cover image The Jawbone & the Junkman

The Jawbone & the Junkman

Jason Fischer. Outland Entertainment, $18.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-954255-57-9

Fischer’s melancholy and profoundly bizarre second Books of Before & Now novel picks up 15 years after Papa Lucy and the Boneman. In the dimension called Now, to which humanity fled after the destruction of Before by the sorcerer Papa Lucy, redeemed sorcerer Boneman offers sickly warrior Lanyard Everett a warning about the coming destruction of humanity. He tells Lanyard to seek out the dangerous Dawn King and gives him a mysterious key made of jawbone. So Lanyard and his ragtag group of apprentices travel to the Underfog, a dimension of the dead, to find the Dawn King, battle his lackeys, and learn the purpose of the key. They’re initially aided by the mercurial Bilben of Iron Nest, a rat who can weigh every possible outcome of future events, but along the way, Lanyard begins to doubt Bilben’s true motives and comes to fear that Papa Lucy may still be alive. This possibility puts Lanyard on another quest: he must locate the immortal Junkman, the autistic brother of a Now god, who is a savant with electrical and mechanical devices. A bevy of reincarnated mythical and literary characters weave their way through this chaotic, mind-bending tale. Sometimes disorienting but always original and immensely clever, this is a wild and relentless ride. (Mar.)