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Agents of Dreamland

(Tinfoil Dossier #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  3,172 ratings  ·  591 reviews
A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up
ebook, 112 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by
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Jennifer No standing on the corner per se. But he does express disgust with a place whose "sole claim to fame is a mention in an Eagles song."…moreNo standing on the corner per se. But he does express disgust with a place whose "sole claim to fame is a mention in an Eagles song."(less)

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  3,172 ratings  ·  591 reviews

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Start your review of Agents of Dreamland (Tinfoil Dossier, #1)
Dan Schwent
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, 2017
A government agent called The Signalman has a meeting with a mysterious woman in Winslow, Arizona about a bizarre cult murder near the Salton Sea days earlier. But what do those events have to do with the New Horizons space probe and a black and white movie penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Despite my resolve to take on as few ARCs as possible this year, I couldn't resist this one when it popped up on Netgalley. It sounded wonderfully bizarre and it was.

Much like half of the books I've read so far
Elle (ellexamines)
Agents of Dreamland follows a slow, creepy apocalypse. No, really.

This is Lovecraftian horror, and for that I have to compliment: it is very, very disturbing. The entire book is a journey in how far your mind can take you to dark places, in how to terrify human beings without ever really being specific about what we are meant to be terrified by. It is a book that forces you to stare into the void and then beg someone to look back.

It’s excellently written, mysterious enough to be compelling, and
Althea Ann
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully creepy.

In this novella, Kiernan takes Lovecraftian horror elements, and transposes them into an X-Files-type setting. A government agent known as The Signalman is set to meet another operative, Immacolata, regarding the actions of a California doomsday cult. For some reason, he finds his fellow operative even more frightening than the cult; even though brutal, horrific deaths have occurred.

Meanwhile, a young woman explains how the “Children of the Next Level” gave her life the hope
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, lovecrafty
Not actually about the Dreamlands, although there is plenty of other Lovecrafty stuff in use.

A four-star for quality, although not for quantity -- I feel like there was a lot of material here that could have had more done with it, especially in terms of the two agents and their agencies. Hopefully Kiernan will do more with this world.

The idea of the (view spoiler) was pretty gross, but the book as a whole didn't feel as creepy or fright
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So this is yet another riff on Lovecraft, but I have to say that this has got to be the best one I've read to date. Certainly the closest to the source material in tone and it shows all the technique of the master horror writer that Caitlin is.

The story hops around in time telling the story of an apocalyptic cult in California and an investigator known only as the Signalman as he investigates and tries to stop it. This features elements from all over the Lovecraftian mythos (An agent of Y? The w
Another superlative Tor novella. This is actually the second in the so-called Tinfoil Dossier (something of an in-joke that), preceded by Black Helicopters, with The Tindalos Asset due in October. I actually read Black Helicopters first, which I enjoyed immensely.

It is certainly testament to the compactness of Cairlin’s world-building that these can be taken as discrete books, though in essence they are clearly elements of a larger whole. Hopefully in this regard Kiernan continues the series, or
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of SF-Thrillers; H. P. Lovecraft enthusiasts; Wm. S. Burroughs geeks & their lovers
Recommended to Still by: NY Times Book Review by N. K. Jemisin
I'm new to Caitlín R. Kiernan.
Came into this a Kiernan virgin and I've been impaled upon a few utterly weird notions wielded by a master wordsmith.

Someone will try to tell you that this is a Horror novel.
Don't listen to them.
There are Lovecraft references but it's more along the lines of a Suspense-Thriller skating close to the thin ice edge of Science Fiction.

Features two of the most unforgettable characters I've encountered in recent years.
"The Signalman" and sometime suspect, sometime deceitf
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deliberately set in the American southwest in the summer of 2015 (when the New Horizons space probe was swiftly approaching the orbit of Pluto), the narrative hops from one time period and location to another, following three characters on very different (and yet directly related) journeys. Kiernan tells their stories with equal amounts of lucidity and pathos, yet each with a distinctive voice and style.

