cover image When They Came

When They Came

Don Webb, . . Temporary Culture, $22.50 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-9764660-1-7

The opening "Souvenirs from a Damnation," a list of 21 objects and their mysterious history, is exemplary of the magical realist stories and Lovecraft homages in this collection: a narrator sees friends and/or colleagues consumed by dreadful magics, and narrowly escapes or maybe doesn't. This theme is best explored in "The Jest of Yig," the self-mocking tale of an occult writer who gets in over his head; "The Agony Man," about a model enthralled by a charismatic sculptor who specializes in portraits of pain; and "It Sounded Angular," wherein six college students go a little too far with the wrong sort of tripping. The narrative distance is most interesting when bridged by circumstances that force the narrator to take action. A former High Priest of the Temple of Set, Webb (Endless Honeymoon ) is perhaps too familiar with the intersection of the real and the mystical, and after going through these somewhat repetitive warnings against occult dabblings, the reader shares his ennui. (Nov.)