction. MYSTERY ADVENTURE: As the Book Summary indicates (copied below), Heraclix & Pomp tracks an undead man (recently raised) and a magical sprite as they hunt down a necromancer. The amnesiac, Frankenstein-like-golem ‘Heraclix’ rediscovers himself (and the history of his subparts which maintain their own volition) while the mischievous, chronologically-challenged fairy ‘Pomp’ learns human concepts. As the title suggests, this book is really about their plight, but they serve well as proxies for any introspective reader who questions “Who am I?” and “Where is my life going?” Don’t worry, the adventure is more comedic than philosophical. The unique duo navigates the Austrian & Ottoman Empires of 18th century Europe (with sorties into Hell); the below Dialogue Excerpt captures their collective voice. With a story that hinges on two characters not knowing where they are going, or who they are, the reader should expect dealing with some uncertainty. There is also an implicit promise that Heraclix’s mysterious history will be explained, and it is. Whereas the dosing of information seemed spot on for the first half, the latter suffers from some disjointed/unexpected transitions and reveals. In all, Aguirre artfully unveils Heraclix’s past(s) well enough, even if his geographical trajectory cannot be predicted. The real strength of Aguirre’s writing is his weird style and eye for design: WEIRD STYLE: Aguirre’s prose is steeped with entertaining weirdness (see Weird Excerpt), but could hardly be classified as horror despite the key word “necromancy” tagging it. As done for the novella Swans Over the Moon, Aguirre’s meticulous character design is again brilliant. Foremost, the appearance of the death's-head-Fez caps must be highlighted. The juxtaposition of skull-and-crossbones on the timely headpiece (popular in the 18th century) represents the necromancer, indeed the entire book, well. If this was a Sword & Sorcery tale, we’d expect to encounter a grimmer skull helmet akin to the head of Frazetta’s Deathdealer; but this book is more of historical fantasy that delivers weird myth under more inviting flare. The elegant cover (credit artist Claudia Noble) and introductory quote from the esteemed alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, promise readers an intellectual narrative. My knowledge of history is terrible, so I undoubtedly missed many historical references, but the inclusions of real curiosities are enjoyable: for instance, the winged hussar cavalry units that appeared in angelic-costume on the battlefield make a cameo here. Historical and speculative fiction fans will enjoy this unique tale. Weird Excerpt: “Around, above, and through—yes, even through them—flowed a gathering of spectral beings, close to a hundred strong, their ecto-plasmic strands in tatters behind them as they floated up and down the stone stairway and the great, empty, circular shaft around which it spiraled. The specters were loathsome, every one of them crippled in some way. Many were missing limbs, several sported gunshot wounds, a few were altogether decapitated. But the mere sight of the apparitions, strangely, did little to affect Heraclix who was himself, after all, caught in some kind of state between life and death. Rather, it was the soft crying and plaintive weeping (of those who still had mouths, tongues, and heads with which to weep), the faintly echoed pleas that caused him to shiver…” Dialogue Excerpt “What do you see?” Pomp asks. “The past. Or at least a part of it.” “What is ‘past’?” “It’s what happened before now.” Pomp looks up at Heraclix with a skeptical squint. “I met you in Mowler’s apartment. You came there in a jar. Before, you were free. And I have a hunch that I might have once been free.” “But Mowler pushes you around.” “That’s precisely it. What did I have to fear from him? I am physically superior to him in every way: stronger, faster. Yet I didn’t fight back.” “You should.” “But I didn’t. Something held me back.” “What holds you back?” “Guilt.” “What is ‘guilt’?” “’Guilt’ is feeling bad for something you’ve done.” “Why do you have guilt?” Pomp asks. “I don’t know, exactly. But I think it might have something to do with . . .” Heraclix stops. “With what?” “With whatever happened to me before I awoke in the cauldron of blood.” Book Summary: Heraclix was dead and Pomp was immortal. That was before Heraclix’s reanimation (along with the sewn-together pieces and parts of many other dead people) and Pomp’s near murder at the hands of an evil necromancer. As they travel from Vienna to Prague to Istanbul and back again (with a side-trip to Hell), they struggle to understand who and what they are: Heraclix seeks to know the life he had before his death and rebirth, and Pomp wrestles with the language and meaning of mortality. As they journey across a land rife with revolution and unrest, they discover that the evil necromancer they thought dead might not be so dead after all. In fact, he might be making a pact to ensure his own immortality . . .