Fans of classic weird fiction author H. P. Lovecraft will be pleased to know that this novell
Sci-Fi & Scary
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Okay, proper review done up:

“And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.” – When I read this line, I didn’t immediately think about Slaughterhouse Five. If I had made the Slaughterhouse Five/Billy Pilgrim connection, I would probably have ran screaming in the other direction. A Vonnegut fan I am most decidedly not, and Slaughterhouse Five in particular is one of those books that makes my lip curl in disgust when I think about it. B
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On June 2015 at the Moonlight Ranch near Salton Sea, a cult leader Drew Standish is preparing his followers, Children Of The Next Level for the peak event of his cause. A few days later a goverment special agent called The Signalman (because of his watch) is meeting a woman in a remote town of Arizona, after a raid at the site of the cult mentioned, to exchange information and trying not to freak about what he has seen (and read) during the raid. And NASA's interplanetary probe, New Horizons*, i ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I can't remember seeing the spy/horror story played this straight, this well, with such vivid writing and sharp, baked sense of place. Kiernan nails the creeping doom, the long hopeless struggle, and pushes past into deeper human (and inhuman) territory of memory, jealousy, and time. ...more
The Shayne-Train
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a very trippy, non-time-consecutive-type story of seedy government agents, doomsday cults, beings that exist without being fixed to one point in time, and invading fungus monsters from beyond Pluto.....I think.

I say "I think," because you're never really 100% sure what in the EFF is going on. But the story was well-told, and I enjoyed it.
Liz Barnsley
Wow this is short but really powerful stuff here, my first introduction to this author and its making me want to read everything.

So, this is dark fantasy/scifi and the general plot could described as Alien Invasion with loopy time travel shenanigans and a basis in authentic scientific fact. If you can cope with the creepy try googling Zombie Fungus.

The characters are extraordinarily well drawn for a novella, Caitlin R Kiernan has the magic touch when it comes to getting across personality and de
Caitlin Kiernan has done some interesting things within this novella.

We meet the Signalman, a secret agent of sorts who has just returned from a mission to sniff out an end-of-days cult, where he and his partner discover that their particular choice of "koolaid", a very unique form of fungi, may actually be heralding in the end of days.

He and a strange woman, who appears to not be tied to time the same way we are, debrief each other on his odd findings.

Meanwhile, we lose contact with one of ou
We dine on rattlesnakes and hot green tea, and Drew Standish, he tells us the last days are here. We camp upon the threshold, just switch on the television, that ginormous 1975 Zenith in its composite-board, wood-grain cabinet, and astroglide the picture tubes. The thing gets no stations out here, no rabbit ears needed. We don't need networks and programming; we need only noise.

I can't give an objective review to this - I love the world of black-budgets and underground government complexes fille
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This packed a solid punch. Highly recommended for anyone who loves good Lovecraftian fiction (and especially to those of you who like BAD/AWFUL Lovecraftian pastiches). This is what good contemporary Lovecraftian fiction should fell like - dark, ominous, horrific, not too long - almost as if Thomas Pynchon took a stab at Lovecraft.

BUY this book!
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 28th February 2017

Once again, not knowing my Lovecraft tripped me up. Yep, this is yet another Lovecraft-based story, although in this case it’s a rather less well-known one: the Fungi from Yuggoth. Not one I’d have known anything about even if I’d known in advance, but perhaps I might have been better prepared for the sheer bleakness and darkness of this story had I known it was based on Lovecraft’s mythos in any way.

It’s an intriguing little n
Michael Hicks
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, horror
Agents of Dreamland, a Lovecraft-fueled novella from Caitlin R. Kiernan, is a trippy, non-linear story that has a bit of an X-Files vibe about it. From a mythos standpoint, Kiernan explores the apocalyptic fate of mankind following first contact with the Fungi from Yuggoth and the investigation of a secret government agency in the years prior.

This is a short, but dense, narrative, and Kiernan hops around from one time period to the next. There are a lot of awesome ideas crammed into this novella
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big fan of Kiernan, I've really enjoyed everything I've read by her but I was just a bit let down. Probably a case of high expectations because it is a good story. But what I love about her writing is an ability to use language in a lyrical, hallucinatory/dream/fugue way and except for the few passages from the cultists POV she didn't really venture into that side of her writing. I also would have liked some more exploring of the backstory and maybe that will come if she writes more stories in t ...more
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2017
5 Stars

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan is simply a masterpiece of the new weird. If you haven't heard it from me before all that you really need to know about how I feel about this book is to know that Caitlin R. Kiernan is my favorite horror author. She is among my very favorite writers of all genres. I love you Caitlin!

Agents of Dreamland is a new weird, bizzaro, and post apocalyptic piece of fiction. It is nearly perfect. I wish that it was longer.

"I know an old lady who swallowed
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novella was sent to me by the publisher,, at no cost. It will be on sale on 28 Feb, 2017.

If you're looking for resolution and answers, do not come to Caitlin Kiernan.

If you're looking for a linear narrative that moves smoothly through chronological time, do not come to Agents of Dreamland.

If you're afraid of mushrooms or fungus, do not read this novella.

And if you're concerned that beings Out There are coming to get us, and that people Down Here are trying to hide that fact... well
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time reading the author and quite an introduction as far as those go. The mention of a cult in the premise lured me in, but this is a much more ambitious story than that, all the more so for being squeezed into such a lean package. So think apocalyptic fiction thrown in with some cosmic terrors along with a cult subplot and some disturbing alien interference and some behind the shadows investigation story and a time traveling non neutral observer...and then you'll have an idea of what this ...more
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: AGENTS OF DREAMLAND by Caitlin R. Kiernan

To open any fiction by Caitlin R. Kiernan is to open oneself to a world of infinite possibilities. In her works of horror, of course, many of these possibilities are life-changing and even world-ending. They are also frequently unforgettable. From my personal Lovecraft-obsessed viewpoint, Ms. Kiernan "gets" the Lovecraft Mythos in a degree unsurpassable. Here in the novella AGENTS OF DREAMLAND, she creates not just a contemporary ecological disast
Tom A.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Plague Review 17: Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Baffled by the events concerning the cult Children of the Next Level, agent Signalman seeks the help of Immaculata Sexton, a mysterious, time-hopping woman. The cult in question has summoned something deadly and otherworldly, and only one survivor is left albeit infected by some alien fungus. While Signalman tries to get to the bottom of the situation, Sexton traverses the timeline for answers, encountering humanity's bleak cosmic fate
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Original 2017 review: This needed to be so much longer. I could have read about everything here for many more pages.

2021 re-reading review: Re-read this little gem so I could understand Black Helicopters, which is unfortunately not working for me at all and probably will not get finished, but it was nice to live in this world again briefly, especially considering I've apparently forgotten how to read.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

Full review to come.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The nitty-gritty: Weird and wonderfully terrifying, and written in stunningly beautiful prose, this short alien invasion story—based on scientific fact—will scare the hell out of you with its creeping terror.

We have to carry her up to and down from the roof now, the girl from Seattle. In the gray light from the television, her skin shimmers with colors I don’t know the names for. She was afraid, a few days ago, but now I don’t think she is.

I had no idea what to expect when I
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novel (somewhat similar to the author's 'Black Helicopters" in that it utilizes the same sort of non-linear achronological method of storytelling as that latter work, though I thought it was better deployed there than here) moves along at a brisk pace and there are some nice sentences and similes ("The AC purrs like a cat made of ice"), along with the always welcome scientific jargon, non-existent cursed films and mythological/arcane references. Unfortunately the main plot (a kind of ...more
Marcheto Marcheto
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is weird-noir novella full of references to H. P. Lovecraft mythos, but it can be enjoyed even if you’re not an expert in Lovecraft, or even if you haven’t read any of his tales.
The story of a government agent, the Signalman, investigating a doomsday cult is told in a non-linear fashion and through different characters’ point of view, but you get enough information to easily fit every piece of the puzzle.
An exciting and enjoyable read, with a touch of horror, of dark fantasy and even of ap
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Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan is an Irish-born American published paleontologist and author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, including ten novels, series of comic books, and more than two hundred and fifty published short stories, novellas, and vignettes.

Other books in the series

Tinfoil Dossier (3 books)
  • Black Helicopters (Tinfoil Dossier, #2)
  • The Tindalos Asset (Tinfoil Dossier, #3)

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